Expand Your Horizons: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for a Global Expansion

Running a business is an exciting venture, and as your company continues to grow, there are certain checkpoints you’ll hit along the way.

You’ve mastered the art of continual growth, and because of that, you’re now considering other ways to grow. As such, you might be considering taking your business outside of the nation’s walls. You might be thinking about global expansion.

If so, then congratulations! You’ve reached a point in your business that few people get to. Now how do you go about it the right way?

Here are several ways that you can prepare your business to have success in markets outside of your home country.

1. Research the Avenues for Growth

Many business owners make the mistake of letting their eyes get larger than their stomachs. Of course, you would want to integrate your business into several different countries at a time, who wouldn’t?

However, there is a reason that successful companies only choose a country or two to expand into at one time… Because they’ve done the research.

Before you start naming off countries that are on your travel bucket list, you need to consider what’s best for your business. 

Perform the proper research in order to gain an understanding of which markets would be best for your company to set up shop into. 

What is the size? Is there a barrier to entry? what’s the labor costs? Are the materials and resources that your products need in good supply there?

Is there a legitimate need for your product in those markets? What global branding tactics will you need to appeal to the marketplace?

2. Form a Business Plan

Remember that business plan that you put together way back when you first started this company? Well, it’s time to make a new one.

This will help you view the global expansion process for what it actually is: you’re starting from scratch. Your company’s current brand identity means nothing to the new market you’re stepping into.

For that reason, you need to find a way to drive success within the confines of the new market. 

Think of short term and long term goals and strategies. Can you replicate your company’s current business structure or will it have to be adjusted? What does the budget look like for this expansion?

Now that you have that, set some dates next to all that needs to be accomplished. This will give you a time window to check off each goal and financial “checkpoint” along the way.

3. Use Local Experts

You can perform all the research in the world, but there will be things about your new location that you won’t find out until you get immersed in the culture.

The only way to get yourself out in front of that is by using local experts. People who know the market and culture best because they’ve lived it.

They can give you advice on several things such as marketing, content strategy, production, distribution, where to locate your office, etc.

Whatever advice that they give you, be sure to follow it step by step. You’ll learn how to tweak certain things as you go, but for now, consider their word to be absolute and do everything they say.

4. Prepare an Expansion Team From Within

This might possibly be the biggest mistake that companies make as they try to expand globally. 

In an effort to tie into the culture and local market, they hire a local team to do their bidding. But try to remember what got you to where you are today. It wasn’t the market, it was your in-house talent.

It’s more advantageous to use in-house talent and have them serve as the “beachhead team” of your expansion endeavor. 

Because they know the ins and outs of your business, they can learn more about the local market and make adjustments to your already successful formula.

For example, they can find a local marketing agency to outsource marketing needs as the new location starts out. 

They can also play a heavy hand in the permanent team that you start to build from local businessmen and businesswomen. This eliminates the miscommunication that might start out between you and new team members.

Your beachhead team can help with the onboarding of those you hire and make sure all your favorite business practices are integrated into their day to day.

5. Learn the Local Language

If your business doesn’t adapt to the local language, then you might be in for a marketing nightmare down the road.

Different words mean different things in different languages. For example, say your marketing slogan is “Find the perfect gift for your loved one”.

Well, the word “gift” actually means poison in German. So, if you were to try and expand into the German marketplace with that same slogan, it would read “Find the perfect poison for your loved one”.

While no one expects you to personally understand the language when starting the expansion project, it’s important that you begin to. 

Just as importantly, make sure you’re placing people in charge that also understand the local language of the market you’re stepping into.

Ready Your Business for Global Expansion!

Now that you’ve seen all the different ways you can ready yourself for a successful global expansion, it’s time to get things started.

Make sure to apply the research that you find into all of the other steps in this process along the way. Align yourself with people who care as deeply about this project as you do.

Be sure to browse our site for other business-related topics, as well as other important topics.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.