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How to prepare your business for international expansion

How to prepare your business for international expansion

Most business owners – the ones who successfully navigate the challenges of the first five years – are always looking for ways to expand their company and maximise profit. This can involve moving to a bigger premises, opening more branches across the country, or moving into new fields of work. If you are finding secure success within the market in your own patch, one option for company growth is to expand overseas. 

International expansion can be a complex task as this involves entering a new legal system and operating in an unfamiliar culture, so it is well worth getting professional advice on strategies for international business growth before launching your product abroad. If you plan carefully, there are all sorts of benefits to international expansion that you can continue to reap for years to come, from a broader client base to greater security. Explore the key stages in preparing your business for international expansion.

Research new markets

For a start, you should carefully research any new market you are looking to move into. Different countries have vastly different cultures, with varying interests, motivations, priorities, and traditions. If you make a cultural mistake when expanding, it could ruin your prospects in that country. A common trend is companies coming unstuck due to language translation errors. For instance, when HSBC expanded internationally, one of its American slogans of “assume nothing” translated in many places to “do nothing.” This damaged business and the bank had to find a new tagline. To avoid this, you should research carefully to make sure you understand all aspects of the country’s culture.

Adjust marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy will be key when you look to raise your brand’s profile internationally. Be prepared that what works at home might not work abroad and ensure that your strategy is adaptable to the new culture. Look at your competitors to see what works well with this market and learn from their past mistakes rather than repeating them. Check that your product is suited to your new target audience, making any necessary changes before you launch overseas. 

Hire local experts

Advice from within the country you are expanding into is essential. Local experts can give you insights into any elements of the culture that could affect your operations such as the country’s traditions, beliefs, lifestyle aspects, and political climate. Speaking to a local will better help you to understand the culture of the new country more quickly.  Make sure that your company is well-represented in your new target region, whether with business ambassadors or by opening a fully-fledged office or outlet with local staff. 

Keep it legal

Last but certainly not least – do not forget the legal ramifications of expanding abroad. Whichever part of the world you are expanding into, there will be new laws and regulations to be aware of. Instead of making a costly mistake, do your legal research beforehand. By putting into place all the correct processes before you expand, you should be all set for a smooth arrival in your new country. Examining foreign law can be difficult, so make sure your team has time to carry out the work effectively. 

Expanding overseas can take your business to the next level. Take time to thoroughly complete your preparations and you should assimilate seamlessly into the new market.

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