Three Key Things To Consider Before Taking Your Business Global

Expanding your company beyond the bounds of your home country is a way to tap new markets and diversify your product. Sounds great, but going global is easier said than done. If you’re considering setting up an international office, here are some key factors you should consider.

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Understand the Market

 

Though your product might be a hit in your home country, this won’t automatically translate into sales in other countries. The way people around the world respond to different products is determined in large part by cultural norms, so before you take your product overseas, make sure you do your homework to find out how your product is going to perform in your target market. And don’t be put off if your product isn’t immediately embraced. A slower uptake doesn’t necessarily equal failure: you may need to adjust your product slightly to attract your new customer. And while your local marketing strategy may be killing it back home, tweaking or even overhauling your strategy could be the key to breaking into the new market. Another vital thing to investigate before going global is the state of the local economy in a country you’re considering setting up shop. If the economy is struggling and consumers don’t have much disposable income, your product may be less likely to fly off the shelves.

 

International Communication

 

Spreading your business across numerous foreign countries comes with a host of communication challenges. To make it work, it’s vital that you establish strong communication channels between your employees, taking into account differences in time zones.  Setting up regular conference calls or Skype meetings is key, and make sure you’re requesting comprehensive reports on the operations at every office. Determining clear protocols for what types of information should be forwarded to you will ensure that you’re not bombarded with mail, but you’ll also never be kept in the dark. If you’re based overseas, why not arrange a mail handling service like https://physicaladdress.com/? That way you can control what post you receive and when, and arrange for its safe disposal.

 

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Get Your Head Around International Business Customs

 

Getting your business off the ground in another country inevitably involves a lot of meetings with people of different heritage than yourself. Cultural norms and expectations are vastly different in different countries. What you have come to understand as politeness or best practice in business might come across as unprofessional or rude somewhere else. It’s important to remember that if you’re operating in a different country, it’s you who needs to adjust, not the other way around. Arrogance never goes down well. Find out the correct dress code before your meeting, as you shouldn’t assume that your casual business attire will fit the bill. And don’t forget small-talk: while you might feel like you’ve got small-talk down to a fine art in your home country, it’s likely that there will be different topics that are appropriate for chit chat before getting down to business. Demonstrating that you’re at home in informal conversation is a great way to put your business compatriots at ease and assure them that you understand and respect the local culture. Language is key to this, of course. Bonus points if you’re able to become fluent in the local language, but even a few choice phrases of polite conversation in your host’s language will send the message that you’re serious about bringing your business to their country.

 

Whether you’re opening your first international office or your tenth, each time you set up shop overseas is going to present different challenges. These tips will help your business prepare for the culture shock.

 

Lisa
Lisa Besserman, Founder and CEO of Startup Buenos Aires, has been named as Business Insider’s “Top 100 Most Influential Women in Tech”, and the 2014 “Business Innovator of Latin America” by the Council of the Americas.

Lisa moved to Buenos Aires from New York City to create Startup Buenos Aires, the organization that represents the startup, tech and entrepreneurial community of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Startup Buenos Aires has been one of the main catalysts for strengthening the tech ecosystem in Latin America, by bringing global startup initiatives, development projects and investment opportunities to the region.
Under Lisa’s leadership Startup Buenos Aires has been credited as “Top 3 Growing Startup Cities” by CNBC and “5 Emerging Global Tech Hubs” by Entrepreneur Magazine.

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