You may have achieved success with your business in local markets. You may have even expanded nationally into markets in other states. However, you may not have yet made the commitment to expand your company globally. Aiming for a global market can lead to your revenues and profits exploding exponentially beyond your wildest dreams. However, this expansion is by no means easy. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want your company to become a global player.
Perform Extensive Market Research
Expanding your business into another country is not like expanding into another city in the United States. Consumers may have wildly different needs and preferences. The cultural norms can be completely different. Your competitors in that given market may act completely differently from the competitors you have now, and you should be aware that foreign consumers overwhelmingly prefer those local brands.
Overall, you need to perform extensive market research into that new proposed market in a foreign country if you want to set up a branch there. Without that added knowledge and intelligence, your company, brand, and products could all be dead on arrival.
Consider How You Will Get Your Products to Market
Even with a good understanding of a foreign market, you still need to consider the technical aspects of how you will get your products into the hands of those consumers. For one, manufacturing your product in every country you sell it in is probably impossible. Instead, you’re going to need to develop relationships with shipping and logistics companies that can get your products into the hands of foreign vendors that can bring your products to market. Air freight services may be your best choice as far as reliability and speed is concerned. Overall, if you don’t have the logistics of getting your products to market figured out, you’re not going to be able to expand globally.
Factor In the Effect of the Local Government
One of the biggest impediments to expanding a business into a new country is the local government. On one hand, this is understandable. Most countries have a rather strong incentive to protect locally made goods that would be your direct competitors. On the other hand, roadblocks you run into set up by those governments can feel frustrating and unfair.
How difficult it is to sell exports in a country also tends to depend on the kind of relationship a country has with the United States. Getting your products into Canadian stores, for example, is going to be much easier than getting your products into the hands of Chinese consumers that are still governed by what is essentially a communist dictatorship. There can be a lot of jumping through hoops of bureaucratic approval involved, and you may end up needing to split profits with the host government. Make sure you know what you are in for beforehand.
Scout Out Local Talent to Run Your Export Business
While you may trust your own current people a great deal, you’re going to have to delegate responsibility to new hires in that foreign nation for your business to succeed there. You need talented business professionals who speak the language, grew up in that culture, know the people, and understand the government. While you can learn a lot from research, it’s not quite the same as having the experience of actually being born and raised in a foreign country. Those foreign partners will have knowledge and expertise beyond what you could ever hope to learn on your own.
Expanding globally is a huge step for a company. On one hand, the possible upside of rapidly expanding your customer base is certainly enticing. However, you should also consider that there will likely be significant barriers to entry into foreign markets that you need to overcome to succeed. Don’t rush into such an expansion. It’s going to take months and most likely years to accomplish such a task competently. Still, if you believe your products could be viable overseas, it may all be worth the effort in the end.