Whether you’re starting a business on an international scale or expanding your existing business to include foreign markets, doing business globally presents some situations you ordinarily won’t face domestically. Use the following four strategies to penetrate overseas markets and share your business plan internationally.
Examine Data to Select a Flagship Product or Service
Learning how to do business globally can take time, so don’t feel overwhelmed. Even if your product line includes dozens of items, start with a single flagship product or service in an overseas market. Global TradeSource Ltd. founder Laurel Delaney advises business owners to “narrow it down, keep it simple, and choose a product or service that sells.”
Review any domestic data you’ve collected about your products and services, such as sales reports and customer feedback, and research your target market. Look for a gap to fill. If you can offer a product or service that a particular market can’t access now, you’ll gain a larger potential customer base.
Seek Effective Ways to Communicate
Language barriers can make doing business globally more challenging. Consider visiting a country before you attempt to expand into the market. Marc David Miller, managing director for Discovering Eurasia, recommends hiring a translator to go with you.
You might also benefit from Skype as a communication tool. In 2015, the video-chat and voice-call firm introduced translation functionality for desktop users. When you communicate by voice or text, the system translates your speech so you avoid miscommunications.
Find a Global Payment Option
Before expanding overseas, you need a way to send and receive money that won’t deplete your financial reserves or put your business at risk. When you start global transaction using a money transfer service, you’ll immediately see the transaction fee and exchange rate. The lack of hidden fees makes budgeting your expenses while you expand into foreign markets easier.
Keep detailed financial records for all international payments. If you operate domestically as well, consider maintaining separate financial documents and a general ledger. Work with an accountant who has experience in international finance so you can receive practical advice.
Learn Local Customs
Customs for social and professional interactions vary from one country to another. In Japan, for example, professionals treat business cards with far more reverence than they do in the United States. Japanese business professionals also value silence over small talk and take offense to high-pressure sales tactics.
Businesses and customers in other countries understand that you might not know all of their customs. If you learn about them, however, you show a high level of respect, and you might put your business in a better place to gain momentum in a particular market. Consider consulting a business etiquette expert in your target country before you travel there.
Expanding your business into foreign markets creates more opportunities to generate revenue and increase the reach of your products and services. The more you understand about doing business globally, the easier you will be able to conduct yourself and your business well overseas.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who enjoys writing about a variety of topics, business and technology being a couple of them. You can follow JT on Twitter @JTRipton.