From Local to Global How to Take Your Business to The Next Level.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Expanding your business overseas entails certain risks, but it can also reap great rewards. With global online retail sales alone up 17% annually, the potential for growth is huge. And it’s not just about the bottom line. Exploring new markets can keep your company fresh, help you to innovate, cushion you against downturns in the market at home and improve efficiency and productivity. Here are some helpful tips for turning your company into a global brand.
If you want to sell products and services abroad, it’s important to do your homework on potential foreign territories. When deciding which countries to target, you need to know whether there’s a demand for your product, and if you’ll have any competitors. How does the country’s internal market operate? Are there trends than you can turn to your advantage? Digging deeper, it also pays to become conversant with the local culture, customs and values. As well as helping to prevent any social faux pas, this can also provide valuable insights into how to frame your products for local consumers.
Once you’ve settled on a potential foreign market, spend some time there visiting trade fairs and business events where you’ll have a chance to meet potential customers, distributors and agents. Be methodical about it: scan guest lists for people who might be of importance to you and make a point of introducing yourself. Don’t underestimate the value of networking. Friends on the ground can give you an insider’s point of view of new markets and help you to refine your sales strategy.
To successfully expand your business abroad, you must also ensure that you have adequate capital for your venture. If you need to raise funds from investors or banks, then you will want to show them a sound business plan explaining how you intend to scale up your business and build a lasting customer base. When doing your sums, remember to include all the additional costs you are likely to incur due to factors such as transport, storage, manpower and government red tape.
It can be a mistake to rush in, blanketing several counties at once with a “one size fits all” marketing strategy. The wiser option is to begin with one or two markets, then expand slowly but surely. Trade fairs are a good starting point; it can also be helpful to create a presence on social media and existing e-market platforms, and thus ease your way into the consciousness of overseas buyers.
One of the hazards of trading overseas is the danger of non-payment. Dealing with this issue can be unpleasant enough at the best of times, and long distances can aggravate the situation. That is why it is important to evaluate the creditworthiness of potential customers before committing yourself. You can also guard yourself against non-payment with various safeguards such as credit insurance cover and Letters of Credit.
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