International expansion used to be reserved for the corporate powerhouses. But with advanced technology and opportunity, international markets have created an entry point for small business owners.

Any entrepreneur looking at a globe will see untapped opportunity. The markets of Mexico, Europe, and Asia offer the potential for businesses to enter new markets, serve new customers, find new talent, and cut production costs.

A globalized trade system has created the potential for the entrepreneur to sell, import, and export just about anywhere.

Going global, while an exciting business move requires thorough market research, and comes with risks absent from domestic markets. Operating on an international scale means navigating currency fluctuations, international money transferring, and country-specific regulations.

Without thorough preparation, things can go downhill quick. Many businesses going abroad don’t do their homework or consider cultural implications. That means an exciting venture quickly becomes unsuccessful.

Key strategies for avoiding the pitfalls of taking your company global include conducting market research and managing costs appropriately.

The Importance of Managing Costs

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Entering the global marketplace comes at a cost. If entrepreneurs aren’t careful, they can find themselves incurring costly transfer and legal fees.

For small business owners and entrepreneurs breaking the bank when going global is not an option, small businesses looking to move abroad need to navigate the cultural, social, economic landscape of international business in the most efficient way possible. One strategy for cutting costs is to use a money transfer service.

Implementing an international supply chain into your business means sending money abroad.

You might need to send money to Mexico to pay your supplier, or to a legal counselor in Europe.

Using a traditional wire through a business bank account is inefficient and costly. Money transfer services specialize in international transactions and offer better exchange rates and smaller fees than the bank.

A .01 difference in the exchange rate may seem insignificant. However, when applied over large sums of money the difference can mean big savings or losses for business owners.

Do Your Homework and Conduct Thorough Market Research

The International market comes with a lot of promise for innovators. But many entrepreneurs don’t know the best way to leverage the potential of global markets.

Less than 25% of global business ventures are successful. Many American business people don’t take the necessary time to deeply understand a different culture and market.

Relationship building is a vital part of any international business plan. Entrepreneurs need to intimately understand cultural implications.

Get to know your new partners and employees outside of business.

Your success as an international business will depend on the depth of your market research. Thorough market research is necessary for successful entry into a global market.

A different culture will react differently to your product or service than your American consumer base. This means tailoring your marketing and business plan to meet the specific needs of your new customer.

While market research is used in domestic business, its importance amplifies on an international scale – the smallest details have big implications.

You need to be able to navigate the landscape of cross-cultural communication. The Department of Commerce is a great resource for gathering information on foreign markets.

There is no shortage of markets. The entrepreneur has the globe as their oyster.

However, an abundance of opportunities comes with its own challenges. The entrepreneur has the important task of properly identifying the most promising market(s) to enter and managing the associated cultural and financial landscape.

Global success requires preparation, research, and relationship building – an intimate relationship with another culture.

Managing costs and conducting market research are key strategies that can help small businesses smoothly enter a foreign market.