To expand into the global marketplace is probably one of the biggest dreams of every modern business leader, and one of the long-term goals of every startup. Yes, dominating the local market and becoming a household name in your country is a surefire way to grow your business and establish your brand’s reputation, but there’s nothing quite like the lucrative prospect of venturing into the big leagues, and catering to a global customer base. But you need to be prepared, and you need a strong battle plan.
There are countless things that could go wrong on the path to global entrepreneurial superstardom, so you need to invest research, technology and automation, marketing and branding, and other crucial processes that will help you secure a foothold in a new competitive market. With that said, here are the five tips you need to know in order to successfully expand your startup abroad.
Start with a thorough market analysis
Acquiring knowledge and leveraging important industry insights to fuel your growth strategy is one of the only ways to safeguard your business when you’re expanding into a new market, because without the right information on hand, you won’t be able to make calculated decisions. This is why conducting a thorough market analysis for every potential new marketplace you’re going to enter should be a top priority on your to-do list.
Start by making a detailed SWOT analysis of every potential market. The SWOT analysis will provide you with all of the essential information you need to analyze the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a particular market, which will allow you to decide whether to enter it or move on to the next one. Making the SWOT analysis as detailed as possible will also help you understand what needs to be improved and optimized.
Optimize all processes for the new markets
Every market is unique, so no matter how in-demand your products or services might be, there is always something you can do to make your offer, your brand, and your marketing strategy more appealing to the local demographic. What’s more, don’t be fooled into thinking that your existing sales strategy will produce the same results it’s producing back home.
Instead, leverage your market research to optimize sales, branding, communication, customer support and service, logistics, and all other processes to the unique likes and dislikes of the new market. Get in touch with local business leaders and business developers, gather information from local media portals, stay on top of the latest industry and market trends, and implement the best practices that the local competitors use – this is how you’ll be able to optimize your business and offerings for the local demographic.
Bridge the language gap and cater to local customers
As a local business looking to expand into the international market, you need to make the transition as seamless and smooth as possible, not just for you and your employees, but your customers as well. Just think about it, why would potential customers in a foreign marketplace with established competitors pay any special attention to “the new kid on the block”? They won’t, not unless you bridge the language gap. Take the ever-growing China market, for example.
According to an article recently published in Week in China, bridging the language gap between Chinese websites and non-native speakers is important for local businesses, as well as companies looking to venture into the local marketplace and win over the hearts and minds of the local demographic. Your website needs to cater to the language preferences of the region you’re entering, so be sure to translate your website and adjust your brand voice to appeal to local consumers.
Invest heavily in marketing to dominate the local market
Of course, for all of this planning and preparation to produce the desired effect, you need to invest heavily in the meticulous dissemination of your brand across the local online and offline channels. There is no way around it, you need to leverage all relevant digital marketing tools to grow your brand’s reputation and reach in the local market, and engage the local audiences in order to build consumer trust.
Be sure to optimize your website for fast loading times for local visitors, implement local SEO to rank higher in the relevant SERPs, advertise your business on search engines and social media, and don’t forget to find local influencers to promote your brand across their social media following.
Research the local laws and regulations
And lastly, don’t forget to get your legal team involved. Expanding a business is a difficult task as it is, so it would be a pity if you were to get shut down weeks upon entering the market because you broke a law you never knew existed. Every country has unique laws and regulations that govern the business sector and its complementary fields, so be sure to do your research ahead of time, and structure your operations so that you always stay on the right side of the law.
Expanding a startup into the international league is every entrepreneur’s dream, but that doesn’t mean that this won’t be a difficult process with plenty of obstacles and challenges. Use these insights to safely enter a new marketplace, establish a foothold quickly, and pave the road to a successful future.