If you are a small business owner, you may predominantly focus on growing your company at home, but it’s important to remember that the majority of consumers will live far and wide. If you are in the US, you could be missing out on much bigger markets if you don’t grow. This is why if you want to start a business that goes global, there are some very important things to consider before you dive in.
Protecting Your Technological Resources
Technology is such an important part of your business and technology will prove pivotal to how you collaborate and communicate. Everybody is now fully on board with Zoom because they had no choice over the last 20 months! This means that technology is not the burden it once was in terms of our attitudes towards it.
And if you want to become more global, you’ve got to start operating with the right technological components. While technology will help you to keep track of your paperwork and stay on top of crucial tasks, there are other key areas that you may not be aware of as being pivotal for expanding overseas. A very good example is a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) number which is an identification number for legal entities when they want to take part in any financial transactions across the international markets.
Because when you are using the right tech and are communicating with a far more global reach, you’ve got to be aware of the global impacts of what you are doing. Technology will help keep everything in place.
Preparing Your Ascent
You’ve always got to remember that when you are conducting a business at home, you have an inherent knowledge of your market, in terms of location, but the cultural touchstones too. When you are taking your business overseas, you’ve got to determine if there is a certain interest in your product.
Because if there are other businesses that are doing what you do better, you don’t have to call it quits but you’ve got to figure out what you can do differently. You need to avoid moving into a market that has already been saturated but this is where embracing your uniqueness can make a massive difference.
Conducting relevant market research into locales that could do with your product or service could make a massive difference, but you have to consider the way you communicate your service. Because there’s a little barrier between you and other countries…
Be Aware of the Cultural and Language Barriers
These are the biggest challenges of expanding your business overseas. You may want to focus on markets that only speak English, but even then, you’ve still got a communication barrier with regards to the cultural fit.
And this is not just in terms of communicating with customers; if you find yourself hiring people or outsourcing to people from those areas, you’ve got a bridge between yourself and the customer, but you will still need to communicate yourself effectively to your employees. Communication is crucial but also understanding the potential barriers that can hinder your ability to do business there needs to be considered.
Being Aware of International Business Principles
When you run a business at home, you are running a very domestic corporation with limited barriers. When you start to expand you need to expand your business principles. From the cultural to language barriers, but also the legal rules of regulations can cause significant mistakes that will be detrimental to your business if you do not go about it appropriately.
One of the best ways to avoid any potential pitfalls is to work with a mentor. A mentor can help you in many ways because they’ve already been in your shoes and they will be able to provide insights into how you can do things better.
Having the Right Resources in Place from the Very Beginning
Many entrepreneurs experience teething problems when running a home-grown business. When you are expanding worldwide, you can run into additional issues because of the sheer scale of the project. Having all of the relevant resources in place from the very start will avoid these teething issues.
For example, if you encounter an unreliable shipping supplier and you don’t have an alternative, this has a detrimental effect on the customer, meaning you will have lost their custom, perhaps forever. Planning for all relevant contingencies and having the appropriate solutions in place before you encounter a problem we’ll make a massive difference to how you approach the project and deal with issues. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Understand How You Best Build Relationships
Networking is a fundamental component of doing business, and in terms of international business, you can find networking to be a bigger task. You have to be acutely aware of how you present yourself while also making sure that you are respectful to other entrepreneurs from the respective cultures.
Additionally, the act of building relationships may seem easier because many people are conducting business online but depending on the nature of your work you will have to start traveling. While now is not an ideal time to travel, meaning that you can get by with building relationships online, you’ve got to be aware that if you start to build new relationships with clients long after the pandemic has lifted you will very likely have to start traveling. This means you may have to attend domestic trade shows that will attract foreign contacts.
This can be a very fun part of building your business, but it can also mean a lot of miles clocked on the road, which can be difficult for working parents. But you are in an advantageous position now as far as networking is concerned because it needs to be conducted online. That being said, you will need to make sure that you have a working environment that is conducive to effective relationship building. This means having a solid internet connection, and if you are a working parent, peace and quiet!
Going global may feel like you only get one shot. But as a small business, you won’t have the opportunity to take advantage of every little thing that comes your way. But this is why running a small business is an excellent discipline. So many entrepreneurs think that they need to go big or go home. But the reality is that you are better off focusing limited resources on markets that will provide a better customer base or are more cost-effective. You have to stay focused on your goal.
While it may be tempting to chase every opportunity if you are starting from a small business where it is just yourself, and you’ve got to accept that even you have limitations. When you remain focused on one goal, this stops you from multitasking, which will increase your focus and productivity.
Learning how to start a business is an exciting opportunity, and when you start to expand a business on an international scale, this can result in increased profits arising from major growth. But it’s important to remember that starting from a small domestic point of view is going to help you when you are on the larger stage.
You have learned the hard way how to conduct yourself and accepted certain limitations. The reality is that these limitations are still there. When you start to expand, there will be a time where you can get extra help, but it’s at this important stage where you are still limited in resources that you’ve got to stay disciplined. This will serve you in good stead.