With that being said, international expansion can be a very lucrative move that increases both your profits and your brand authority. If you think you’re ready for the next step, here’s what you need to consider when expanding a business internationally.
Understand cultural differences
Before you make any concrete plans for expansion, you need to thoroughly research the country or territories you are thinking of expanding into. This is more than just market research too – if there is a gap in the market, there may be a specific reason for that. Your business or product may not gel with certain cultural traditions or the way that people live their life, so do your due diligence.
Learn about the competition in your target area
Even if there is a market for your product in the country you want to expand into, find out who you’ll be competing against. It may be that your opposition have been well-established in that area for many years but have dominated the market through their ubiquity rather than the quality of their offering. Alternatively, your main competitors may have the trust of their consumers, who may be wary of change.
Understand financial compliance and regulation
If you are intending on expanding your business internationally, it is essential to understand the financial regulations of your target country. Different countries have different business practices, especially in their approaches to taxation and employee rights. This means you won’t necessarily be able to operate your business model in exactly the same way as before.
There are legal implications of setting up a cross-border business, so you need to make sure that you won’t have to make any sacrifices that could damage the reputation or quality of your business.
Find a trustworthy team who can lead the way
Whilst you want to keep core team members who have made your business a success in the first place, you will also need to hire in new people for any expansion. When it comes to international expansion, you need to find staff who you can trust to be upstanding ambassadors for your brand overseas. You may want to consider a mix of people who already know your company inside out and new hires who have experience in international markets.
Develop key contacts
You can start building your contact list before you even have premises in your target country. Putting out the feelers early on and asking trusted partners for advice can lead you to some key contacts in your new market. If you can convince your contacts that you joining the market will have a positive impact, they will be keen to help get you off the ground, especially if they can reap the benefits later.
Think carefully about the logistics
There are many practical considerations when expanding a business internationally, such as where exactly your international sites will be situated, the leasing costs and the implications of relocating employees. Whilst you may have certain key team members in mind to head this latest venture, they may not be willing to relocate without sufficient compensation, and even then, their personal life may take precedence.
The key to international expansion is planning ahead. If you do your due diligence in regards to market research and financial regulation, whilst also preemptively building a network of valuable contacts, then you will be in an advantageous position once you make the move.