Are you looking to join those at the top of the business pyramid? Is it time to finally ascend your company to the next level? Are you ready for international expansion? The biggest players in business are those that cater to the global market. If you want to play at their level, you need to scale your business for international expansion.
If you are scaling your business, you have to be aware of what else you need to consider. The person you are now is the person who managed to bring the company to where it is today. But if you want to expand your business to the next level and beyond, you can’t stick to being the same person you are now. You need to think like an international business owner. It’s time to evolve. You need to upgrade your knowledge, your skills and your mindset.
Scaling your business brings on many unknowns. Knowing what things you still have to learn in order to get where you want to go, is critical to achieving success. These are factors such as different target audiences, needs, desires, and the jargon that they use.
On top of understanding your target audience’s desires, you also need a strong team to help you scale. This means knowing how to find people that are just as passionate and driven as you are. The more ‘A players’ you have in your company, the faster you can scale your business. Finding team members that you can trust and delegate tasks to on your behalf will give you a competitive advantage over everyone else.
If you’re looking to expand into different markets, there’s a lot to consider. Here are our best tips on how to scale your business for international expansion:
The International Market is Composed of Many Diverse Regions
One of the biggest mistakes CEO’s make is generalizing the international market. This means thinking that your audience’s needs and interests in one country will be the same as another. Before you decide to scale your business for international expansion, you must first focus on the local market.
The international market is segregated based on region. These regions consist of geographic areas such as Canada, the US, India, China, Japan, Russia, and Europe. Each of these regions has their own set of cultural differences that make them unique. As a result, they also have their own customs, needs and dislikes that differ from other regions.
To efficiently scale your company for international expansion, you need to look at each of these regions as their own separate marketplace. This means doing in-depth research to understand everything there is to know about a certain region. Once you get a better understanding of the marketplace that resides in that region, you can begin to scale your company for that specific region.
This means tailoring your product towards that specific region’s needs. Just because your product performed well in one region, does not mean the same for another. This is because the needs of the European marketplace for example, differ heavily from the needs of the Chinese market. There are differences in these two countries based on a variety of factors – such as language, culture, geographic location and ethnicity.
If you want to take your company to the next level, you need to understand and be aware of these differences. Knowing these differences allows you to tailor your product to that specific region for maximum results.
You Don’t Have Just One Target Audience, You Have Multiple Audiences
In order to customize your product to a particular region’s taste and interests, you need to familiarize yourself with their culture. Know their customs, traditions, and the ‘lingo’ that they use. This is where doing your research beforehand becomes critical.
For example, let’s say your company sells Mac and Cheese, and is based in the US. The ad that you’re running has a Caucasian family sitting together at the dining table. Everyone is laughing, talking about their day, and enjoying their dinner of Mac and Cheese.
Based on statistics, this ad has performed well and the demand for your Mac and Cheese is growing year after year. Now let’s say you want to expand your company and begin targeting the marketplace in China. Do you think you will see much success if you run the same type of ads in this new region? Most likely the answer is no.
This is because your US based ads target a different niche audience. In China, the majority of people that live there are of Asian ethnicity, not Caucasian. Immediately, your ad will be a turn off to the Chinese marketplace, because they cannot relate to it.
As well, most Chinese people prefer to eat rice for dinner, instead of pasta like macaroni. As a result, there is less demand for your product and you will be competing with well established rice companies for market share.
Lastly, the primary language of China is Mandarin. If your ad is running in English, only a small percentage of people will be able to understand what is going on.
This example illustrates how a different region has many factors to account for. If you don’t focus on localizing your product to that region, you will not gather much interest due to cultural differences.
Focus on Localizing Before You Go International
The same holds true for all international regions. Each country has its own differences and particular niche audience. If you want to succeed internationally, you need to account for all these factors.
The way you market your product will determine its success. Details such as the packaging, the words you use, the images, the colors and what you stand for, all impact how consumers will view your product and brand. Especially when it comes to entering a new marketplace.
This means if you’re looking to scale your company for international expansion, you need to localize your offering. You need to customize your product to that region, and account for all the little factors that will affect how well it succeeds. Being aware of these differences when entering a new region will allow you to scale your company quicker and overcome resistance.
Besides having different needs, different regions also have different business practices. These are things such as different business laws, paperwork requirements, and processes you have to go through. As a result, you may have to make numerous changes to how you market your product or brand before it’s considered acceptable.
Achieving legal business compliance in a region like Germany comes with many strict requirements and paperwork to be handled. This process may take weeks or even months before you’re given the green light. If you’re looking to expand your company for international expansion, make sure you have additional resources prepared for when unexpected situations arise.
You don’t want to hype your audience up for a big product launch, only to realize it’ll be delayed by two weeks. Do your research beforehand and be aware of how all these minor things can impact your business.
Behind Every Great Company is an Even Greater Team
Creating a business that is local and successful is a challenge. Finding the right team members to help you scale that business to the international market is exponentially more difficult. If you’re looking to scale your business for international expansion, you’ll need a strong team to support your vision.
