For many businesses, their only option for continued expansion is growth overseas. But growth overseas brings with it a whole new set of challenges, not least the language barrier. This means that you need to know a thing or two about refocusing your enterprise before taking it to the global stage.
Choose Your Market Carefully
If you are expanding your business overseas, your target market will be different from your market at home. This means that before you start expanding, you need to do some market research first. The new market will probably have new rules about how your business can operate. And it may also speak a different language, requiring the use of a translation company.
Check In With Distributors
Companies expanding overseas use agents known as distributors. These are the people who actually do the job of selling your product in the foreign market. Many businesses find that using distributors is a better strategy than doing it themselves. This is because they know the local market better. But keeping dealers in check can be tricky, especially given the distances involved. Make sure that you check in with distributors at least once a month. And ensure that they can keep you up to date with KPIs. If they can’t, consider replacing them.
Be Very Careful At The Contract Stage
When you sell overseas, you want your distributor to represent you faithfully. But the problem is that distributors often represent many companies. And that can mean that your product isn’t prioritised in the way you would like it to be. It’s important, therefore, at the contract stage, to make sure the distributor acts in your best interest. Bake into the contract a clause that says that they cannot sell your competitor’s products. And, if necessary, get a lawyer to look over the contract to make sure it is binding in the foreign market.
Think About How You’ll Provide Product Support
There are a couple of significant issues that come up time and time again when it comes to product support. The first is the difference in time zones. Peak support times in your target market could be during the middle of the night in your home country. The second is the language barrier. Overseas customers will want technical support in their mother tongue. Working through support issues is difficult. Often companies expanding into foreign markets don’t have the resources to provide complete coverage. But there are a couple of things that they can do. One is to have their documentation translated into local different local languages. And two, they can outsource technical support to a third party in a different time zone.
Tap Into Existing Knowledge
Right now, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there about how best to expand your business. A lot of people have done it before with success and have experiences they’re willing to share. You can consult with people on social media sites, like LinkedIn. Or you can hire consultants who specialise in international business.