Across the globe, companies are focusing on international commerce. Thomas L. Friedman theorized that outsourcing and supply-chaining would have a huge impact on the 21st century. For small business owners, becoming a multinational company is a huge commitment. There is a steep learning curve, and the business owner may have to disrupt the daily business operations. When a business owner decides that the rewards are more important than the risks, he can move his company in a new direction. The small business owner must have a deep understanding of competition, local trends and targeted markets.
Sample the International Markets
You need to make sure that there is a market for your products in other countries. The Department of Commerce has a wealth of information. Your products might sell great in the United States, but international customers might not be interested in your products. Send out a few inquiries. If your international customers respond positively to your product, you can create a new business strategy. You may have to tailor your sales pitch, and you might have to familiarize yourself with several other languages.
Study Your Competition
Analyze your competition. Your international customers will have different needs, and your competition is already a few steps ahead of you. You need to learn about the country and the culture. Since most of your competition will be local to the area, they will have a competitive advantage in your industry. When you understand your competition, you can design a strategic business strategy. You need to have an integrated approach. You must consider the culture, economic climate and the government regulations. You should have clear goals, and you should keep track of your progress.
Hire Experienced Senior Managers
Many multinational companies start their operations in other countries with their current staff. This method has advantages and disadvantages. You will be expanding your company with your current senior managers, but you are also taking them away from their other important projects. You should hire a new team of experienced managers. When you hire managers who have global experience, they can take over the complicated tasks. Since they will have prior experience, they are less likely to make a costly mistake.
Consider the Country’s Safety Standards
You need to have your products ready for your customers. Your conveyor systems need to be in optimal condition. Most new customers will not tolerate delays. You should also make sure that your products have quality assurance reviews. You should consider using a local logistics company.
Learn the Cultural Norms and Get a Mentor
You may have to make a few changes to suit the cultural norms, but your branding should be consistent. For example, you may have to offer different food items in certain countries. You should also have a mentor. The transition will be difficult if you cannot grasp the cultural differences. A mentor can help you understand the cultural norms. A mentor can also help you negotiate deals with your suppliers. If your mentor is also your business partner, the person can help you pay for the overseas expansion.
The United States has a complex tax system, and the government enforces taxes on all income earned outside of the United States. International tax codes are complicated. Other countries have more regulations. Many foreign banks do not allow international accounts. You will have to consider the continent’s specific business regulations. In Europe, your product descriptions must be written in multiple languages. You will also have to consider the country’s specific regulations. Your product must meet each country’s safety standards.