It’s time to go global and be a stellar presence on the international stage, but how do you get there and what’s at stake throughout the process? Expanding your international platform as an entrepreneur or startup small business requires passion, heart, due diligence, numerous sweat hours, and proper networking. It might even be time to hire an influencer in the social media sphere who works nonstop to develop a following, the possibilities are endless.
To go global means to jump on board with the worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. This concept can be traced as far back as the Roman Empire. Their philosophy and road to success stemmed from the belief that they held an empire without end in space and time.
The Roman geographical vision stretched to modern Scotland in the north, to Ethiopia in the south, and had the Atlantic Ocean providing the western horizon. Looking east, however, matters were more complicated–there was knowledge of other kingdoms beyond the Parthian Empire on Rome’s borders. Yet finds of Roman coins in both India and China show Roman contact even with these distant peoples. These records also describe a key element of the Roman Empire: its mobility.
Fast forward to the 21st century and we find ourselves with the pace of globalized trade, outsourcing, and supply-chaining has been speeding up. It’s impact on business organizations and business practices continue to grow leaps and bounds. For the small and emerging business however, going global is a significant undertaking that could prove to be disruptive to overall current business activities.
Therefore, it is vital that CEOs and business leaders understand the full range of globalization and whether or not the rewards outweigh the risks. When taking a small business out into the world it’s a complex and dynamic process. Laying an important foundation of target market expansion, the competition, local market trends, and the requirements for a successful launch in order to drive growth all play key roles in expanding onto the international scene.
Deep Dive Into Your Purpose
There’s a plethora of tactics needed prior to taking your business global and understanding what the full impact will entail. First off, you’ll need to prepare a market analysis to determine whether what you’re local consumers are interested in and will buy. Next up is to figure out your competition. If you’re selling a product, explore whether it’s a product that’s marketable and if it’s worth putting out there.
How big is the market and how long will it take to capture your targeted audience, and turn inquisitions into sales? This goes for the necessary website traffic that drives engagement, search engine optimization tools, creative content strategies, and otherwise investigative product gap analysis to check out whether there is a demand for your services or product that isn’t satisfied by a local company.
When you deep dive into your purpose the key steps to expanding your global presence become almost a no-brainer.
Develop a Business Plan
As simple as this sounds to perform, strategizing–either with a team, or–on your own time can leave your head spinning. Take it all in stride by initially defining short-, medium-, and long-term goals. By setting reasonable goals to track progress and measure the cost and benefits of international business, you’ll decrease any forewarned headaches.
Have committed dates for your business plan, develop an annual budget and stick to it, define objective and success metrics, and above all, complete the business model and structure. Leave yourself some wiggle room, too, as being open and willing to change the original plan based on feedback from local consumers allows you plenty of time to make adjustments before hitting the global market.
Assemble a Rough-and-Ready Team
Getting a team on board with your global market vision can be time consuming, maybe even risky, and could slow the time between readiness and to market presence. Let’s say you already work with developers, strategists, coders, designers, writers, and engineers. Why not have this rough-and-ready team you know so well be part of your globalization efforts?
Since organizations take immense amounts of grassroots efforts to be prominent on the local scene, it would behoove small businesses or entrepreneurs to go with what they know. These team members have been in the trenches with you and are excited to get to the next level. However, there are some extra players that will need to be added to the already existing team in order to bring your product or service to international fruition.
If hiring social media influencers isn’t in the budget, it’s probably a good time to invest the energy into their expertise at securing an audience. These folks know how to get the word out in no time flat. An influencer uses their popularity across generational platforms and mediums–whether through podcasts, blogging, widespread social media engagement posts–and create a sensation.
Also think about having interim managers who thrive on globalization skills and efforts. They can join the team for the preliminary launch planning and marketing strategies, and either exit thereafter, or stay on board indefinitely. Having an outsourced marketing service is a boon to the existing team, mainly because senior interim executives have deep domain expertise.
Product, Organizational, and Legal Readiness
The three biggies when it comes to preparation for international launch. Because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all during globalization efforts, having a mindset that takes into account cultural differences–whether language, regulations, or customs–requires businesses to be flexible in the policies and procedures implemented in an international operation to ensure employees are engaged and executing according to the company plan. Attracting qualified global people to work in harmony with your overall vision means having a competitive benefits program, an organized internal structure that’s free of conflicting viewpoints, and developing competitive compensation packages based on the international standards and customs.
Remember that some countries are known for being highly litigious, so it’s also critical to use strong legal processes that are put into place to minimize unnecessary commercial risks. Finally, as the product or service is ready to go, initiate a testing and review board based on the local standards of each country. Along with this, it’s a good idea to initiate a patent and trademark review board too, as some countries are known for copying great ideas.
Establishing a close rapport with businesses overseas helps to gain a strong competitive advantage by creating a supporting ecosystem of complementary products and services. These built-up global relationships can support the scaling of the organization while minimizing the financial risk. If anything, expanding your business internationally isn’t for the weak.
By paying attention to details and outsourcing specific roles to those who can help in both administrative functions and social networking can ultimately produce great results. Going global doesn’t have to be so daunting if the preparation, the opportunity, and the heart are in the right place.