Not every business owner is satisfied with only achieving success in their local market. While that is certainly something to be proud of, achieving even more success is possible. If you want your business to expand beyond your wildest dreams, you should consider evolving into an international enterprise. Doing so won’t be easy. There’s a lot of challenges to overcome. Still, it is possible to take your business international and achieve success as a worldwide brand.
Perform the Research
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to expand to just anywhere. While that may be your goal, other markets in foreign countries can have roadblocks that will prevent your expansion. Some of these may be cultural in nature. Your product or service may simply not appeal to the customer base there even with significant tweaks due to the tastes, preferences, religious beliefs and more of the local population. In other examples, the government itself may act as a roadblock and may not want competition from foreigners competing with local businesses in their home market. Overall, you need to perform the appropriate amount of research to determine what markets are actually feasible for your business to expand into.
Obtain the Talent You Need
Even if a proposed market for your products looks promising, you can still completely fail at launching in that new country. Quite often, this failure is due to a lack of the appropriate personnel. Consider the fact that 60 percent of respondents that shop online said they wouldn’t use an online store that only used English. This will be much more so the case in regards to brick-and-mortar operations. If you don’t have talented managers and staff that are fluent in that foreign language on the ground, you are not going to succeed. It doesn’t end with simply knowing the language either. They must have intimate knowledge of that market, the consumers, their preferences, and their behavior. This requires recruiting the right staff from that country early enough to get your business off on the right foot. If your launch fails, you have very little hope of recovery.
Implement Enterprise Resource Planning Software
To make your international expansion efforts successful, you will also need the right tools. This includes the right software to help you manage such a complex and delicate process as an international expansion as well as the complex business structure that will result from its completion. What you need is Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP for short, software. Partner with a vendor to customize an ERP solution tailored to your needs. If you are in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, you may want to obtain NexInfo ERP implementation services designed specifically for pharmaceutical companies with an international reach. Such software should be able to complete tasks related to purchasing, procurement, supply chain management, inventory management, manufacturing management, and more. Even if you have similar software in place, you may need to upgrade to a new platform to meet the needs of your more complex international operations.
Develop Relationships with Foreign Companies
Having the right staff is only one part of the process. You also need to develop and nurture relationships with foreign companies that will act as partners in your success. This will include suppliers, vendors, retailers, and more. In most cases, it will be almost impossible to complete all these business tasks in-house. Instead, you need outside business relationships to keep your business operating efficiently for the long term in that new market. This may include doing business a bit differently than you would in the United States. Different markets have very different cultures in regard to business relationships. Forming the right business relationships in Japan, for example, may require a lot more effort than in the US. It may take more time, personal involvement, and even a few after-hours drinks to win over a potential Japanese business partner. Regardless, these relationships will be vital for your long-term success. Adapt to the cultural expectations of business relationships in that country if you want to do business there.
Overall, expanding internationally is never an easy process. It requires completing mountains of research, developing the right foreign talent, implementing the right ERP software, and developing long-term business relationships in a completely new culture. However, if you are successful at this endeavor, the sky is the limit in terms of increased profit potential.