There are many benefits to expanding a business beyond your country border. Going global is usually a worthy endeavour, but it does bring with it some challenges. If you are interested in taking your business global, it is crucial you have a plan in place to address some of the main hurdles you will need to overcome to succeed.
We’ve outlined 5 main challenges for companies going global that will help prepare you for global expansion.
This is perhaps the most obvious challenge to entering a foreign market, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. Not being able to speak the language will limit your ability to do everything from understanding how to operate in the country and getting set up to recruiting staff and attracting customers. It can be a massive headache.
It’s highly advisable to hire a consultant native to the country you’re planning on launching in, as well as on-the-ground fixers to help you with logistics. Adding someone to your team in the UK who speaks the language is another great idea. Even if you are expanding into an English speaking country, such as the States or Australia, there will be differences in the way things are done or communicated that make it wise to have locals on board.
Not only are other countries located in different time zones, potential global clients’ working habits are far different depending the country. For example, Germany restricts employees to working no more than 37.5 hours per week. They also take the entire month of August off for vacation. So, you will have to plan inventory needs accordingly.
Communication can be a challenge in any type of business. But when you are a globally competitive company, language barriers and technology differences can be a recipe for failure. Your offices may have the latest inventory management and accounting systems, while your overseas counterparts may have slower systems or perhaps questionable electricity. When facets of your company use disparate systems that don’t communicate with each other, your bookkeeping slows down, and orders slow or simply come to a halt.
Are you familiar with the buying process in the country that you wish to expand into? Learning the best way to reach your prospective customers is an important element of taking your business global. This will allow you to establish the kind of customer base that is necessary to be successful with globalization in the long term. One key ingredient to successful global marketing is transcreation. Transcreation will allow you to adapt your marketing content to a new foreign market.
Most countries have some type of tariff or fee that is charged to companies bringing goods into their country. You need to know about these tariffs so you can incorporate them into the financial planning element of your globalization plans. Also remember the legal side of globalization: you may have to pay different kinds of fees depending on the shipping and logistics laws in place in that specific country.
If growing a business internationally was easy, everybody would be doing it. However, thorough due diligence at the outset can ensure you are prepared for the challenges of launching overseas. Look closely at your organisational data to decide whether you’re ready for the transition, study customer insights to learn your USPs and core audiences and interrogate market reports to understand both the risks and opportunities new locations present.
Don’t go to market without input from natives, utilising both on-the-ground experts to help get you established and feedback from your target audience to shape and localise your offering. At the same time, don’t forget in your efforts to go global, the values and characteristics that define you. Keep these at your core and stay true to your brand vision, at home or away.