There’s a whole wide world out there with a target audience interested in what you have to offer. So far, you’ve stayed within your comfort zone - your own city, state, or country borders - because you weren’t ready to grow your company globally. However, you are now ready to forge new territories and take on the world. These seven steps will help take your company global:
1. Research and narrow down your markets of opportunity
In a rush to show the world what you have to offer, you may bite off more than you can chew. You need to narrow down the markets for the first phase of global growth by determining which markets are most viable for what you offer. Market entrance and size, cost efficiency, labor and resource supply, geographical constraints and legal regulation must also be considered.
2. Be culturally sensitive
Prepare content that is culturally sensitive to particular areas. As with all content, whether it’s a landing page or website, engaging with your customer is crucial. You must understand how to engage your target audience. You cannot assume that what works at home will work abroad because creating an emotional connection in a global context is challenging. Use visuals and content that resonate with the culture and its various nuances.
3. Leverage local experts
To speed up your learning curve, turn to local experts for insights on engaging your target audience. Let them know you have their best interests at heart, help them understand your message and accept their help on everything from content to social media. Ask local experts about the local market and listen to their advice.
4. Learn the language
Language barriers can slow down your march across the globe. If you only offer content in your native tongue, don’t just assume your audience understands it. Use location-detection tools to convert your content into another language. Consider hiring a freelancer translator to generate multiple versions of your website in different languages. A great option is starting with English-speaking countries until you are ready to take on other languages.
5. Visit each country and start establishing personal relationships
While more people enjoy the convenience of doing business online with companies all over the world, it doesn’t replace the face time that is necessary to build personal relationships and trust. Visiting each country where you plan to do business also helps you gain a better understanding of who you are working with, including interacting with outsourced staff, vendors and partners, customers and the media. Show some pics on your site with local people showing you sharing their customs with appreciation.
6. Focus on international marketing strategies
During your research you most likely gathered information on what type of marketing mechanisms and platforms are most widely used, including social media, search marketing, and online advertising. Use this information and continue gathering other data on blogs, forums, email marketing, and other channels where you can get your marketing messages out in the most effective way possible.
7. Set up your billing and payments system for international customers
Currency exchange and varied payment systems can put off small businesses from going global. However, with new billing and payment tools, it has become a lot easier to work with customers in different countries. There are now easy ways to deliver an online invoice in various languages and currencies that also include the appropriate tax and fee guidelines for that particular country. You can also access affordable international credit card processing solutions that help you expand the type of payment options you can offer your customers. More countries are opening up to the idea of international transactions so this aspect of global expansion will become much easier.
Although it takes considerable effort to expand your business globally, there are more tools and strategies now available that make it more convenient, secure, and affordable. Remember to build your empire slowly and enjoy the new revenue streams and experience of serving customers from all parts of the world, one step, one country, at a time.
What steps will you take to prepare your company for global growth?