[su_dropcap style=”flat”]T[/su_dropcap]HE WORLD is now a very small place. You can hop on a plane and find yourself in Hong Kong after just a few short hours. You can start a business in New Zealand, where it’s notoriously easy to set up a company. There is no need to limit yourself to a particular country any more. Thanks to the huge leaps in communication and travel, you can access the entire globe. For some entrepreneurs, that’s a scary and overwhelming thought. For others, it’s an exciting prospect that could lead them anywhere!
However, if you are looking to go global, there are a few things to bear in mind. Not least, your new country will have its own language, laws, and customs. You cannot also assume that its customers share the same consumer habits. You’ll have to adapt to the market and the customer base. Of course, these problems are simply obstacles that need sidestepping. If you think a global business is for you, make sure you take the following factors into account.
Establish your business at home first
Some entrepreneurs are too eager to hop on a plane and start making international deals. The truth is you need to build a sturdy, reliable foundation at home first. If it doesn’t work in your domestic country, it probably won’t work abroad. Focus on improving your business at home first. That way, you’ll plug any gaps here first. You’ll learn the problems and make mistakes close to home. Trust us, that is far preferable to making the mistakes 5,000 miles away! Create a business model that works, and then transfer it to the global market.
Master your time zones
If you’re to do business in a foreign country, you’ll need to get the hang of the time zones. Depending on where in the world you’re communicating with, you may have to shift your day. For example, much of the business day in China, Japan or Singapore all takes place during the night. Meanwhile, you’ll have to get up very early indeed to catch most of the European market. This applies if you’re working on global stocks or running an international business. You might find yourself jetlagged just communicating with your various offices around the world!
Know the market
It’s one thing visiting a country for a holiday. It’s quite another to truly understand its culture and consumer habits. Before you expand into a foreign country, you need a clear understanding of the market. What do their customers value in a company. What are the local customs that will dictate how your business operates. It’s no good shifting a one-size-fits-all approach to a new jurisdiction. You’ll need to carefully adapt your business and rebuild it to accommodate the local market.
Strengthen your brand
When you embark on a global expansion, you can’t guarantee that everyone will understand your product. Customers abroad have different expectations. They have a different culture and a language. There’s no certainty that you can communicate your product in the same way. For example, Starbucks have had trouble trying to introduce the concept of ‘coffee-on-the-go’ in certain countries. It’s simply not the culture. However, what they have done is strengthen their branding. When you get that right, the brand says everything.
Find a cost-effective money transfer service
When you’re operating a global business, you’ll find yourself transferring a lot of money abroad. However, the fluctuating exchange rates means that sometimes you’ll pay lot to do so. Regular foreign exchanges could eat into your bottom line if you don’t have a cost-effective option. There are companies available that will handle this exchange for you. They time the market and keep their costs low. Ideally, look for a company with a money transfer award.
Hire a good guide and translator
When you first begin to discover your new country, hire a professional guide and translator. Tap into their local wisdom and knowledge from the very first day. Let them tell you about the local customs and expectations. They can accompany you to meetings and translate everything that’s happening around you. It’s the perfect way to get to know a country from the minute you step off the plane.
Make regular visits
A good global business person visits his offices regularly. Expanding internationally doesn’t mean you can just run the business from home. You must be prepared to get on a plane and become actively involved in the global growth. This is the only way to truly understand the market you’re working in. Everyday management is crucial here to stay on the right track. You’ll keep an eye on the expansion, and provide support to your ground team. Running a global business means spending a lot of time on a plane, but it’s worth it in the end.
Choose a local sales rep
As you know, selling is a fine art. It’s why we pay sales reps a big sum to convince and convert prospects! However, your best salesperson may feel like a fish out of water when relocated to a new country. Sales reps tap into the culture and expectations of their customers. That’s why you need to appoint a team of sales reps local to the foreign country. You need a team that speaks the same language – literally and culturally. They’ll have much more experience with the local market, and they’ll get the job done!
Don’t break any local laws!
This might seem like an extreme suggestion, but you’d be surprised how often it happens. When you start doing business in a foreign country, you’ll find yourself facing new laws and regulations. The process of doing business is very different indeed. The legal guidelines for contracts, employment, and even health and safety are all different. Always hire a local attorney to ensure you are staying on the right side of the local law. A broken law could damage your reputation and cost a fortune in legal fees.
Follow these ground rules, and you’ll be in the perfect position to go global. An international business will open up countless new opportunities for you. Best of luck!