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Ready to Take Your Business Global? 4 Best Practices for Expansion

Pushing into global markets presents challenges unique to international business expansion. Here’s how to prepare yourself and your team to introduce your brand to consumers around the world.

Get Familiar with Global Consumers

Cultural differences impact how brand messaging resonates with global audiences. As you plan your expansion, research the markets in which you’re hoping to sell. How do your products and services address the specific needsof local consumers? What changes need to be made for your offerings to be useful and relevant?

You also need to understand how consumer behaviors differ between markets, including how locals search for products and make buying decisions. People in countries with vastly different cultural identities may have similar shopping strategies, and knowing the nuances is critical for successful global marketing efforts.

Make Budget a Top Priority

Before undertaking global business expansion, you need enough money to get established. Work out a budget to determine the costs associated with:

Local trade laws and regulations in your desired markets

  • Import and export costs
  • Office space
  • Hiring new teams
  • Marketing plans
  • Communication systems

Treat your figures as an estimate, and work in a generous margin of error to account for unforeseen expenses. In addition to initial expansion costs, you should plan to have six to 12 months’ worth of funding available to cover the operational expenses of your new global efforts.

Revisit and Rewrite Your Business Plan

Don’t count on your domestic business plan to provide a framework for global business growth. In most cases, the plan you used to establish your company on home soil can only serve as a rough guideline for markets around the world. Review the plan to see if any parts can be adapted to suit your global strategy or if you need to start from scratch.

Be as detailed and targeted as possible when developing your plan. Take into account funding needs, legal challenges of global markets, culturally sensitive sales models and worldwide supply sources, giving yourself a clear path to follow and minimizing the risk of hitting a wall before the expansion is complete.

Pick the Right Partners

Going global is a big deal, and you can’t do it alone. Fortunately, agencies like the Small Business Association Office of International Trade and resources like the Small Business Export Guide from the U.S. House Committee on Small Business are available to walk you through the challenges of pushing into new markets. You also need a team within your company to head up the expansion and support from third parties, including lawyers, accountants and locals in your new target markets who are familiar with the nuances of the cultural mindset.

All business growth must be approached with focus, diligence and intelligent planning. Following best practices for taking your company to global markets provides the guidance you need to avoid common mistakes. Be strategic about each move you make, and take the process one step at a time to successfully establish your brand with new target audiences.

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