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Sooner or later every company develops far enough to consider which growth strategy to opt for. Depending on the nature of the businesses, companies may choose market penetration strategies, entering a niche market, acquiring a larger market share or expanding to a foreign market.
Each growth strategy is viable if executed correctly. The safest course of action is to expand your existing product or services to a foreign market, which means expanding your business to another country.
Therefore, the first thing to look out for is the place for your new office. If you’re expanding to Sweden, for instance, resources, such as BostadsZonen can help you find an ideal rental property.
However, expanding to a new country is much more than just finding an office. You have to establish your business presence on the new market so that your company can continue to grow. With that in mind, here are a few things you should know when expanding your business to a new country.
Research the new market
Expanding to a different country means entering a new market. Many business owners fail to realize just how important market research is in such situations. A new market means a new audience who have different purchasing habits and follow different market trends.
Whatever your strategies were while you were operating in your country of origin may not be as efficient in the new market. That’s why you must research the local market before you begin to promote your company or your products and services. Here are a few things you should do.
- Identify the target audience.
- Understand your audience’s needs, demands and expectations.
- Create buyer personas.
- Conduct a competitive analysis.
- Determine the product/market fit.
- Create a new website for the new market.
Understand the foreign language
Language barriers are usually the most common issues businesses face when expanding to a new market. Local audiences may be familiar with the English language, they may even know it quite well. However, consider the fact that they may not prefer it.
Moreover, it’s much easier to win over the new audience when you address them in their mother tongue. Therefore, consider hiring someone fluent in the local language who will help you translate your content, at least the content on your website for starters.
You may not need to translate everything but you should consider winning over the local customers and ensuring their trust before you produce content in any other language rather than their own.
When you use the local language for your messages and content it shows that you’re willing to get closer to the local audience and meet their needs. This will help you establish a presence on the new market and allow the audience to familiarize themselves with your company and its products or services.
Overcome the cultural differences
Culture is yet another barrier businesses come across when expanding to a different country. Culture plays a vital role when it comes to establishing a meaningful relationship with your target audience.
Your company needs to overcome any cultural barriers and adapt to the local customs if you want to have a chance at succeeding in the foreign market. For example, consumers in the country you’re about to expand may have different national and religious holidays.
Respecting such events gains you the favor of the crowd. You may not run into significant cultural gaps but there are always slight differences that you must get used to.
By growing accustomed to these new cultural differences will help you grow on the foreign market more seamlessly. Again, the best approach is to find or hire someone who can explain the local customs to you. This will help you out significantly with product placements and marketing efforts.
Understand the local laws and regulations
Overcoming cultural and language barriers are just the beginning of your business expansion to another country. The next step is to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations.If you’re not careful, you may end up in litigation so it’s vital to conduct your due diligence and comply with legal regulations to avoid potential issues.
Another thing to keep in mind is that other countries may have different regulations regarding supply chains, labeling, packaging of goods and use of materials for manufacturing.
They may also have different taxing procedures than what you’re used to. That’s why it’s of vital importance to do your research extensively. Here are some of the things you should look into.
- Foreign employment laws.
- Business licenses and permits.
- Business insurance.
- Fees associated with opening a business in another country.
- Regulations regarding taxes, product placements, and services.
- Business structures available, such as LLC (Limited Liability Company), Corporation etc.
Most countries are very welcoming to foreign business and local governments will aid you in getting a foothold in the new market. Still, it’s never a bad thing to do your own research just in case.
Consider the local logistics
Depending on the nature of your business, you may also have to look into the local logistics solutions when expanding to another country. If you’re exporting or importing goods, for example, you may need local warehousing solutions, transportation services and freight forwarding if you’re importing or exporting goods internationally.
If not, you may still need a logistics plan for your local business needs. You can always bring your own employees and equipment but that may be a more expensive solution. Therefore check in with the local companies that specialize in logistics before you make your decision.
That is, of course, if you’re in a business of selling products, such as an eCommerce store. If you’re a tech company you won’t have to worry much about logistics unless you plan on manufacturing hardware locally.
Another thing to look out for is which products the country you’re about to operate in considers contraband. It would be a monumental oversight to set everything up only to discover your products are illegal in the country you expanded to.
Expanding to another country is not as difficult as many owners believe to be. The entire process is usually quite seamless but there are things you should look into before you set things in motion. That way you can ensure that your company will be successful in the new market.