Thanks to the internet, you no longer need to feel confined to your home country when marketing your business. If you are looking to expand your client base, look further than just your front door.
Look to the next country or even the next continent.
Global businesses are booming – if you are ready to expand your small business, take it internationally.
Before making the leap to international sales, you should first review the numbers. By 2022, over 20% of eCommerce will be done across borders.
The two biggest reasons for the growth in international shopping are
International shipping is no longer as expensive as it used to be, and people have greater access to goods from other countries.
If you have a small business, you should take advantage of this growth in international shopping and expand to a global market.
Here are 5 steps you should take to jumpstart your international growth.
Before making any large business changes, you need to check the market in your new area.
Some areas to check are individual country restrictions for trade, current competitors, and the demographics of your clientele and customers.
If you want to sell internationally, you need to make sure you have the appropriate paperwork filed. This is especially true if your business provides physical goods. Services and other virtual goods have a more lenient international trade policy.
Knowing what competitors in other markets are selling will help you know what works. You also can find a unique angle to market your own goods and services that make you stand out from your competitors.
Demographics are important to study no matter where you are selling. Just because a specific demographic wanted your product in your home country – does not mean that same demographic will be your clients and customers in another country.
The last thing you will want to do is offend your potential new market.
Before advertising to another country or culture, get to know the people and culture personally. You may even want to consider visiting the country in person.
If you know the culture, you can avoid embarrassing social mistakes that would drive away your customers.
One of the most complicated areas of selling internationally is going to be dealing with the exchange of money. You will be handling multiple currencies simultaneously.
Using a foreign currency account helps with the process of receiving and sending money with limited exchange fees.
If you are dealing with money from several countries, be sure to stay on top of the local tax laws for exchanging goods.
To make your international business run smoother, you may want to consider hiring internationally. Having international workers will give you unique insight into your global markets.
Remote workers make great employees because they can be counted as independent contractors (no tax paperwork for you!), they do not require you to rent out office space, and they work just as well as in-person employees according to the response of 95% of employers who hire remote workers.
Just because something worked in your current culture does not mean it will work in another culture. Be flexible with your business plan if you want to succeed internationally.
This may mean compromising and changing how you do business across borders.
One example of a failed overseas business is Groupon. While Groupon is massively popular in America, it failed miserably when it moved over to China.
The reason for this failure?
They did not change their business plan for the Chinese market.
If you want to succeed internationally, study the market you are selling to – then change your business plan to personally match each specific culture and cultural need.
“I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
Keeping your small business in a local market is comfortable. You are familiar with the people, culture, and demographics of your clients. Expanding to an overseas market can be daunting.
But no success comes without a little bit of risk – and a lot of discomforts. If you are constantly asking HOW to build on your current small business to make it better, start asking WHERE you can build your small business.
The world is your market – you just need the courage to explore it.Read more
Even if you are dedicated to running an honest and responsible business, it doesn’t mean that you’re never going to face up against legal trouble. Indeed, business law cases don’t always deal with the big, bad corporations. Small businesses can just as easily get tangled up in some legal hot water and the risk to them can be even greater. For that reason, here are a few ways to make sure you’re protected in such events.
You can’t be an expert in all parts of business law without the right training. However, you can make sure that you know the core of the legal obligations and requirements that you need to follow. Gaining an understanding of basic business law and making sure that the policies within the business meet them as best as possible is an effective way to reduce the chances of wrongdoing in the business. You might want to work with some experts, be they HR agencies or health and safety auditors to make sure that you’re covered in-depth, where you can be.
At some point, it becomes somewhat likely that you might have to make a payout if, for instance, someone has an accident on your premises. A slip and fall might be more expensive than you think, which is why it’s in your best interest to have it paid for through liability insurance through teams like Coverhound. Not only can you be forced to pay more than you would otherwise if it goes to court, but you will also have the legal fees to deal with.
Whether you’re creating policy to keep the business legally safe or you’re forming new contracts and business agreements, you should make sure that you’re legally protecting yourself as best as possible. As such, it pays to have legal counsel like Spodek Law Group just a phone call away. Furthermore, you should already have a business lawyer that you can reach out to should you get hit with any legal trouble so you can craft your defense strategy as soon and best as possible.
Protecting your business is one thing. However, if you fail to do enough to separate your personal life and business life, then any legal troubles and payouts your business has to face can result in personal hardship and debt as well. This is why setting your business up as an LLC, keeping separate bank accounts, and paying yourself a set wage can all help. It establishes the business as an identity that is more distinct and separate from you.
