It’s a fact that this world has become a global village. What happens in one country can quickly affect another. Transport developments have helped people travel further and faster than ever before. The internet has contributed to this as well, by enabling people to communicate internationally via several different platforms.
Some businesses have exhausted the customer base in their own nation. Others are set on a global expansion program. There’s talk on the news about multinational companies and international markets on a daily basis. Any company that is thinking of extending its reach overseas should make thorough research upfront, and that’s what this article is all about.
Understand The Language Issues
It may be easy for English and American businessmen to communicate, but it’s totally different when it’s an unknown language. Any company that doesn’t have a local presence abroad will struggle. If the foreign workers don’t speak the local language, it could spell disaster.
Businesses may need to either employ full-time translators or to outsource their work. Anyone receiving French translation from Francelations would expect to be able to upload their documents and to experience a quick turnaround. Third-party translators are frequently sought for help with legal documentation, marketing materials, and website content.
Be Sure This Is The Best Thing To Do
It can be an expensive, complicated, and slow process of gaining business abroad. Companies need to be confident that people will want their products or services rather than favoring local providers. Even if everything goes according to plan, it may take a while for sales to reach a profitable level. There is always the risk of doors closing to foreign traders as well.
Major factors can be relevant to business expansion. They include a country’s economic and political situation, social trends, and their development of technology.
Any company that plans to set up business abroad will need to make foreign visits. Thought should be given to local and satellite offices and staff employment. Relationships will need to be built with local people. Think about partnerships, alliances, and distribution channels. Contact with potential future customers will also be key.
Social media has helped remove the barriers between different nations. Such platforms as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn provide opportunities for people to connect internationally. Facebook groups can be beneficial as well, as they are often free to join and create online communities based around a certain theme. This could be anything from hobbies and interests to learning different languages. Friendships can be made and networking activities can help generate business.
Gain Expert Advice
There would be nothing better for an expanding company than for it to secure an experienced mentor. Perhaps they know your line of business and have already succeeded in the country you are considering. They will be able to identify the potential barriers – including language, culture, and legislation.
It may be that a mentor warns a company that no one will buy their product in that country or that the market is already saturated. While it may be disappointing to discover this, it will save time and money being wasted on a doomed venture. Professional advisors may instead suggest the best nations to consider. They may include New Zealand, Singapore, France, India, or Denmark who all favor certain aspects of foreign business.
A mentor may have inside knowledge of things you haven’t thought about, such as telecommunication availability and waste management or energy costs and transport routes. National attitudes towards recycling may also require your processes to change.
Research The Legal Aspects
Businesses need to ensure they are legally allowed to operate in the country and to provide goods and services there. It may be that different processes and procedures will need to be put in place to maintain legal compliance and to follow business regulations.
It can be a battle to gain foreign bank accounts, and such things as tax codes and payroll processes will need to be put in place. Try and gain a productive relationship with the bank’s local branch. There are also such things as global currencies to think about. Research labor law and workers’ unions, work permits, and visas.
Trademarks and patents are important for products and processes. This is because they can deter rivals from copying what you are trying to sell. If patents are infringed it is possible to take legal action.
Understand The Culture
Anyone who has lived abroad will tell you that learning a language is not enough. People also need to be familiar with the culture. This has many implications when it comes to doing business abroad. Anyone who offends the locals will be likely to lose custom very quickly. Areas to become familiar with include communication and body language. Etiquette is very important, including how people address one another.
Clothing is also key, as some countries have stronger modesty expectations than in the west. Some countries use business cards during the trading process. Product names may also need to be changed because words have different meanings in different countries. For example, Durex is a name for sticky tape in America, but it is a contraceptive brand in England.
Adapt For Your Customers
It would be a lot easier for everyone if there was one global time zone. Sadly this is not the case, and while some nations are buying and trading, others are fast asleep. It’s important to understand that call centers may need to cater to time zones as well as language.
Any business person will tell you that marketing is about providing something different to everyone else. If a product is already available overseas, it’s important to promote yours as being unique or providing more for a person’s money.
If people are to swap loyalty from supporting local goods and services, businesses will need to adapt to what they have to offer. What works in your own country may be inappropriate abroad. Any company that sells electrical goods will need to be aware of the different plug sizes and voltages.
If a business is determined to extend overseas, it will be wise to do so slowly. Take a step and learn. Adapt whenever needed. It can be a risky venture, but there is also the chance for big gains. A global audience can create a global income.