Yes, global expansion can build your business and present new opportunities—but it’s imperative to understand the challenges before taking that next step. As an experienced businessman in global expansion and international business, I understand how to avoid many of the trials and variables that come with taking your business worldwide. Consider these issues to help your efforts succeed when expanding across borders:
Language and Culture
Two of the most challenging obstacles you can face when taking your business to new countries are language and cultural barriers. If you do not speak the same language as your customers or new business partners, you must hire at least one person who speaks the local language and understands the culture. Google Translate cannot advise you about local customs! When I hired someone for my team who understood the local government, spoke the language, and was able to explain cultural expectations, I dramatically increased the odds for my success.
Competition From Locals
I’m sure you are considering taking your company international because you have enjoyed success in your own country. However, do not forget to account for local competition.
This kind of competition puts you at a disadvantage. Unless you factor in items such as import fees and tariffs, potentially slower turnaround times, and currency exchange rates, realize that local companies already have an advantage over your business. When expanding to new territories, make sure to build relationships with overseas companies such as shipping, storage, and logistics firms to help your business expand. Their local knowledge and expertise can make the transition much more efficient.
Hiring New Staff
Global expansion means expanding your staff, both for your home base and the new country into which you are expanding. While specific positions vary from business to business or country to country, it’s essential to be very selective during the hiring process because hiring more staff can be a risk. Make sure your product or service, organization, and team are ready to go for expansion and are prepared for the challenges ahead. Ask yourself whether the new team members are equipped to meet the increased time demands of the expansion and whether you have the right infrastructure in place to handle exports.
When hiring new staff, you must be more than confident that you know how to manage them effectively. You need to be able to leverage their expertise, skills, and strengths to achieve your company’s goals and objectives.