[This is the first article of a series relating to internationalization tips for SMEs and professionals. Today you will find 3 main points to take into account when it comes to going global, i.e. expand a business in another country, while afterwards we will cover more specifically the matter as far as Italy is concerned. This series comes each end of the month. Stay tuned. 😉]
Does it make sense to go global?
Your business reached a good success in your home country and you are thinking about expand it abroad. Or maybe, you sell services and believe your offer can suit also different audiences needs in different countries. Dreaming is legitimate, but let’s stick to the truth for a moment: before taking the leap, let’s do a few considerations.
- Going global opens to an infinite series of opportunities, but it may also involve many risks.
- Does it make sense for your business to go global? Do the potential benefits arising from such a choice overcome the estimated costs?
- Does your business/company have the necessary resources and skills to enter a new market and register gains?
Let’s see 3 things to consider before going global: they may help you understand if it is the best option for your business.
RESEARCH AND PLAN
Before expanding into a new market, do the math. Try to understand how your chosen market operates, who are your competitors, what is the demand (if any) of your product/service and if you need to make any modifications to your offer based on such parameters as well as on any regulations in force in the relative country. In fact, some countries require compliance to special quality, safety, and technical measures, for instance.
Talking about modifications, consider how much it will cost to adapt your offer to the target market and evaluate if such work will pay off.
How will you enter the market?
You may choose between:
- Direct or indirect export. Note that many governments provide incentives and subsidies for exporters: you may ask for advice to local embassies and governmental institutions, like the Chambers of Commerce.
- Acquisition of a company/business assimilable to yours.
Before choosing, consider which method can give you easiness of entry and best return of investment.
Do you have to pay taxes?
Ensure what is the tax regime your business is subject to and check if there are any restrictions or tax concessions and export rebates.
Do you need to adapt your offer?
As said above, consider any production costs but also marketing costs arising from any cultural differences between the source and target market.
The way you communicate your product/service must be relevant, understandable and appropriate for your target audience and often this involve modifying the contents describing such product/service.
Who will manage the business/company? You? A team?
Decide in advance who does what, so you will know where to look for answers to any problems that may arise. Maybe you should consider hiring a local agent or finding a local partner, who can help you streamline the process.
KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET BUSINESS ETIQUETTE
Often, it is crucial when it comes to establish contacts and close a contract with potential partners and clients from another country.
You must know how to greet people, if there is a dress code to respect, when it is necessary to be formal and when it is not, etc. This can help you to create the right professional image and ultimately, launch and develop your business/company in the target country.
MARKET YOUR BUSINESS
Decide what to sell, what are your communication channels (billboards, newspapers, website, social media ads) and build your marketing strategy accordingly. In doing so, ensure that the content related to your offer can be used in the target country.
In many cases, you will need to adapt and/or translate it.
As a matter of fact, in order to conduct business at international level, you should set a language and content strategy.
Think about what to translate. Maybe you don’t need to have your entire website translated, but only parts of it, depending on which products/services you will sell and on your internationalization strategy.
Any doubts? Are you seeking for advice? I may answer to many of your questions relating your contents translation and strategy: contact me and I will be glad to help!