In the age of the internet, it is quite easy to communicate with people on the other end of the world and even coordinate a project whose participants never actually meet in person. With this in mind, it is only logical that expanding your business internationally is easier than it ever was before. While this statement is undoubtedly true, it is still not as easy as you may assume at first. For starters, different regions have different customs, rules, laws and regulations, which may make your transition much harder than you might have initially expected. So, without further ado, here are a couple of tips that might help make it more straightforward.
1. Explore the market of your target destination
The first thing you need to do when you decide to expand your business internationally is to do an extensive survey of the target destination. However, this is definitely not the same thing as doing similar research back home, seeing as how you now have a cultural barrier to take into consideration. The best example of how this works can be seen on a video where a Russian minister naively suggests that their country should start exporting more pork to Indonesia (the country which boasts the largest Muslim population in the world). Similar missteps and miscalculations happen in the business world all the time.
2. Find some local help
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that even if you do manage to establish an offshore chapter of your company and everything runs absolutely flawlessly, there are still some issues that you won’t be able to handle from afar. Therefore, you have to choose one of two ways in which you can handle this situation. You either A) send someone you trust 100 percent to oversee this transition or B) hire a local company and outsource this vital task to them. The latter scenario is simpler, less effort-intensive and, in some situations, even more cost-effective. Furthermore, through platforms such as 2easy, finding a reliable local partner can be resolved in a matter of hours instead of days and weeks.
3. Inquire about local tax codes and immigration laws
Some countries, like the United States, tend to tax one’s worldwide income, while some other countries have a different approach. This is something that needs to be researched before you start your first international office.
Apart from this, you need to keep in mind that the immigration law of the country you are aiming to open an international office in may play a huge role in your final decision. You see, you personally may have no intention of relocating to the target country, but you might still decide to send several members of your team (to act as senior management) to your offshore branch. Needless to say, this is where knowing the local immigration law comes in particularly handy.
4. Check the local competition
Next, you need to keep in mind that as a foreigner, you are already starting from the position of an underdog, even if you have a superior service/product to offer. This is why you need to do a great job of researching the local competition and looking for a way to present your brand as their superior. Moreover, you need to remember that some of your future competitors may have a brand that goes back for decades, which will provide them with a more-than-loyal customer base.
5. Rethink your marketing
At the very end, you need to start thinking about what you should do with your marketing once you start expanding to a foreign market. Do you start a global campaign or take a different approach and embark on two (or several) smaller, local campaigns? The former may be a more frugal choice, while the latter might turn out to be more effective. Additionally, if you decide to start an office in a non-English speaking country, you may need to consider having another campaign, in their native language.
At the end of the day, expanding your business internationally is a necessary step for your company to become a true powerhouse in your industry. Still, there are more than a few questions that need to be answered before you start realizing this plan of yours. On the other hand, this isn’t something you are expected to do on a regular basis, which is why you should take all the time you need and think it through.