Spin the globe and you will find an opportunity to sell something, somewhere. The world is your market today. Taking your business global makes dollars and sense!
There are tremendous advantages of going global. You can extend the sale life of products and services by finding new markets and thus reduce your dependence on local markets. You can learn how to compete against foreign companies which will make you take your product offering to an entirely new level.
Before plunging in, you need to ask yourself some serious questions: Will your product sell in the targeted culture? Investment in market research should be the first step. Then you need to know if the market is familiar with your product or service. This will require consumer education about the product category. However, the chances are that if you have done the work of educating the consumer your company name will become synonymous with the product category. You also need to ask yourself if you would be comfortable operating in that country. You would need a working knowledge of the language, become familiar with the culture.
Start your new market entry by preparing an international business plan. Conduct market research in the targeted country and identify the prospective market for your product. Evaluate and select methods of distribution. For instance, should you set up a subsidiary or work with agents and representatives? Learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the’ legalise’ of exporting.
What about finance? Can you tap government or private sources for finance? How do you ensure that you will be paid?
Understanding another culture is a make-or-break matter for the exporter. Don’t just assume that the rest of the world does business the way you do. Build a relationship, create a climate of friendship and trust before you get down to business. Do your research and be aware of any possible pitfalls. A good tip is to bring your own interpreter so there is no bias in the interpretation and understanding of the transaction. You should be aware of body language. It says a lot about the person sitting opposite you even if you don’t understand a word he’s saying. Try not to stand out for the wrong reasons. Make sure you and your team dress appropriately with respect and authority.
When you enter a new market, you are testing the waters. It’s best not to make an investment in your own office space at this stage. There’s an attractive option—a virtual office. This allows you to work from anywhere but still have an operating office. You can use the address of the business center of which you have become a Virtual Office member on your stationery. The center receives telephone calls on your behalf and takes messages that are passed on to you. When you visit the center, you can use the lounge to meet your prospective clients and associates—and make an impression. A receptionist receives guests on your behalf. If you need to have a business meeting, you can use a conference or meeting room available at the center. Infrastructure and maintenance are taken care of. In fact, opting for a virtual office plan is the smart way to do business specially when you are starting out.
Getting an international business consultant on board will be well worth the investment. It will help avoid costly mistakes and help you be better prepared. You must believe in yourself and have a sense of adventure. So be as prepared as you can, then step out of your comfort zone into a whole new world.