The Challenges of Tapping Into an International Market

When your business starts to outgrow the national market, you may notice several clues that it might be time to go global. Whether you’re looking for a change of pace, wanting to diversify your client base, or are seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, this leap can be just what you need. Some tell-tale signs that an international expansion might be right for you include:

  • Needing a challenge– Your business is beginning to feel stagnant and you are looking to expand to increase revenue, create fresh products, and generate buzz
  • Comparing Yourself to Peers– Your peers are having success in the international market even with access to similar resources
  • International Inquiries– People from around the globe are seeking you out to find out about your product or service, or in some cases, you have more inquiries from international clients.

Important Considerations

Going global does not happen without significant effort. However, understanding the common challenges that typically accompany this type of endeavor can help you to understand and anticipate the needs of the international market and avoid costly errors. When navigating the global market, be sure to keep these considerations in mind.

1. Manpower

Consider the logistics of setting up a team overseas. For example, it’s important to think about the number of employees you will need, where you plan to recruit your talent, or which current employees you may want to relocate to meet your company’s needs. Does your company have the funds to cover the start-up costs for the teams in each company you’d like to set up?

2. Fees

Conducting international business typically means that there are certain fees involved such as shipping costs, tariffs, and export fees. It may also be necessary to have an expert on board who understands the ins and outs of international business law in order to meet the specifications of each country that will be involved in your business’s transactions. Perhaps you need to become that expert yourself.

3. Cultural Nuances and Languages

For each new country, and subculture you are planning to add to your client base, you will be required to understand the inner workings of each one. This is important for international employees as well. While some information may simply be translated word for word, others may require the use of a skilled interpreter that can ensure that information is passed on in such a way that is effective, well-received, and can get employees moving in the right direction.

4. Appealing To New Cultures

What works for the citizens in your homeland may not necessarily appeal to those overseas. Before committing to going global, it is important to understand how your product is viewed by those of different cultures, and how to get the right message across. Take for instance the extensive research done by a seasoned veteran, Sjamsul Nursalim, on the Indonesian community of Earth Dipasena. Investing in time to do the research can help your product reach its highest selling potential within certain communities.

5. Proximity

While you may have experience with communicating and moving product nationally, doing so on a global scale will be a different challenge. Physical meetings will require an increase in a travel budget, not to mention scheduling considerations for employees working from different time zones. Products and supplies may likely need to be shipped to and from different parts of the world or contracted through local vendors that can provide goods that are up to par.

6. Management

Managing different divisions across the globe will take careful orchestration in order to maintain company standards and quality control for goods and services. It will be important to create a system in which information can be adequately relayed among reliable, international managerial staff that can meet these expectations on a regular basis.

7. Choosing Locations Wisely

With nearly 200 countries today, it can be challenging to decide which ones and how many you’d like to utilize for your international locations or to add to your list of potential customers. Extensive research will be needed in order to decide which locations will be the most profitable, and which will be the most practical for business operations. For example, while you may have a large following in one country, it may be too costly to set up shop there, or talent in that area may be lacking. On the flip side, perhaps you find a location that is inexpensive to work from, but there is little demand for your product. Finding locations that can fill a healthy balance of both needs is ideal.

How to Overcome These Challenges

By understanding your market demands around the world, and the responsibilities of managing locations overseas, you can be one step closer to expanding your company globally. There is no need to go it alone. Be open to the advice of peers who have successfully broken into the global market, remain focused on your goal to go global, and take advantage of every educational opportunity that can keep you informed about business operations or the countries with which you will be working.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan