If you’re finally ready to take your business to the global stage, preparation is key to success. Not only will you be dealing with people of varying backgrounds and customs, you’ll have to pay special attention to various trade laws, tax codes and consumer rights laws from different countries. Business owners who have reached a turning point in their careers where they feel that their companies can succeed in multiple countries can use the following tips to help reduce the risk of failure:
Hire the Right People
If you think you can launch your product internationally alone, think again. To effectively plan, execute and succeed, you must hire individuals with the right educational background. Those who have a degree from a diplomacy program can be a great asset to your business. They can help you navigate through language and customs barriers, will be able to inform you about various commerce laws and regulations, and will perform extensive research on different markets to determine which are the most profitable for your company.
Study the Market
While every business owner may want to enter into every market possible some countries might not have the right demographics for your product or the infrastructure to support it. Take for example the Philippines or Vietnam. Both have extremely high cell phone usage rates, but the vast majority of each country’s population uses cell phones for text messages and not for the Internet. Both countries would not be able to meet your demand if you were to launch a mobile app. Other countries, such as those in Europe, would be prime examples of where you could experience success with a variety of mobile applications. The United States government features annual international trade statistics for businesses looking to expand overseas.
Examine Your Brand and Corporate Image
Because going international means promoting your business to people of various cultures, you’ll need to re-examine your branding to see if it will succeed in its current form. Doing this is essential before you open up shop abroad because the symbol or colors you’ve chosen might offend your potential customers. Chinese culture is a great example of where many companies have had to alter their branding. In traditional Chinese culture, white often signifies death and mourning, and companies might do better to avoid using white when marketing to the Chinese population. In the vast majority of cases, altering a logo to fit local customs and beliefs won’t mean that you’ll have to rebrand your company altogether.
Hire a Local Professional in Each Market
It is very important that you visit each international market to help you personally understand each culture before your product launch. When you do travel abroad, making connections is important, and a local guide or translator will be a big help. Local guides can help you understand the differences in customs, will help translate when you want to speak with someone, and can even connect you with useful individuals who may be able to help you launch your business in their country.
Keep In Touch With Your Employees
While you may be thousands of miles away trying to expand your company, it’s always a good idea to check in daily with your employees. Use a video conferencing tool such as Skype to speak with your employees about what they accomplished during the day and consult with your management team to make sure everything is running smoothly. While you won’t be physically there to manage your team, you should always be available should any major business-related issues arise that need your attention.
Choose The Right Sales Representative
When traveling abroad, you should always be on the lookout for the perfect sales representative in each country. Your sales rep will be your eyes and ears on the ground, and will help you gain a foot hold in new territory. The right sales representative will be well-versed in the local language and local customs, and can offer advice about how you can best market your brand to a particular customer base.
Besides branding, the biggest factors that will affect how successful you are in a particular market will be the people you hire. Hiring the right people that are motivated and know how to successfully launch your business in each country will be your greatest assets on the international level.