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If you are looking to expand your business on an international scale, here are five steps for successful international expansion.
Step 1 – Understand the Laws and Regulations
Before attempting to answer the question of how to take your business global, you need to know how international trade laws affect your ability to do business in the country you want to expand into. Think about tariffs, taxes, and rules for getting your products or equipment through customs. If you plan on eventually opening a production branch in the new country, consider what type of regulations you need to meet before you can do so.
Step 2 – Learn About the People
The people you interact with in a foreign market will do much more than buy from you; they will be your partners, your regulators, and your brand advocates. For this reason, you must understand the cultural values and beliefs that are most prevalent in the place where you are globalizing. Spending time in the country will help you tremendously, but you can also read up on prominent religions, historical figures, and other important cultural elements that will help you get acquainted with an unfamiliar market. You can also depend on the help of your localization partner to consult and advise on cultural issues.
Step 3 – Assign Responsibilities Within Your Organization
When considering how to take your business global, it is important that you have a structure in place that sets out guidelines about who will be responsible for your globalization efforts. You may think about creating an entirely new team or department to handle this undertaking, but remember that this may require hiring some new staff.
Step 4 – Build a Local Network
You must make sure that you are establishing a strong network in the place where you are expanding. Form relationships with as many people and organizations as possible; even if you don’t think they can help you with globalization, you never know who they might know or be able to put you in contact with. You will also need assistance building up your brand awareness and attracting attention in your new location, and people who already live there will be much better at this task than you will be initially.
Step 5 – Train your Team
While the people who will be directly implementing your globalization efforts need to have a good understanding of both your company goals and the new country you are entering, it is also wise to have your entire organization up to speed on your globalization efforts. The more familiar your company as a whole is with a foreign market, the better your business will perform; this new familiarity may even help with relations back home with domestic partners and clients.
If you can work through these five steps and gain a sufficient understanding of the foreign markets you plan to enter, going global will not be as big of a challenge as you might think.
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