If you own a small business, you may not even have thought about taking your company global. But why not? Expanding your business beyond national borders offers plenty of opportunities to widen your reach, access diverse markets and get an edge over your competitors.
That said, breaking into an international market is no walk in the park. If you’re thinking of taking this big step, here are some important considerations before you set off.
Though your product or online service may have sold well at home, this won’t necessarily be the case overseas. Cultural norms have a large part to play in how products are received by different people around the world. It’s vital to study up on a new market before you launch overseas, ensuring that you’re not going to be taken by surprise by how the product or service performs in the new arena. Don’t be disheartened if your new audience doesn’t immediately embrace your product. If your new customer base is a little slow on the uptake, that does not automatically mean that your product doesn’t have a future here. This could just be a sign that you need to tweak your product to suit your new customers. That’s where product development comes in. Get as much data on your new client base as possible, working out their needs and preferences, and see if you can adequately tailor your product to your target market. If not, then this may not be the right market for you.
Prepare for a New Economy and Currency
Another key consideration when you’re taking your business global is the relative strength or weakness of the local economy. If your product is bought by a demographic that has a reasonable amount of disposable income back home, you’re unlikely to be successful if the consumers in your new market are lower-income on the whole. It’s also important to consider how your new customers are going to access your product. Investigate international merchant services to enable ease of transaction with e-commerce payments in the local currency, and research local postage costs, shipping procedures and customs charges so you can ensure your business is compliant and advertise accurate shipping information to your customers.
Rethink Your Marketing Strategy
If your product was selling well in your home country thanks to a particular marketing approach, it can be tempting to think that you can hit the ground running in another country by rolling out the same marketing strategy. But not so fast: just as your product might need a few adjustments, your marketing strategy may require adjustments, or even a complete overhaul, to land in the new marketplace. If your organic social media marketing campaign is killing it back home but has not been productive in your new market, don’t assume that you have to go back to the drawing board. It’s worth testing your strategy on different platforms and adjusting the tone of voice, as one or two tweaks could make all the difference.
Whether you’re in the e-commerce world, or you offer a service online, taking your business onto the global stage can be daunting. These tips will help you ease that transition and take the global market by storm.