Uncertainty is part of the fun of opening a new business, and when risks pay off the stress is more than worth it. But whilst you might have enjoyed being a trailblazer to begin with, when it comes to taking your business to the next level and expanding globally, a gung-ho approach won’t cut it.
Plenty of small companies have attempted to move into overseas markets and, although lots have triumphed, many more have fallen short. The bonus for you is that their exploits have highlighted the common pitfalls and issues that derail international growth and development.
To successfully go global with your company, all you have to do is learn from their mistakes. To help you get started, we’ve highlighted three blunders you can easily avoid with careful planning.
#1: Falling foul of local laws
Flouting the laws and customs of different countries won’t be met kindly, even if done by accident. Taxes, shipping costs, property regulations and HR employment laws – they’ll all vary according to the location you’re targeting, and you have to be aware of the rules before you open up shop.
To save yourself from any legal disasters that could have been sidestepped with proper research, employ an expert to offer advice and give your business plan a once over.
Whether it’s having a lawyer check your contracts or using offshore banking to manage the technicalities of international trading, the cost of hiring outside help is definitely worth it for ensuring your company runs legally and professionally no matter where it’s based.
#2: Being culturally insensitive
What works for your local market probably won’t work the same everywhere else. In fact, your logo or marketing ploy might even be offensive within a different culture. Failure to consider cultural sensitivities could result in you accidentally alienating your potential new customers.
Adapting your product or service to meet the specific needs and requirements of target countries is the only way to guarantee a smooth transition.
This also applies to languages. Be aware of the differing languages within and across borders, and hire a translator to ensure that all your documents and copy are correct.
#3: Ineffective global marketing
As with a startup launch, marketing is everything during a period of expansion. Unless customers know you’re out there and are willing to hand over their cash for your product or service, your business will soon be sinking.
The most common marketing mistakes made by companies trying to win over global markets include thinking generally instead of targeting campaigns to specific countries, and failing to invest in the appropriate software for each move.
Bolster your current marketing team by hiring locally-based experts at each step of your business’s development.
There will be several hiccups along the way to going global, but preparing for these three common mistakes will set you on the right path.