It is normal for small business owners to focus on expanding locally. However, you can consider expanding beyond borders if you want customers outside the US. According to a US study, 58% of small businesses acquired international customers in 2017, while many more are expected to follow the trend. A modest business can serve the international market, but it requires some practical steps. Consider the tips below to expand your small business internationally.
1) Be realistic
Although beginning small and scaling up is the best approach, you must know that the process will take time. While it is possible to gain good grounds and significant growth, you cannot always expect to see immediate success after expanding. It would be best if you accepted that the expansion process would take time. This way, you can lower your expectations and set realistic goals and timelines.
2) Do your research
You cannot fly blind when expanding your business internationally. Therefore, conduct some good research to establish whether there is interest in your product or service. It can be useful to also consider the market’s competitiveness by understanding the number of existing businesses in the niche. You don’t necessarily have to backtrack your decision to expand if your niche is flooded with many similar companies. However, consider the weaknesses in the existing competition and exploit them to your business advantage. Gap analysis, market segmentation, and SWOT analysis are a few things you should consider doing. You might also want to talk to experts in your niche and the foreign market.
3) Acquire the right tech resources
Technology is an essential component of any global business strategy. It can be challenging to thrive in the international market if you don’t have the right technological resources to interact and work with your global customers and partners. Aside from staying in touch more frequently, you can also save time and money traveling. Technology may also assist you in tracking shipments, managing paperwork, and staying on top of other critical activities. Resources like phone verification or SMS verification services are a more cost-effective approach to extending your service to the global market.
4) Tailor your marketing strategies
Every country has a unique culture. You are responsible for ensuring that your marketing strategies and content are tailored to your new market. It will assist you in distinguishing your brand from the local competition. Tailored marketing involves delving into the personas of your brand’s target consumer to develop a personalized approach. As a result, campaigns are optimized, leading to increased interaction, a stronger brand presence, and increased brand loyalty. So put in extra effort to ensure that your marketing approach suits the demands of your local audience.
5) Get your paperwork done
Expanding your business internationally may require some paperwork since every country has a unique set of rules. While preparing to deal with the paperwork, establish an organizing system that enables you to monitor all contracts, correspondences, and documents and make them readily accessible. If necessary, consider hiring an attorney with international business experience in the country you are expanding into to avoid legal problems.
6) Create the right foundation
The first impression is important, and your business may have one shot at getting this right to create the right foundations. Your establishment will likely suffer when new clients notice you struggle to get basic things right. Therefore, before opening your doors, ensure you have the resources and needed support services. This way, you can quickly find a workaround when you identify any problems in your present plan.
7) Master the new language and forge local connections
As obvious as this may sound, some businesses find themselves in a slew of unexpected problems in this regard. Overcoming native barriers can help you seamlessly integrate locally, build versatility and adapt quickly to the new market. However, note that there is more to effective lingual skills than simply translating materials from one language to another. Therefore, finding skilled and qualified individuals to translate messages into the new language, including the nuances, can be useful. For a small business, this might seem expensive. Fortunately, you can use a few online tools and platforms for your affordable and basic business translation services.
Expanding your business involves some risks. While it is not a decision for the faint-hearted, the reward for success is exponential growth. Study the market, do your homework, and prepare for every possible business scenario. Even with the best preparation, you can’t expect smooth sailing, so it will require a bit of determination in your arsenal to keep going.