Should You Expand internationally?
Do you have a thriving business which is secure and ready for growth opportunities? Have you thought about expanding internationally?
The U.S. government has resources for American businesses who are looking to get started internationally. The Department of Commerce has a site dedicated to this. Check out Export.gov for more information.
There are both business and cultural considerations to address. Here are some of the major factors to research:
- What is the demand for your products/services?
- Are similar products/services available in this market?
- Does this area have the workforce you would require?
- What will customers pay?
- What are the acquisition costs?
- Would your brand be a good fit with the culture?
Once you decide you want to expand, you’ll have to get a local partner. This helps not only with business, but with the cultural obstacles you might encounter.
You’ll need to establish a local office, even if you’re not conducting much business from it. Having a local presence is very important. It speaks to your desire to become part of the community and lends credibility to your organization. This will also help you meet the needs of your customers during their normal business hours, as you might be operating in vastly different time zones.
Your website will be a major component of your business and marketing strategy. You’ll want it to be specific for each country, with a local domain. Make sure it’s written in the language by a native speaker, not a translator, taking care that the tone matches your target demographic and accounts for cultural differences. Maybe verbiage used on your U.S. website could be considered too casual and needs to be a bit more formal.
You should list the local phone number, with the proper country code, and the address correctly formatted. It’s important that you use the local currency. Customers don’t want to mess with conversion, and it gives the impression that you aren’t concerned with assimilating into the market you want to serve. You should also consider expanding your social media presence. Your local partner will be able to advise you on the platforms popular in that area, and how to boost engagement.