Accessing the global market is the goal of many businesses, but it requires a lot of prior planning, strategic thinking, and research before you can really make strides in your industry.

If 2021 is the year your business will take the leap to expand, there are some important factors to consider before you get started.

Do your due diligence with market research

Before launching in another country, you need to consider whether there’s a need and a readiness for what you’re offering. Does the product or service you’re selling serve a particular need in the market? Have you checked that customers actually want what you’re offering? You have to adapt your business to fit the local need. It’s also crucial that you dig deep into the landscape of this new market, looking at the infrastructure and distribution markets to see if they will suit your business offering, who your competitors are, and whether there’s a gap in the market you can exploit.

Understand local laws and regulations

Getting to know the target market in a country is about more than just understanding your audience – you need to take a close look at the local legislation too. From tax laws and customs regulations to any restrictions on the import or export of certain items, you need to know how your business will operate, or even if it will be able to, before you get started. For example, packaging restrictions vary from country to country, so if your business deals in physical goods, you need to take this into consideration, from the sustainable practices of your business to the legal requirements that need to be included in disclaimers.

Explore cultural differences

Expanding a business internationally can become incredibly complicated when you take cultural differences into account. Many well-known companies have failed in this regard by not considering how their marketing, packaging, or even brand name will come across in a different country. As a business owner, you need to think about how the minute details, from words and phrases to colors and images, will be perceived by a new audience in terms of cultural meanings and associations. Offending an audience by using a marketing campaign that doesn’t factor local politics or religious beliefs into account could be devastating to your success.

Utilize tools to streamline your efforts

It’s important to be methodical when you’re entering a new market – adopting the right tools is key to success, particularly where localization is concerned. Tools like Translation Management Systems that are adapted to your business can help streamline your workflow and ensure a higher level of translation quality. Likewise, you’ll need to develop a local IT infrastructure that is compatible with your current set-up. Before you launch, consider how you will work and the processes you’ll need to go through, so you can research the tools that will make those tasks easier to achieve.

A coworking space in Paris.

Establish operations overseas

It’s beneficial to reach out to overseas advisers so you can gain a thorough understanding of how to set up and operate your business in the current economy. Do this before you make any decisions regarding establishing your business, as you need to understand the local tax and compliance work before you can expand overseas. An international business consultant can help you evaluate foreign distributors, if you’re unsure where to begin.

Prepare your final budget

When you’ve carried out the previous steps, you should have sufficient data to develop a budget that is both aggressive yet sustainable. It’s a good idea to perform quarterly reviews, as well as taking the time to develop short-term and long-term budgets that will help you when it comes to clear reporting.

Conclusion

For many businesses, global expansion is the ultimate sign of success, but it’s important to consider your business’ needs and how it will be received by a new market before you make this part of your strategic plan.

Entering the global arena can help you minimize the risk of changes to the domestic market and it can significantly improve your growth potential, but it’s important to take the right steps in preparing beforehand to enhance your chances of success.