Tips for Developing an International Expansion Strategy for Your Business

Tips for Developing an International Expansion Strategy for Your Business

One of the most difficult things a business owner might tackle is developing an international expansion strategy for your business. It is hard to overstate how complex and difficult some of these expansions can be. Some of them take months if not years of preparation before even the first steps towards expansion are made. So, it stands to reason that there are a fair bit of mistakes that you need to avoid when developing yours. Well to make this a bit easier, we are going to go over certain tips that you’d be smart to adhere to. With luck, these should save you from costly mistakes and make the expansion of your business a bit easier.

How to approach developing an international expansion strategy for your business

The most important thing to keep in mind about this process is that you need to take your time. Business projects such as these can be quite costly, which is why you need to plan and estimate them with due care. As you will soon learn, there are a lot of factors that help determine whether your expansion is financially sound.

A person looking at numerous papers on a whiteboard. - International Expansion Strategy for Your Business
Try to at least get an idea of what developing an international expansion strategy entails before you start tackling it.

Depending on your business and your future market, there are dozens of different factors that you’ll need to take into account, so we couldn’t possibly outline them all in this article. But what we’ll do instead is go over some of the most common ones. Hopefully, these will help you steer your mind in the right direction for proper business expansion.

Is your company suitable for your future market?

Before even considering expanding your business to a different country, you need to carefully research their market. Just because your business is prosperous in your country, doesn’t mean that it will continue to do so in a different one. You may run into competitors that have already settled into the local market, which will make promoting your business a lot more complex. Or, maybe the local market doesn’t function similarly to your domestic one, in which case you need to further investigate and see how to orient your business. Overall, there is a lot to consider, and the more research you do, the better off you will be in the long run.

How will you deal with shipping?

If you can completely base your business with the resources from the country you are expanding to, great. This is usually only possible if you are running a software company or a marketing agency. But if your company has any products that it manufactures, you will have to deal with shipping. Mind you, developing a strategy for international expansion will require commercial relocation which you should study up on And if the expanded branch of your company will produce certain items, you will have to deal with long term shipping procedures. So, do yourself a favor and start exploring your shipping options.

A train going through the US. - International Expansion Strategy for Your Business
You may have to combine different shipping methods in order to efficiently transport your goods.

International law and requirements

Two big reasons why international shipping is such vast subjects are international laws and requirements. Know that as a foreign citizen you will have to deal with a fair amount of paperwork in order to open a company. Some of the things you’ll need to have are:

  • Legal documents providing proof of your current financial status.
  • Visas for both you and any workers you plan on bringing to your foreign branch.
  • Shipping details outlining your shipping schedules and plans.
  • Various taxes and tax regulations.
  • Business permits and contracts.

Now add to this the complication of moving to a country where the locals speak a different language, and you will soon realize why you need to start preparing months, if not years in advance. Ideally, you want to find someone local to help you with your preparations. With their help, you’ll be able to overcome the language barrier and orient your efforts much more efficiently.

Is outsourcing an issue?

Most business owners that are developing an international expansion strategy need to consider outsourcing their business efforts. Sometimes it can be much more cost-effective for certain parts of your business to be handled in a different country. In fact, this is one of the more common reasons why people expand their businesses. However, keep in mind that outsourcing a part of your company can be terribly difficult. Especially if you don’t plan on permanently residing in the new country. The best thing to do is to hire a trustworthy manager to handle the outsourced branch of your company. Look for someone that you can rely on and that will guide you through the process.

A person explaining something to another person on a piece of paper while looking at laptops. - International Expansion Strategy for Your Business
A reliable local manager will help you keep track of the local market and can even assist you with the language barrier.

Tips to keep in mind

The things we’ve outlined so far should at least give you an idea of what is ahead of you. Keep in mind that we haven’t mentioned financing, constant travel and political situations in different countries. These are some additional aspects that you need to research on your own.

But, to help you avoid some catastrophic mistakes, we are going to outline certain things that more experienced business owners would mention.

Give yourself room for error

This goes for both your finances and timeframes. Do not think that every part of your plan will develop properly and smoothly. A smart business owner always leaves room in order to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Find people you can trust

Projects such as developing an international expansion strategy are a team effort. So, if there is one thing that you’ll need to do, it’s to develop a decent team to help you plan and execute your strategy.

Keep your spirits up

This whole endeavor will be quite taxing on your nerves and on your body. Don’t expect that you’ll always have time to sleep or to eat properly. So what we would advise you to do is to always monitor your health, both emotional and physical.

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