HOW AND WHERE TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS OVERSEAS

HOW AND WHERE TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS OVERSEAS

A local market is probably huge for local entrepreneurs. America, for example, might be a market for almost everything; but for many growth-minded business entrepreneurs who see the rest of the world their oyster, it is not large enough as they see opportunity aplenty in and seek international growth.

Going global, for businesses, most especially the small and emerging ones; is a very significant undertaking that can improve a business’ potential for expansion and growth. After building a loyal national customer base, becoming a global company is certainly a very impressive achievement – however, not all businesses are cut out for the challenge.

Taking a business internationally is a dynamic process. Upon expanding, it can take different shapes and therefore will require a lot of adjustments to sustain itself on a global scale and remain constant across cultures. But certainly, one cannot go wrong when going overseas as there are a lot of (obvious) international opportunities. Only, it is not as simple as spinning the globe and selling something, somewhere. It involves unearthing just the “right” opportunity and more work, of course. And speaking of work, this guide will get you started on doing such.

Before going global, ask yourself the following questions.

Starting and growing a business domestically is risky enough. But how about when your aspirations prompt you to debut your ideas in foreign lands instead? This is where it becomes extra tricky.

In an interview with Entrepreneur, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Business and Industrial Marketing at Georgia State University, Wesley Johnston; highlights the key questions to ask yourself to determine the factors that can either make or break your business when trying to go global:

Will the product sell well in the targeted culture? Conduct a market research. Be mindful that not all products and services are embraced overseas.

Is your target market familiar with your product or service? It is easier if the answer is yes. Otherwise, prepare to invest a lot of time and money in consumer education. Difficult as it might seem but being the first one to introduce a new and exciting concept will make the product become synonymous with your company name.

Do you feel comfortable in the country? Since operating a chain in its early stages will require you to live in the country temporarily, a working knowledge of the language and culture is quite necessary.

What is the infrastructure like?

How good are the roads? Are the ports safe for your supplies? What about the reliability of electricity and water?

It doesn’t mean, however, that your idea is poor if you don’t get the answers you want with a certain foreign market that you are considering entering – you just picked the wrong place. As Johnston says, “I don’t think there’s any one idea that won’t work somewhere.”

Be mindful of the most common mistakes.

Along with its promises, overseas business carries an equally heavy load of peril (i.e., getting whacked by currency fluctuations, chasing opportunities, etc.). Many have been blundered, but you can avoid the same faith if you’ll be mindful of the following pitfalls (as enumerated by John E. Cleek, University of Missouri program director at the Bloch School of Business Administration):

Failing to plan your strategy. Large businesses might be seen as less vulnerable to this problem as compared to small businesses, but they are often guilty of the same mistake. To ensure that the business will go smoothly, it does not hurt to do a little planning.

Chasing inquiries the world over. Assuming that the product is ready to market everywhere just because several countries show interest is a big no. Especially when you know little about the country, it takes discipline to respond to an inquiry.

Assuming if it works in America, it will work everywhere. Different countries have different culture that shape the marketplace (including the pricing, shipping, payment terms, packaging, etc.). That’s why, sales and marketing efforts should be tailored.

Understand other countries’ culture.

Culture is the one big difference between doing business domestically and internationally. Many entrepreneurs fail to succeed when venturing abroad because they think that the rest of the world is doing business the way they do (locally) – most especially in international business meetings.

To avoid costly mistakes, Hilkua Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International in New York offers the following tips:

Build relationships before you get down to business. As simple as getting to know each other through small talks without immediately getting into business discussions will be enough.

Don’t impose time limits. Keeping the meeting as open as possible adds strength to your negotiating position.

Do your research. Learning about a country (i.e., language, etiquettes, etc.) does not only give you the negotiating advantage but shows that you respect your potential partners, as well.

Understand body language. You think (body) language is universal? You’re wrong.

Dress with respect and authority. Perhaps, this needs no further explaining.

Now that you have an idea how to take your business overseas, the next question would be – where?

Different markets have a well of different opportunities. While some are friendlier to foreign businesses, there are others that are not. But depending on your business propositions, target audience, needs, and risk tolerance; you are the only one to choose among which of the following countries do you picture your business to bloom:

Sweden. Hailed on top by the 2017 Forbes’ Best Countries for Business, Sweden’s booming economy and recent trend towards less government regulations makes it unbeatable for multinational companies.

Denmark. Competing with Sweden, Denmark was the former top country for foreign business. However, although the current administration is somewhat less immigration-friendly mainly because of the current refugee crisis, the country is still a great business climate.

Canada. Due to its progressive attitude towards international trade and business, Canada remains a bright spot for international business in North America.

Japan. Being the world’s third-largest economy, certainly, Japan holds plenty of opportunities. However, it is considered as one of the less-friendly markets to do businesses in.

China. Bringing another competition, Japan’s neighbor and rival (in terms of economic and historical issues like the world war and Nanking massacre), the China’s skyrocketing economy is also a great place to market your business.

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