If you’re not able or willing to spend the time mustering the defenses as mentioned above, then you may need to look at preparing to put more money towards legal defenses in court. Of course, the costs of being taken to court go beyond just the financial, so it’s better to follow the tips mentioned here.Read more
The secret to good customer service isn't always creating a positive and welcoming environment. It's about understanding the needs of your clients and working to address those needs, which may mean that you should look into a good phone answering service. Customers are looking for someone that they can trust and that will treat them with respect. If you understand those needs, you'll be able to provide the level of service they're seeking. With these tips in mind, you will be able to know the secrets of the game, have a quality and engaging business, and keep yourself as well as your customers happy and consistently returning to you.Read more
Sadly, in this economic climate, many businesses are closing due to the effects of the pandemic and the strain this is placing on their business and income. In many sectors, it simply isn't viable to keep your business running, and rising costs mean that, unfortunately, many smaller businesses are being priced out of the market.Read more
Embarking on a journey to become a business owner is always challenging. There is no guarantee that you'll be successful and ready to deal with all the risks and obstacles that come along the way. However, the idea of starting a business from scratch can be motivating for new entrepreneurs and individuals who are working tedious nine to five desk jobs.
After all, having the freedom to decide your working hours, not having to report to your CEOs or Directors day-in and day-out, and the possibility of endless growth are three significant factors that entice individuals to start their own business.
These days, every rookie entrepreneur dreams of starting his or her own business. However, only 4 percent of startups manage to cross the ten-year mark. Furthermore, around half of newly-launched companies close up shop before crossing their fifth year.
Such a thing happens because new business owners have no idea about the amount of money, experience, and knowledge it takes to take their business to a level where it starts to break even or make profits.
That said, let us take a look at some of the factors you need to consider before you begin your journey of becoming a business owner.
As you can already guess, earning a business degree will equip you with the knowledge needed to understand the dynamics of the corporate world. Launching your own business or becoming a part of an already established one helps gather the experience you'll need for making big decisions.
However, it is nearly impossible to launch a business that continues its operations for a long time without the necessary business knowledge and skills. As mentioned above, not all companies will end up crossing the five-year mark.
This is because their owners usually lack business-specific skills and education. Earning an advanced degree like an online MBA no GMAT AACSB will help you understand business fundamentals and equip you with the skills needed to identify business opportunities.
That's not all; earning an online degree will also help you learn other business-related theories you'll find helpful for the corporate world. A Master's will put you in a commanding place to start your own business and find an excellent job if things go south.
Many experts and successful business owners agree that developing an effective business plan is the first step a prospective business owner should take to ensure the business idea they've envisioned becomes a reality. A business plan typically includes a business idea, a marketing and sales strategy, financial forecasts, an executive summary, a hiring strategy, etc.
A business plan allows you to anticipate any changes and obstacles you'll face when starting a new business. For instance, if you're creating a mobile networking app for young lawyers, you'll have to consider the dos and don'ts of designing a mobile app.
A lot of thinking has to go into the designing process, and a business plan will allow you to know all the answers to questions that might arise during the design process.
Understanding the importance of a legal structure is highly crucial. Typically, you can choose four types of legal structures: Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, LLC(limited liability company), and C/S Corporation.
A sole proprietorship is suitable for owners who want to test out a business idea before turning it into a formal business. However, you'll be liable for all your company's debts and profits.
A partnership is perfect for business with multiple owners. That said, general partners have to file state returns and federal tax form 1065. But, you won't have to file individual income tax returns.
An LLC is a legal structure that allows partners, shareholders, and owners to have limited liability. Plus, they can enjoy tax benefits just like a partnership. Under an LLC, You'll be free from personal liability if nobody can prove that you acted in an irresponsible, unethical, or legal manner while carrying out business activities.
With a C corporation, you'll have to pay tax as a separate entity. In comparison, S corporation businesses are suitable for small businesses looking to avoid double taxation. If you require more help choosing the best legal structure for your business, it would be wise to get in touch with a corporate attorney or a business accountant.
Unless you're a seasoned investor or an experienced accountant, you'll need to help nail down such an aspect of pre-business ownership. Potential investors will want to know about your company, your business goals, and how you plan on utilizing their money. Regardless of where you end up acquiring funds for your business, please write it down. That said, business loans from a bank or private lender are always the safest bet.
Include this step in your business plan as there are tons of potential investors out there who would want to take a look at it before making their final decision.
