It’s time to expand abroad. You’re going to open locations in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Australia. You might even see about a few shops in Africa. Nothing is going to stop you. You are on top of your game and every gamble you take pays off. You can’t lose! Okay, slow down, tiger. Your ambition is commendable, and nothing in this post is meant to discourage you from pursuing your dreams. You can expand abroad. You just need to do it wisely to ensure success. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Rather, follow these five tips to make certain your global takeover is a huge success.
1. Conduct Demographic Research
As with your national expansion, you must conduct comprehensive market research before you attempt to infiltrate a foreign consumer base. For example, imagine you sell stuffed animals. They are the cutest stuffed animals on the market, and they are extremely popular in U.S. toy stores. Will these toys do better in Europe or Asia? On the surface, it would appear that your target demographic should be Asia, particularly Japan, where even the adults are obsessed with all things cute. This being said, it behooves to really research your product and where it will sell throughout the world. Understand each nation’s consumer base and what inspires them to whip out the cash or credit card. Be thorough in your demographic studies to determine where your U.S. goods will perform best.
2. Understand Each Culture
This research goes beyond people in Japan buy stuffed animals by the ton. You must also learn about the culture in each country. Your product must appeal to each nation, just as it must appeal to your customer base in the States. Your stuffed General Robert E. Lee teddy bears sell much better in the southern states than they do on the West Coast. There’s a reason for that. Those who do not have an appreciation for General Lee might find these teddy bears offensive. The same holds true for foreign lands. Everything from the product to its packaging and marketing must appeal to each individual culture. You wouldn’t market your stuffed animals in Japan by saying they’re the bomb. Understand, really understand, each culture before you tap into its market.
3. Learn the Laws of the Land
As important as knowing and appreciating each culture, you must also learn the laws of each land. Can you export your good into the country? Can you open a business in that country? What are its business, building, and labor laws? What are its manufacturing and environmental laws? These are just a sample of the numerous questions you must ask before you put a pushpin on the global map in your office to designate a new location. Learn all there is to know about opening and running a business in every foreign country you consider in your expansion plan. Failure to do so could result in a huge mess, including possible legal ramifications. Talk with others who have expanded into each country. Find out what they learned and how the expansion went. Don’t go into this blindly at all.
4. Tap Into the Perks
As Hollywood has discovered much to the city’s dismay, filming elsewhere comes with tremendous perks. The same holds true in business. Many foreign nations offer perks to attract overseas business. They want you to open a location in their country. For example, Indonesian business magnate Sjamsul Nursalim recently expanded his business investments into Singapore. With a booming economy spurning real estate expansion, Nursalim has begun to invest in commercial real estate. No doubt, Singapore offered Nursalim benefits of doing so, and you will find other nations ready, willing, and able to offer you perks for your business. The only caveat is to ensure these perks do not violate U.S. tax laws, as some of them do. Do your homework and take advantage of the legal foreign benefits.
5. Make Certain You Can Really Afford It
Finally, you cannot expand if you cannot afford, and this goes beyond the money it will take to open a new location abroad. Your business financials and personal and business credit must be stellar, and you must be able to cover the expansion costs without cutting into your bottom line severely. You can seek out investments into your expansion, including from customers excited about your brand and willing to contribute to it, but you must also take into account your new location will not turn a profit right away. Make certain you have enough capital to cover the expenses of the new location until it brings in its own money. This means you need a huge financial buffer, so don’t expand if you don’t have it.
Stay true to your dreams and keep moving forward with that undeniable ambition. Don’t slow down due to fear. Rather, follow the above tips and advice from others in your niche who have expanded abroad and plan out a smart overseas outreach. Take over the world one location at a time.