The difference between a good company and a great company is the team standing behind it. In order to scale your company internationally, you need reliable team members who can ensure things run smoothly. As you’ll be entering new and uncharted territory, success will depend on whether or not your team members possess certain traits.
These are traits such as ownership, accountability, being a team player and being results driven. Unlike 9-5 employees who are only interested in a paycheck, you want to look for people who can become a valuable asset to your company. Who have an entrepreneurial drive to achieve great things and set new standards.
You want people who are always striving to improve and become a better version of themselves every single day. Because those traits will translate over to the kind of work they will do to help grow the company. Setup your business structure so that your employees are rewarded for their efforts. Make them aware that the more results they can produce for the company, the more they’ll be financially rewarded.
If you’re looking to scale your company for international expansion, you’ll want the best ‘A players’ you can find. The more of these types of people you have in your company, the more you’ll grow.
How To Scale Your Company For International Expansion
There are many ways you can scale your company for international expansion. However you choose to do it, you need to be sure your team is on the same page.
This is why finding good team members is important. If you’re looking to take on the world, you need people who you can trust to delegate tasks to. As the CEO, the last thing you want to do is waste your time completing trivial tasks. Your role is to be the visionary that will lead the company to success. That means you need to be aware of your time and how you spend it.
When you have a team of people you can trust, you can spend your time doing the important things in your company. These are things such as deciding on a new product launch, building connections with other affluent business people, or planning out next month’s marketing strategy. Any other task that can be delegated should be left to your team members to handle.
For example, when Google wanted to expand their international presence, they sent small teams from their headquarters to new regions. These teams were then responsible for growing a local team in that region. And as time went on, these smaller teams grew larger and larger as the company’s presence in that region grew as well.
By delegating tasks to your team, you can efficiently scale your company for international expansion. This means looking at the resources you have, and planning out the best way to utilize them. The better your team members are, the more resources you’ll have available.
A resourceful person will always make opportunity fit his or her needs.” – Napoleon Hill
Utilize Influencer Marketing To Reach A Greater Audience
The more people you know, the more likely you are to become successful. This is why many companies look to influencer marketing when breaking into a new region.
Influencer’s offer many benefits to companies and brands. Firstly, the influencer already has a large audience of followers. This is valuable to a company because it means they don’t have to spend time building up an audience base. By contacting the influencer directly and getting them to promote their product, they can reach a larger group of people.
Secondly, influencer’s have celebrity status. Because many people look up to and may even aspire to become just like them, they hang onto their every word. As a result, the influencer has a lot of power when it comes to influencing an audience to take action. In fact, research shows that 49% of consumers base their purchases based on influencer recommendations.
This is why big companies like Nike and Adidas utilize celebrities like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods to endorse their products. They understand the influence these people have over the general masses. And they know that by tapping into the connections these celebrities have, they can channel that influence toward their own product.
Lastly, the influencer has familiarity with both the region and the people there. This allows them to overcome cultural differences, language barriers, and increase the chances your product will stand out.
Leveraging an influencer’s existing audience base is a good way to promote your brand to a new market. Utilizing an influencer and getting them to endorse your brand or product is another great method to scaling your company for international expansion.
Leverage Business Connections and Your Personal Network
If you’re looking to scale your business, you’ve most likely been in business for quite some time. During that time, you should have met a few trustworthy business contacts. If you’re looking to break into a new international region, get in touch with your old business contacts.
Look at your network of people you know. Make a list of the people who have connections or do business in regions that you want to break into. Then, set up a meeting with them and let them know your plans. In many cases, your business contacts operate in a certain geographic location. As a result, they will know more about that region than you do.
Leverage their experience and knowledge to help you enter the market for that region. Even if they don’t know much about a certain country or city, chances are they know someone who does. This allows you to quickly familiarize yourself with the business practices and cultural differences of a region. They can act as your local business tour guide, providing you with valuable information about what opportunities to pursue and which ones to avoid. In exchange, you can give them some form of compensation for all their help.
This is similar to using influencer marketing to enter a foreign market. But instead of leveraging their audience base and followers, you are leveraging their knowledge and experience. This is also a great way to open up the door for other business opportunities down the road. One successful business deal often leads to another, and if you both have something to gain, it’s a win-win situation.
Don’t be afraid to call up old business contacts. As long as there’s something in it for them, they’re more than glad to provide you with their expertise.
Learn How to Expand Your Company into an International Empire
Scaling your company for international expansion is not that simple. Whenever you are entering a new marketplace, you need to be aware of your target audience’s needs. This means accounting for things such as the culture, language, traditions, customs, processes, ethnicity and restrictions.
Without a good understanding of the differences between each region, you will not be able to attract and influence your audience. A marketing ad aimed at targeting the Western demographic in North America, will not have the same effect if presented in the East. This is due to things such as cultural sensitivity and a different style of doing things. What may seem intriguing and even clever in one region, may be insensitive or even controversial in another.
Having a good understanding of your target audience is crucial for international expansion. Regardless if your business is online or in person, you’ll want to do your research beforehand to increase your odds of success. One method to do this, is to find someone who knows that region well and leverage their experience and knowledge. They can offer you a perspective that others might miss, because they live there or have done business in the region for many years.
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