How to Expand Your Business Internationally

Expanding your business internationally is a significant undertaking. You need to understand how it could disrupt your existing business activities and weigh up if there is more to gain than lose.

Stakeholders across the business need to take on more responsibility to continue executing daily activities as well as those related to the expansion. For expansion to be successful, you need a deep understanding of targeted markets, your competition, and what’s needed to launch and drive growth.

1. Perform due diligence

You need to fully understand the impact going global will have on your business. This means doing a market segmentation analysis to find out if your product will sell in the local market. Is there a demand that can’t be filled by a local company? How does your product compare with local products in terms of price etc.? What is the size of the market?

2. Develop a strategy and business plan

Cultural, economic and political circumstances affect local markets. You need to develop a localized strategy – both online and offline, and business plan, although it still needs to be part of your overall business strategy and objectives.

You need to set reasonable short, medium and long-term goals to measure your progress. Decide whether you need to set up a branch, a sales office or a separate company to achieve these goals. You need to develop an annual budget and a tactical project plan.

3. Make sure you’re prepared legally

Strong legal processes must be in place to minimize unnecessary risks. Government agencies usually have strict requirements that legal documents are in place before you start operating in a country. Create localized commercial agreements, review regulations and obtain any certificates you need.

Prepare for immigration, customs and shipping. Make use of local agents to get passports expedited. For example, a passport agent in Franklin County can get a passport expedited in as little as 24 hours.

4. Put the right management team in place

Trying to quickly build a local team from scratch or launching with executives from the parent company is not the best idea. Rather outsource interim leadership to executive leadership organizations or use interim executives with local expertise while you look for the right senior management team.

This allows you to hit the ground running and drive key readiness initiatives while you’re looking for the right people for your team.

5. Ensure your products are ready

Take steps to make sure your products are ready to make the highest impact. Make sure that you’re complying with government and industry-specific regulations. Pay attention to the local translation of the name of your product and whether any localization of your products is needed.

Start testing and quality assurance reviews based on local standards. Consider who will sell your products and start setting up distribution networks and local influencers on social media.

6. Prepare your organizational operations

Implementation of your policies and procedures must satisfy local requirements. Compensation packages should be based on local standards and be competitive. Benefits should be designed to attract qualified local employees.

Find out whether your information technology infrastructure will work in local conditions. Think about outsourcing human resources and payroll functions. Make sure proper tax and finance infrastructures are in place to comply with local policies and procedures.

7. Create a supportive ecosystem

A supporting ecosystem of complementary services and products through third-party relationships can offer a competitive advantage. These relationships can support the scaling of your business while minimizing your financial risks.

Expanding a business overseas is a complex affair that’s not for the fainthearted but it can offer greater opportunities for growth. By paying close attention to all the details and outsourcing certain administrative functions, your business expansion can offer great results.