Taking your local business on a global market sounds like a huge milestone. It’s every small business owner’s dream to grow their company and undertake new clients. If your business has done well in your local market, and the budget is allowing you, you might be planning an expansion of your reach. But before you take such a significant step in your business development, you need to take the time to check every necessary step to consider before taking your company on a global market. In this article, we’ll discuss some things to consider when you want to take your business global.
1. Global is worlds apart from local
Let’s be honest here. The product that gave your business the “wow effect”; that brought you to where you are right now, might not be as fascinating in other countries. You need to remember that every market is different, and the global market differs from your local one in many ways. This is what could happen if you take your product globally in its original form:
- Your product will go through a different cycle and be more (or less) liked by the international market as compared to the local market.
- Without adapting your product to a different culture, it might get a lower rating, and your business might fail to sell in the end.
Note that this is not the final report of your business’ success. You can alter your product and tailor it better to suit different countries as well. Here’s an excellent example: The difference between European and US car users. The US drivers go crazy for SUVs. They like large and powerful cars. Through the years, Chevrolet, Jeep, and other car companies have tried to implement their big vehicles on the European market. But what happened?
With no adaptation to European taste, culture, and cities, these cars did not achieve the goal selling point and failed in the European market. Here’s why.
Europeans don’t drive huge cars, because their city streets are small and they prefer either small vehicles or bicycles. Therefore, it is important to customise certain offers and highlight different benefits when you’re targeting other countries’ markets.
2. Speak their lingo
One of the many reasons you should speak a second (or more) language is to communicate with other countries. But don’t worry. If you don’t speak another language, you can always engage a certified translation service agency in Singapore to assist you with this.
While taking your business globally, you need to speak the target market’s language and understand their culture as well. Besides translating your website and product descriptions in their language, you’ll need to deliver your marketing message in that language that’s close to their hearts and minds.
For this reason, companies hire professionals to translate and tailor their messages and brands to suit other countries. Have you ever noticed how some companies have different branding, visuals, and even names in other countries? Here are a few reasons for them:
- The name of your product or brand might have a different meaning in the language of the target country.
- The name of your product or brand might be close to a different brand/product.
For this reason, many famous brands have adapted their names by different countries.
3. Be aware of legal and regulatory barriers
You can’t take your business to international levels without reviewing the legal and regulatory barriers that will come around. Did you know that some countries ban the transportation of Poppy Seeds and Poppy Seed-based foods? Singapore and Taiwan are two on the list.
Selling and transporting poppy seeds are banned in Singapore because of its morphine content. Another example is the Kinder Surprise Chocolate Eggs that are banned from the US.
Due to the small toys inside the chocolate egg case, US authorities are concerned that it could cause choking in children. But in other countries, these tasty chocolate eggs are more than welcome to make a child’s day. If you think that your product might consist of some illegal ingredients (in the country you’re exporting to), and it’s crucial to do some research and check things out.
While conducting business operations on an international market (or in a different country), you should seek a professional legal advisor to ensure that your company is well covered and protected.
4. Dip your feet in, not dive head-first
“Don’t test the depth of the river with both your feet while taking risk.” Warren Buffett
In the first point, we mentioned that the global market is just not the same as a local market. Thus, it’s important for you to test things out bit by bit. Conduct beta launches/testings, do a poll or survey to listen to what the market is saying, etc. Proper market research is more than just a quick search on Google. It takes time.
In general, here are three tips to ensure that you’re doing what Warren Buffett has advised:
- Choose one product to introduce to a different country – Choose something that you’re confident will take off. Do your research and due diligence.
- Maintain your focus and keep tracking of the audience’s reaction – By introducing only one product, your focus won’t shift to different directions, and you’ll be able to track what your foreign customers like and dislike about your product.
- Save other products for later – Build the anticipation and make the audience want more. Introduce your other products and services.
5. Build close connections and new network
Connections and networking drive our professional lives and businesses. When you’re planning to grow your business globally, you’ll need partnerships, friends, and foreign colleagues.
- Make connections with legal consultants
- Make connections with translation agencies
- Make connections with marketing specialists in the target country
Focus on relationships. If you don’t speak the target language, it’s not an issue to hire a professional translator or interpreter. Make sure you do everything to speak their language and deliver emotional value.
6. Create a specific strategy for specific countries
All this comes down to your efforts of creating specific strategies for different countries. Don’t make the same mistake that WalMart did several years ago that cost them millions.
The largest retailer in the US failed to operate in Germany and other European countries, even while being the most visited retailer shop in the US.
They did not consider the purchasing behaviour of the international market and tried applying the US strategy in other countries. They failed miserably but left a great example for others.
Even the big players make simple mistakes. So no one is invincible from them. What we can do is to learn from the mistakes of others so that we don’t need to suffer from the consequences and do things right from the get-go. This can be done by considering these six factors.