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How To Take Your Startup To International Waters And Make It Known

Sep 15, 2018
How To Take Your Startup To International Waters And Make It Known

America is the land of opportunities, but that doesn’t mean it is the full map of the business world. If you’re among the growth-oriented entrepreneurs, the rest of the world could be your oyster. Going global through international growth provides you with a wide range of opportunities - extending the sales life, reducing your dependence on a particular market, getting rid of destabilizing fluctuations caused by demand cycles and seasonal changes, and learning how to compete against the foreign companies without losing the battle. In order to find the new opportunity all you have to do is to spin the globe.  

A Running Start

We understand that conquering the domestic market is enough big deal for many startups, but we also know that everyone starting his own business has far greater ambitions. You might think you should go one step at the time, but if you’re aiming for a global success there’s no time to waste. ‛Start local, then go global’ is a pretty outdated and conventional startup ‛wisdom’. For many businesses, it’s almost a necessity to look into international markets early, especially with a large number of attractive English speaking markets. Today it is possible to sail into international waters using a limited capital so there’s no need to walk - you can start running. Nevertheless, you won’t save your budget only by implementing cost-effective marketing strategies - fostering expansion requires a lot of business planning.

Are You Ready?

If you run a startup, or simply have an idea for one, the chances are that the opportunity for your venture is already global. Nevertheless, it’s good to be sure that the time is right to globalize your business. Your startup beginning to get some international traction is a good indicator, but you must look for some additional signs. What portion of your business is coming from outside your country and where are your highest value customers? If more than 25% of your demo requests are coming while your team is sleeping, this number says far more than words. And you have to consider the cost of adding new international customers to your business - will implementation and support cost increase? Keep in mind that you’ll also have to deal with some regulatory approvals and local competition.

Preparing The Terrain

 If the above questions caught you by surprise there’s no need to back out. If you don’t know if your products will sell in the targeted culture, all you have to do is to conduct a proper market research. The biggest question is whether your target market is familiar with your products and services. If you realize it’s not, then you’ll have to perform consumer education. That will require some time and money, but the benefit is that you’ll be the one who will introduce a new and exciting concept for the first time, making the services and products synonymous with your company’s name. You need to feel comfortable in a targeted country and you need to have the knowledge of its infrastructure. That’s why it’s best to spend some time there before the expansion to acquire the working knowledge of the culture and language and to check out accommodations, roads, etc.

When it comes to legal logistics it would be best to find someone who has already set up their own business in the country, and therefore can operate as your consultant during the first few months.  This will not only save you the overhead of setting up the business but it will also allow you to test the waters before you fully dive in. This will also assist you to fully comprehend the tax implications of international office. If you can’t find such persons, it is highly advisable to hire a professional consultant in the beginning because you’ll be lost in the maze of regulations and rules for work visas and business permits that vary from country to country.

Review Your Products Carefully

We’re not talking about overall quality and additional features (although it’s not bad to consider this, too), but pricing. Pricing strategy is overall the weakest spot in many businesses, but when you're thinking about geographic expansion the wrong one can turn your growth into a disaster. If your products sell in your own country that doesn’t mean it will sell overseas. That’s why the analysis of conditions in the new market is essential before you make your move. Every experienced business agent in Sydney is aware that the foundation of his success during business migration lies in the management of ‛difficult to sell’ factor. There’s no point in acquiring the number of needed licenses if nobody’s going to buy your products.  You have to pay attention to the average income of your target countries. If this income is less than 2000 bucks as in fast developing Indian markets, it creates an opening for competitors and a ceiling on growth. If you want your global pricing levels to maximize total global cash flows you need to be flexible. It’s a good idea to look for capabilities or features that will allow the usage of lower-priced packages by a broader population without an impact on the core service.

Overcome The Trust Gap

If you’re going to scale your business internationally the most important thing is to gain the trust of the consumers. People tend to prefer local products made inside the country because they specifically address their needs. This will instantly create a trust gap which leaves no room for mistakes in your approach and branding. You need to make your marketing distinct to each locale in order to integrate yourself. The smartest thing to do is to find an ally in some local business and investing in the community is mandatory via outreach and training programs. Although English can be your marketing language it’s advisable to have some native speaker on the team to evade the possibility of an accidental offense. Also be careful about your symbols, colors, and even gestures because they can mean different things in different cultures. The first step to earning their trust is an appreciation of their culture.

Make Them Aware of Your Existence

The first thing you need to do is to acquire a local domain name and phone number, and then make sure are able to undertake transactions in local currency.  Slowly begin to localize smaller things, making the testimonials a priority. You know that online marketing is mandatory, but most people forget that Google is an excellent first port of call that can help you validate market demand and get your first sale. And never underestimate the power of content. We already mentioned partnering up with local businesses, and if you have a bigger budget at your disposal you can enter a market by acquisitions which will give you a head start.

If you own a business with global potential, don’t waste your time. But don’t rush things, either - perform your research and try to visit targeted countries yourself. A good preparation of the terrain will enable you to prepare your products and adjust the pricing. Only after you earn the trust of your potential new customers, you’ll be able to integrate into their culture, and then your business will skyrocket.

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