Written by Ashley Northington:
Establishing a successful business in your hometown or where you reside is an amazing feat. Expanding that successful business to a national base is even more impressive. Moving into an international marketplace may be even more impressive and exciting.
While the excitement and potential for success may move many entrepreneurs in this direction, it is critical to have certain pieces in place before completing the global expansion puzzle. In order to effectively move your company from domestic to international, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider in order to have a smooth transition.
To that end, here are five must-have pieces you’ll need before expanding your business to a global marketplace.
Obviously, having customers who want your product or service is critical for any business. When considering expanding your domestic operation into international territory, make sure you conduct your due diligence to ensure there is a demand for your product or service in the country in which you wish to market.
A product that sells well in your hometown many not perform well statewide or nationally. Likewise, a product that sells well nationally may to sell well in another country. Before you make the leap, spend time researching potential foreign markets.
Experts advise small businesses to start moving globally by looking for markets that are similar to the one in which you currently operate. This may lead you to a foreign or international market to sell your wares.
Once you identify your potential international target, it will be critical to have individuals on your team who are familiar with the culture and language of the country in which you wish to market. From communicating with decision makers to consumers to web sites and other marketing pieces, it will be critical for you to ensure you not only understand any documents put before you, but that you also create documents and information that are aligned with the appropriate culture and language.
To ensure you are communicating successfully, it may be prudent for you to hire a staff member or two who can handle this aspect, or contract with a translation service or global marketing company who can manage this part of the work.
If you plan to sell products to another company, it is critical to have an exporting service that can effectively handle your needs. UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions, would make for an ideal exporting partner.
Getting the packages to your target country is one thing, but making sure your business is compliant with all of the exporting rules and regulations is a different game. It may be wise to spend time researching rules and regulations on export.gov in advance of shipping products internationally.
You can learn more about exporting during Global Entrepreneurship Week, held November 15-17, hosted by the Nashville Business Incubation Center. You can also learn more about how UPS can help you export your goods at the UPS Export Challenge held on November 17.
Before you begin to do business internationally, you’ll need to ensure your payment processing system is set up to handle international transactions. In some instances, PayPal or Stripe may be sufficient. In other situations, a service provided by your bank or some other third-party payment processor may be necessary. The key is to do the research and select the right one for your business and your new global customers.
Rules & Regulations.
This one is obvious, right? When you begin expanding your territory into foreign markets, there will be new rules and regulations you will have to follow – especially when it comes to fees and exporting requirements. There are several resources, such as Export.gov and UPS’s TradeAbility that can help you along the way. You may also want to check with international trade attorneys, such as those at Frost, Brown, Todd to be sure you’re meeting all the requirements.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS INTO A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE DURING NBIC’S GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK. REGISTER FOR TICKETS AT NBICONLINE.COM.
Ashley Northington is a marketing communication professional and entrepreneur. She is the founder and agency director at DENOR Brands & Public Relations. Learn more about Ashley at ashleynorthington.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @ashnorthington. Learn more about her company at denorbrands.com and follow the company on Twitter and Facebook @DENORPR.