The world is an ever-shrinking place. It has never been so easy to connect with people from other nations.
This has lead to more significant shared experiences and a broader understanding of each others culture. It has also pushed the barriers for doing business far aside and left open the potential for sweeping changes to all areas of life and industry.
Brands have never had so much freedom to extend their reach. And with hyper mass communication, it is much easier to know what the trends are in other parts of the world.
Added to this, the liberalization of trade restrictions in many countries make the exchange of goods and services much easier across borders.
If your business is operating within its niche close to home, but all of your trade is made via the internet, is there any reason why you cannot be a global brand?
If a service can be offered remotely via the internet to people within a few hundred miles of you, is there any reason why you are not offering this service to people who are thousands of miles away?
If you offer products that people want within your own country, how do you know that don’t have a market for them overseas?
The only limits that there are on your services are the limits you set. And with instant communication, and so many fast and efficient courier services available, the physical constraints are diminishing.
If you have created a product, what is stopping you marketing it globally?
Making connections with people in other countries has never been so simple. And you can certainly be a player on the world stage if you have the motivation for it.
Research The Market
Before you start offering your products and services overseas, you need to understand the market in your chosen countries. There may be stiff competition that you will be up against, and knowing where the challenges lay will help you decide where to invest your time and money.
There may be cultural differences that may bring about difficulties that you may need to overcome. Understanding what is essential to people from other parts of the world is significant when it comes to deciding how to angle your marketing.
You may also need to make alterations to your product or service to cater to a specific market.
The Language Barrier
Maybe one of your concerns about offering your services and products to an overseas market is the language matter. There is no escaping the worries that what you are offering may get lost in translation.
You may only be able to speak one language yourself, and being reliant on translation software, or expecting others to speak your language may not appeal to you.
There are, however, translation services out there. Google does an outstanding job of translating a great deal of content that it finds into the preferred language of the user. Obviously, this is not one hundred percent perfect, but it can be helpful.
If you create video content, either as your product or service or within your marketing materials, there are very good subtitle services that can help you communicate with your target audience.
These captions can be added directly to the video, or be included as a file that can be turned on, or off from the chosen player.
Video subtitles make for a more professional look than overdubbing dialogue into another language. They look sleek and will be easy to read.
If your website is going to be launched in several countries, you may want to think about having different language variations to cater for all markets.
Hire a professional translator who is experienced in web content to ensure you get the most accurate translation that retains the original intentions as well as the spirit of your brand.
The Cultural Barrier
Knowing a bit about the cultural make-up of the country that you are looking to enter is vital if you want to succeed.
You will need to make sure that the message that you are putting out is sensitive to the traditions and the sensibilities of that country. You will need to be sure that your products and services don’t offend, and that your marketing is tasteful and does not insult anyone in any way.
You may have a great rapport with your home market, and something that works in your branding may not translate so well. Often, humor will differ, and something that works in one language, won’t work in another.
You may wish to consult with a marketing agency in your target country before unleashing your marketing campaign.
Work With a Partner
Teaming up with a company that is already established in your destination country is a great move. If you can create brand synergy with a trusted insider, you will gain the trust of your new market much quicker.
Running campaigns that promote both their brand and your own is a wise move and will help to get your name out and noticed.
Be sure and pick a partner that you trust though. Find out about their reputation in that country and be sure you are not about to enter into a relationship that could be detrimental to your status there.
If you want to gain the trust of a new market, you will need the help of someone who is already trusted there.
When it comes to expanding your business interests to a broader catchment, you will no doubt have lots of questions about the territories that you plan on entering.
Each country will have nuanced differences in the way that they operate in terms of taxes. You will need to check on any taxes or duties that will apply to you, should you choose to do business in a particular country.
There may be import taxes that might affect your shipping costs. Value-added taxes may apply too. And you may need to be registered for tax within that country.
All of these things can be dealt with easily, though. And you need to ensure that you have the due diligence to find out as much information about your specific international trade interests.
The laws that govern copyrights, patents, and trademarks will differ between countries. You may have all of your intellectual property protected in your home country, but when you take your products to another country, then these rights may not apply.
Operating in a market without the full legal protection that you get from owning the intellectual property rights is opening yourself up to exploitation.
You could have your brand identity or your product stolen from you by counterfeiters. Your website could be cloned, and your brand reputation ruined.
Before you expand to take in other markets, consult with a global IP specialist, and get the best advice possible.
Read also: How to Legally Protect Your Business Idea
Different markets have various regulations regarding product safety.
For example, the European Union have a series of rules that ensure all products will meet a certain standard. This is the same across the whole of the union.
However, these standards may differ significantly to those found in the United States.
Having a strong understanding of these differences is essential, and employing stringent testing that meets the desired market standards is vital.
If you don’t meet the demands of the country, you may find that you are unable to trade there, and could face fines on substandard products.
Packaging standards are different across the world.
Some of this may be down to recycling initiatives in that country. There may be other standards and preferences in place when it comes to retailing though.
So be sure and check what the rules are before investing heavily in packaging that you can’t use.
Read also: 4 Top Reasons Why Product Packaging is Essential
Hire Locals on The Ground
If you need any employees or advice from your new market, hire locally rather than bringing in people from your current operations.
You’ll get the benefit of local knowledge from someone who has industry experience within that specific territory. This experience will be invaluable to you as you progress in your new area.
Hiring locally will also allow customers to trust that you have their interests at heart. Similarly, if you need the assistance of any businesses to help grow your brand, try to use local firms that will have specific experience of that market.
Whichever countries you are looking at moving your business into, be sure, and take the time to really understand as much about that country as possible.
Break down each of the elements of your current operation, and work out how they will be affected when they are replicated in the new market.
Extending your brand to a new market is a worthwhile thing to do, and there may be great rewards. There are, however, apparent risks.
You need to calculate these before you decide the level of investment that you want to commit to. Overenthusiastic investments may put the rest of your brand at home in jeopardy.
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