While the notion of expanding your business overseas was once exclusive to large ventures and corporations, it’s now a far more accessible objective. In fact, an estimated 58% of small businesses in the U.S. currently have international customers, while a further 72% plan to grow their global consumer base in the months ahead.
There’s no doubt that this represents a sound ambition for businesses, who can create new revenue streams and more sustainable growth by expanding overseas. After all, the geopolitical climate is constantly changing, and it’s important to access as many separate markets as possible.
However, if you want to expand your venture overseas, you’ll need to approach this from a strategic perspective. Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Seek Out Viable Funding For Your Expansion
In an ideal world, you’d fund your expansion by scaling the business gradually and leveraging hard-earned profits. However, you may not always have this luxury, while there may be other instances in which you’ll need to act quickly in order to capitalize on a global market opportunity.
If you do require investment, you should consider asset financing. With this funding vehicle, you can leverage your brand’s existing status while also gaining access to some much-needed equipment.
To secure this financing, you’ll need to create a precise and detailed international business plan and one that presents the readiness of your concept in relation to the global marketplace. This can also include a provision for corporate asset recovery, which may prove to be a source of revenue and increased cash flow over time.
2. Conduct Foreign Market Research
The term ‘international’ is a vague one, and it’s important to identify specific overseas markets as part of your plan. Not only is this central to a viable growth plan, but it also helps you to tailor your approach to each individual market and achieve the best possible results.
More specifically, this enables you to conduct targeted market research with a single region in mind, as you look to make informed decisions and optimize the marketing spend at your disposal.
If you’re looking to get started, we recommend checking out the Department of Commerce, as this remains an outstanding and independent resource of data on various foreign marketplaces.
3. Understand The Vagaries Of Exporting
When selling your products or services overseas, you’re essentially exporting into a new and overseas market. While this is exciting and potentially lucrative, it’s also complex and capable of throwing up several challenges to your venture.
It’s important that your businesses IP (or intellectual property) is safeguarded in any market that you look to exploit, as protection must be applied for in different regions. You’ll also need to negotiate and deals and arrange distribution overseas, all while adhering to the social, cultural and economic rules deployed by nations across the globe.
Pricing is also an important consideration, and one that can cause a significant issue for business owners. After all, you’ll need to ensure that your products are priced in a way that suits the local market, while also maintaining a viable profit margin that can sustain your venture.
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