Expand Your Business Offshore with These Simple Tips
By Dan Radak
Once a good idea is transformed into a thriving business, it's only natural to start things about ways to expand your operations to completely new, previously unreached audiences. Living in the digital era makes communication and project-coordination with individuals who live on the other side of the world might be easy, but international expansion it's far from being a simple matter. You have to deal with a completely different consumer culture, different languages, customs, laws, regulations, and mindsets than what you're used to, which makes the transition into a new market that more difficult. Here are five tips to help make that transition easier and more efficient.
Do your research on the target market
Every successful business has started off doing the exact same thing: researching their market. While the current business tools make market research easier than ever before, doing an international research is far cry from the research you would perform in your home country. Considering the cultural barriers between different nations, it's safe to say that some products and services that have proven to be best-sellers in one market might be completely inappropriate or even unnecessary in a different market. For example, selling kitchen utensils to a culture that predominantly relies on chopsticks is simply a mark of a poor business decision.
Consider getting local help
While it's perfectly feasible to establish and manage your company offshore, you cannot be absolutely certain that everything is running smoothly and efficiently while being thousands of miles away from it. Granted, technical advancements have made remote work and communication a breeze, but there are some aspects of running a company that requires being physically present in order to handle different situations that might arise. This is why successful business owners often send a person they completely trust to help them handle the company overseas or outsource local companies, with the latter being a far more effective and less effort-intensive option.
Go through local immigration laws and tax codes
The majority of immigration and tax laws are specific to the country you're operating from and although the United States tend to tax the worldwide income as a whole, other countries from around the world have a completely different approach in dealing with this matter. Relocating an entire company, including its employees is far from anyone's mind, but you might have to send a couple of team members and representatives to act as your offshore company's senior management and researching the exact laws regarding immigration and taxation will help you avoid any legal issues from occurring in the future.
Research your local competition
Transitioning into an already established foreign market means that your company will essentially be the underdog from the very start, regardless of the superiority of your products and services. Unfortunately, a lot of startups and small companies tend to overlook this fact and apply the same marketing strategies that they used back at home. Have in mind that you will be pitted against brands that have had decades to develop and a smart move would be to research your competition thoroughly and look into professional branding companies that can help you get the upper hand and gradually win over their customer bases.
Think your move carefully
International business expansion cannot be accomplished without an adequate research of the market and available competition, getting to know local laws and regulations and outsourcing local help. That said, without a dedicated marketing strategy tailored to your new market, complete with market-oriented goals and objectives, your business is likely to fall through the cracks and quickly get overrun by your competitors. Think your move carefully and take all the different aspects into consideration before fully committing to expanding your business internationally.