Identifying startup costs is probably one of the most important things to consider before putting your business idea into effect. First, you need to calculate the total cost required to set up and operate your company successfully.
For example, if you're setting up a retail business, you'll have to consider store costs, furniture costs, inventory costs, and capital needed to get through the early days. If you're also setting up a manufacturing plant, you'll also have to account for plant construction costs, equipment costs, maintenance costs, etc.
Lastly, go through the steps mentioned above one last time. When doing so, you'll be able to familiarize yourself with your new business. It will allow you to identify things you should modify or omit from your business plan.
Furthermore, hire a competent attorney if you want to maintain compliance with all federal and state regulations and rules. Investing more time in the planning phase than usual will pay dividends in the long haul.Read more
Companies do not exist in a vacuum. Every business is connected to the larger system of its local economy. If you are building a company, you should leverage the dozens, hundreds, or millions of possible corporate partnerships available. Whether it be a financial advisor, general counsel, or a waste disposal company, you need help to get to where you want to be. With that in mind, here are the types of business relationships your company needs.Read more
Now that you’ve decided to set up a shop online, it’s time to focus on the finer details of doing business on the Internet. From product pricing to photography to web design, you’ll have to account for many elements. Read the following tips for starting your online shop and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself as you build your presence; the right touches can make your business stand out from the rest.Read more
Does it feel like you’re losing customers? Then it might be time to assess whether it’s time to make a few changes to the way you do business. Even when you’re doing your best, you might be overlooking a few quick and simple fixes that could help you find new customers and, more importantly, retain the old ones. To help you get started, here are a few tips on how to provide better customer service.Read more
Today’s entrepreneurs know that Main Street’s best days have come and gone. The future isn’t just online, but in the present, too, and an array of marketing platforms make it possible for artisans and entrepreneurs to do business online with ease. However, it’s not always as easy it first seems. You’ll want to avoid some of these mistakes new e-commerce businesses make as they navigate the challenges common to starting a new business—whether that’s tangible or virtual.Read more
The world of marketing (and, particularly, online marketing) has evolved at a tremendous pace over the last 15 or so years.
With the increasing importance of social media platforms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital analytics software, it’s now easier than ever for firms to gain a greater insight into their markets and an increased understanding of their users’ preferences and interests. Moreover, all these technologies combined have also hugely improved the ability of firms to augment both their product offering to clients and their customer service.
However, as any successful business person will tell you, true customer service goes far beyond just understanding and targeting consumers. Rather, customer service creates a two-way street between firms and their clients and, if done correctly, can have the knock-on effect of vastly increasing brand loyalty and the likelihood of repeat sales - so, it’s a win-win for all concerned.
Unlike almost any other promotional vehicle, email marketing affords the ability for companies to reach out to specific clients by name, targeting the content of their message to the customer's proven interests or previous buying behaviors or habits. Also, using email signature software, firms can maintain branding across their communications to help build awareness of their goods and services. No other medium - not even social media - allows this level of personalization and one-to-one contact through providing bespoke marketing content.
Below are just a few more ways to extend this personalization to the benefit of both your firm and your clients:
Quicker, two-way communications: Research shows clients these days are more likely to reach out to firms via email, text or social media than they are by phone, so ensuring you reply to email communications quickly and politely will instill a greater sense of trust in your services and your ability for after-sales support.
Emails (and email marketing) help build trust: Very often consumers take time in the decision-making process before finally taking the plunge to make a purchase. Keeping up email communications with a potential client is one of the best ways to show your firm is responsive to inquiries and offers high levels of customer support. Moreover, if a client has signed up to your mailing list, then receives an email from your firm, they are more likely to revisit your site. Nurturing sales leads is vital in today’s cut-throat e-commerce environment - and email marketing is one of the best ways to ensure your company remains front and center in the minds of prospective customers.
Email marketing builds engagement: Regular emails with content tailored to the user helps show high levels of customer service (particularly if you feature the client’s name and show links to other content they might also enjoy). Personalized marketing emails of this type are the digital equivalent of walking into a store and being greeted by name and can generate high levels of engagement and loyalty.
Email marketing builds engagement, fosters relationships and helps you stand out: It’s worth remembering your prospective client has likely already visited countless online stores (and possibly some real-world ones too), so building a positive relationship between them and your company often transpires to be the deciding factor between a customer choosing to shop with you or another firm. Taking time to go the extra mile with email, email marketing and other forms of communication will help prove your business is interested in much more than just achieving a sale.Read more