Taking your business out to a global audience can be one of the most exciting and daunting steps that you take as a company owner. However, if you are going to be able to do it successfully, you need to not tread on the same landmines that businesses in the past have. Learning from their mistakes can help to prevent you from repeating them. Of course, you are inevitably going to find that you have your own obstacles that need to be overcome in one way or another, but the following blog post is all about the most common errors when you seek to take a business globally.
Expanding Before Your Company is Ready
There are a couple of different situations in which your company is not really ready for international expansion. To begin with, it may be that it is a fledgling business that has not really been able to establish itself to a local audience yet. On the other hand, it could be the case that you have had a good year and think that it is time to branch out, but if you are not able to demonstrate that your business is ready, this could represent a risk too far. Ultimately, you should not expand before your business is really and truly ready.
Failing to Think About the Language Barrier
The next potential obstacle that you are likely to find yourself up against is the language barrier. Ultimately, this can be a big one that serves to scupper your chances of being successful in the world of international business. It will help you out in a big way during meetings if you are able to speak some words yourself, but the least that you should have is a trusted translator who is able to communicate with you in a clear and honest fashion. There is also the online world that you need to bear in mind as much as possible. Getting your website properly translated can help out in a big way, and Smartling can certainly play its part in this. Ultimately, you make yourself look better as a company if you are able to be multilingual.
Not Taking into Account New Payment Methods
The cornerstone of running a business is actually making sure that you are able to get paid. Ultimately, you cannot assume that the general payment systems will be the same in the new country as the one in which you are currently operating. To this end, you need to do your research to work out the core ways in which people are paying in the new country. For example, in North America, corporate cards are highly used, whereas mobile payments are now dominant in China. In many parts of the world, cash is still king. Ultimately, the easier that you make it for customers to pay you, the more likely it is that you are going to be able to generate the type of bottom-line profit that you were hoping for in the first place.
Failing to Have a Plan of Action in Place
Even if you did not know all the ins and outs of your own local laws and regulations when you set up your company in your own country, it is highly likely that you already had a good idea about some of the main ones. However, when you are going into an entirely new place, it is like starting from scratch in so many different ways. Not only is this the case from a business perspective, but it is also like this in terms of a cultural one as well. For this reason, it makes sense that you have done plenty of research that has allowed you to put in place a clear plan of action. Otherwise, you can find yourself in a situation in which you are scrabbling around and not really sure what to do next rather than ready and able to move your business up to the next level in the way that you would like to.
Not Marketing Your Company Effectively
Just like when you are starting back at home, you really need to go heavy on the marketing front to ensure that your business gets off on the right footing. Again, there are inevitably going to be differences in the ways in which things work, which means that you need to have a clear and obvious local marketing strategy in place. To begin with, it may be that you attempt highly targeted marketing in a particular area before you take this further and further into the new country. Ultimately, the better that you are able to get your business message out there, the more likely it is that you are going to attract the customers that you are looking for in the first place.
All of these common mistakes are ones that should be avoided when it comes to taking your business internationally. First of all, you should make sure that your company is truly ready for what is in store for it to ensure that you start off on the best possible footing. Next, you have the language barrier that certainly needs to be overcome if you are really hoping to make some headway into the new country in question. Beyond this, you should ensure that all the right payment methods are being used as the last thing that you want to do is to make it more challenging for your customers to hand over their money than it otherwise would have been. Next up, you need to have a general plan of action in place that covers your first few months in business and takes you along the road. Sure, you may want to make some updates and edits along the way, but this is a necessary part of running an international business as markets can change in a rapid manner. Finally, you need to ensure that all of the marketing efforts work in the way that you want them to.