Many business owners have ambitions to enter new markets and attract international customers. If your company is growing and you’re keen to explore opportunities overseas, it’s essential to make sure that you understand the challenges involved in going global. This informative guide will share some top tips to help you achieve your goals.
Researching new markets
When identifying new places to do business, the first step is to research new markets. Undertake thorough research to gauge the level of demand for your products and services, identify your main competitors, and learn more about your target customer. There are often significant differences related to international buyers and markets. It pays to get to know target audiences in advance and understand what makes them tick. Ask questions via polls and surveys to get ideas for promotions and marketing channels and platforms, and find out what motivates buyers to make decisions. You may find that what matters most to your existing customers doesn’t necessarily correlate with market research findings in a new destination. You need to be able to adjust and modify the way you work to adapt to new environments, consumer habits, and trends.
Once you have conducted market research and connected with target audiences, use the information and data you have obtained to plan. You can implement ideas and utilize client responses and reactions to set price points, identify effective marketing techniques, design websites and packaging and decide how you will interact with your customers.
Learning from other brands
Growing a business and achieving success on a global scale is not easy. As a business owner working towards these objectives, learning from others who have blazed a trail and made the leap from local, regional, or national enterprise to a global brand is hugely beneficial. See how other companies work in logistics and supply chains and take inspiration from brands that have successfully bridged gaps and created global customer communities.
Seeking expert advice/business collaborations
Going international is a major step. It’s often very challenging to expand a business without the help of others. One of the most effective ways to plan and execute a seamless transition during periods of growth is to seek expert advice and join forces with other businesses. This may include hiring consultants with expertise in global operations, working with a sourcing agent to secure products overseas, or identifying the best suppliers at lower costs, for example. It can also be beneficial to consider outsourcing services like marketing to take advantage of local agencies that understand the market and the target client base. This is particularly beneficial if there is a language barrier or significant cultural differences.
If you are looking into outsourcing or creating partnerships or relationships with businesses in other countries, it’s crucial to undertake extensive research. Look for agencies with a proven track record, compare service packages and prices, and take the time to get to know teams. Focus on businesses that prioritize customer service and have an excellent reputation. Read reviews and testimonials and get an idea of what you get for your money. Try to secure the best value deals rather than opting for the lowest prices.
Adapting your marketing strategy
The primary focus of any marketing strategy should be to connect with the target customer. If you’re diving into a new market, your audience may be different, so you’ll need to adapt your strategy. What works at home might not resonate with customers overseas. You may find that techniques that deliver results are not as prolific in other countries or that customers prefer to use channels or platforms you don’t currently use. This may be the case for social media, for example. Working with local marketing experts is beneficial. Analyzing competitor campaigns and using your market research findings to draw up targeted plans is also advantageous.
Take extra care when communicating with new customers in different countries. Your marketing campaigns need to reach customers, but they also need to have the desired effect. You risk offending or confusing people if you don’t understand cultural traditions and trends or use the wrong tone or language.
Reviewing your product or service range
Assuming that your best-selling products and services will go down a storm in other countries is understandable if you have established a successful business. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The demand for some products may not be as high, but there may be opportunities to develop new products or add services to make your business more attractive. Analyze sales data and consumer behavior, look for buying trends within your target demographics and try to be flexible and agile. For example, you might find that products linked to your current range are tipped as the next big thing. If you can expand or modify your range to develop that product, you can capitalize on new trends and put your brand firmly on the map.
Showcasing your brand
Running a successful business doesn’t depend solely on creating high-quality products. Consumers are increasingly concerned with forming relationships with brands and making decisions based on what businesses stand for. Growing a company and selling products in different countries is an opportunity to showcase your brand and tell your story. Use social media to tell people about the company’s history, culture and values, what you believe in, and products and services.
Highlight your USP, show off your brand personality and be proactive in engaging with followers and establishing a rapport. More than 70% of consumers want to buy from businesses that align with their values. Introduce your brand to prospective customers and learn about what matters to them. You may find that they inspire you to explore new interests or opportunities for corporate social responsibility, for example.
Figuring out the logistics
Providing products or services for local customers differs from running a global company that caters to clients across different countries and continents. Before promoting services or securing international orders, ensure that you have the logistics pinned down:
- Ensure that your business is ready and able to get products from A to B or offer services to customers in a new location with no delays or disruptions.
- Increase orders of supplies and materials, find new distributors and shipping firms, and identify retailers or sales platforms, for example.
- Outsource to save time and effort, gain access to skills and services you don’t have in-house, and benefit from local knowledge and experience.
Having a watertight, fully-costed plan to take your business global before you start accepting orders or building anticipation for a store, restaurant, or hotel opening is critical.
Growing a company usually involves hiring employees. Whether you’re opening a new store across the road or have grand plans to launch shops in several locations worldwide, you’ll need to ensure that your workforce is ready and ready to go. Start by calculating how many employees you need, determining key roles, and establishing a wage budget. Before you put an employee benefits package together, comparing salaries with other companies in the industry is beneficial and ascertaining what matters most to employees. You may find that salary is the top priority in one country, while access to healthcare benefits or work-life balance and flexibility are more important in others.
Once you know the available positions and the salaries and benefits you are offering, you can start the recruitment process. It’s wise to think about where you’re going to advertise jobs and how you’re going to reach the best candidates. Options include using industry-specific online portals, working with recruitment agencies with a track record in the relevant sector, and posting on social media channels that are popular among professionals. Include detailed information in your job adverts to ensure applicants have the required skills and experience. Use interviews to get to know candidates better, understand how they will fit into your team, and complement the company ethos and values.
Many entrepreneurs dream of growing their businesses and trying to conquer international markets. If you have ambitions to develop your business and go global, it’s crucial to understand what is involved in expanding into new locations and markets. Research extensively, get to know new audiences and prospective customers, and identify competitors. Take advantage of local knowledge and expertise, seek advice and join forces with businesses and agencies that will help you forge a path overseas. Adapt your marketing strategy, review your product or service range and try to be flexible and agile. Figure out the logistics, calculate costs and start planning for recruiting new employees. It’s best to have watertight plans before you dive head-first into new markets.