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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.
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