You have successfully built your business from the ground up. What was once a one-person operation has become an enterprise with a small body of staff and world-domineering ambitions. For many, the next step is expanding into the global market.
The move to international business can be daunting and unfortunately, many companies are unsuccessful when trying to expand across domestic borders. For a successful conversion, here are some steps you can take to prepare your business for expansion abroad.
Embrace the Online World
As a modern business, you probably have various social media accounts, communicate via email and host meetings via video conference. However, going global requires something more. Rather than storing documents on your desktop, consider uploading to an online cloud-system. While you can easily ship important documents using an international courier such as TNT, as an international company it will likely be necessary to access essential files from across the globe, so get into the habit of online storage early on.
Research Your Markets
When you first started your business, you had to research your chosen market to assess the long-term viability of your undertaking. The same goes for expanding overseas, as while your business model may work in your locality/country, it will not necessarily translate internationally. Expansion abroad means doing business in countries with different cultures, languages and markets, so you can't simply replicate your existing strategies. Instead, research the individual markets of the countries in which you would like to expand and review your business plan as required.
Review Policies and Procedures
Just like your business model, your company's policies and procedures will need to be reviewed. When operating internationally, your business must be flexible in terms of processes and management of staff. When reviewing, consider organisational strategies in different countries, local infrastructure, compensation and benefits, and make sure all procedures comply with the law. This is where you may need some specialist guidance...
Always Seek Professional Advice
When it comes to complex legal matters such as tax and finance, trading laws, intellectual property and quality standards, unless you are an expert in the field then make sure to seek professional advice – government websites are a great place to start. Even with adequate preparation, going global is still a high risk undertaking. While the benefits can be huge, the consequences of lack of research can be catastrophic. So, before you take the plunge, talk to a professional and take every step possible to minimise unnecessary risk.