Opportunities abound for companies expanding into new markets around the globe. These range from increased profits to greater brand dominance. Before you head off, however, it’s important to make sure your tech supports your growth. Depending on where you’re expanding to, this may mean hiring the best IT managed services in Melbourne or setting up a cloud-based disaster recovery service in San Francisco.
Wherever it is that you’ve set your sights on, let’s look at five tips to make the transition smoother.
1. Know your market
One of the challenges of expanding globally is that the market and customer base change dramatically. To thrive in a new environment, it’s vital to analyze the market beforehand. That means understanding the demographics, geography, and buying behavior of potential customers in a particular region.
After that, research local competitors to see how feasible it is for your business to succeed in that market. Then, send in a beachhead team to test the local market and gauge customer response.
2. Learn and follow the regulations
To make sure your business avoids any scandals and setbacks, it’s important to become familiar with a region’s regulations. In particular, their banking and legal regulations.
Having good relationships with local banks can help you navigate some of the complexities of doing business abroad. For example, currency conversion can be a tricky issue. If you plan on moving profits from a foreign country to your home country, that may come with a hefty fee and corporate taxes that end up reducing your profitability. Local banks can advise you on your best options.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware of legal regulations. Your own legal team and local legal experts can help you better understand the general business regulations as well as industry regulations.
3. Learn local etiquette
What works in your home market doesn’t always adapt well in a foreign market. This applies to both ad campaigns and daily behavior. For example, some marketing campaigns that hit well back home may be offensive abroad. That will quickly alienate potential customers and lower your chances of success.
Hand gestures are also important to pay attention to and readjust because they’re far from universal. A simple “thumbs up” or “come here” gesture may be innocuous at home, but it may be highly offensive abroad – especially in Bangladesh and other Asian countries.
Learning local etiquette can help you avoid making any mistakes.
4. Adjust your speed
Business in the US and other western countries tends to move quickly. Businesspeople like to get in, strike deals, get out, and move on. Being efficient is the name of the game.
That’s not how things work in other regions, however. Some countries prefer a slower and more personal business experience that may involve a long period of getting to know and trust each other. This means lots of meals and tangential chats not directly related to business.
Although this may take longer – and be frustrating for those used to getting in and out – it can result in long-term business partnerships based on a great deal of trust. In short, adjust your speed to the local market.
5. Research product names
Similar to body language, spoken and written language don’t always translate well. This is a problem for brands that want to spread their slogans and product names to new regions. For example, when Mercedes-Benz first sold cars in China, they rebranded as “Bensi.” Unfortunately, that translates as “rush to die” in Chinese. Unsurprisingly, they rushed to change the name.
Keep these five tips above in mind, and you’ll be on your way to a smoother global expansion.