International business expansion: When is the right time?

By Mark Baggs, Head of Global

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International business expansion is a daunting process. There can seem like a never-ending number of things to consider. Whether you’re planning on going into a single country, or multiple, it’s important you’re ready to take the leap.

From establishing a new customer base, to knowing the laws and regulations, the road to going global isn’t usually a straight one.  

So, what are the key things you need to consider before expanding your business?

Affordability

How much will it cost your business to go international? There’s the office space, shipping, manufacturing, employee wages… the list goes on.

These costs can also differ depending on your country of choice, and some can be specific to international expansion. It’s important your strategy accounts for unexpected cash flow issues and potential cost related risks.

Marketing

Even if the country you’re entering speaks the same language, it doesn’t mean the same content and messaging will work with the audience. 

Something to consider is that imagery carries different meanings in different countries. Not getting this right, could mean you face censorships and heavy fines. For example, in Saudi Arabia, commercials featuring alcohol are banned. Not getting the messaging right can also cause your brand to be alienated by the local culture.

It’s important to be familiar with the cultural norms. To help navigate through this, investing in a local marketing agency may be a good idea to begin with.

Familiarity with the market 

Each country comes with different regulations impacting trade, taxing, employee rights, intellectual property etc. Having to deal with each country’s specific market regulations can be time consuming and resource heavy.

It’s also important to monitor your competition within the market. Are similar products available at a cheaper rate? If so, entering a new market with a similar unfamiliar product or service will be challenging.

Therefore, hiring an expert who can help your business transition into a new country could speed the process up and save your business valuable time.

Flexibility

When entering a new country, you may face several challenges that could demand drastic change. It’s important to be able to adapt, when it comes to your products or services, business plans and marketing strategies.

It’s important to be open to new ideas and suggestions as your new market responds. Not doing so can result in missed opportunities and the potential decline of your business in that country.

A good example of a company who were able to be flexible was Netflix, who through a limited time offering, were able to use the data to test and design a business model which they would eventually roll out.

Being able to be flexible meant they could tailor the service to their audience as and when they tested and received feedback. This flexibly ultimately enabled them to create a service that felt personalised to the user and culturally relevant.

Do you have the right partners?

There’s plenty to manage when expanding your business globally and the right partner can go a long way in helping keep your business compliant. Plus, they can help mobilise your employees quickly and seamlessly.

With a EOR, the arduous admin that goes with global expansion is taken care of. Contact one of our experts today to start your journey.

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