International Expansion - Challenges And Solutions

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International Expansion - Challenges and Solutions

­Creating a strong international presence is rarely as simple as telling your customers you ship overseas and then waiting for the sales to roll in. There are numerous things to think about when selling and marketing in another country, and these factors must be considered carefully. Ask yourself the following 3 questions to determine whether your business is really ready to expand.

[1] Have I ensured that a customer base exists in the country or countries I want to enter?

[2] Is the foreign market I'm looking at compatible with my own market?

[3] Do I have the available resources and staff to focus on both expansion and my established business?

The challenges of international business could be many but few of the prominent being - Language and cultural barriers, Tax codes and compliance issues, Slower pace due to red-taping, Local competition etc.

Try these solutions to tackle such questions and challenges -

[.] Always do your due diligence. Any major business decision requires taking the time to think through all possible scenarios based on your business' strengths and weaknesses, but this is especially important for international expansion. "Research each aspect of your business strategy," Lee said. "Explore alternatives and safeguards. Do as much as you can to understand the markets you are entering, and take your time to get it right."

[.] Find the right partner(s).When you're expanding your business, it's critical that you don't try to go it alone. Even if your "partner" is in the form of a mentor, you'll need the help of someone you trust, who can vouch for you in the country or countries you're looking to break into. You need someone who has a passion for your brand, understands ... the local market, has experience in the [industry], has capital needed to grow, and ideally has additional businesses where he or she can leverage shared resources.

[.] Hire a great team. The need for help "on the ground" also extends into your hiring practices. The people you hire to deal with your overseas business partners and customers must be fully immersed in the local environment, but you also need to be sure they'll be looking out for your interests. Without a core team on your side with the necessary cultural, language and local business contacts, you'll be competitively disadvantaged.

[.] Remain consistent in branding, but adapt to the environment. Varying cultural norms and customer needs in foreign countries may require you to adjust your sales approach, or even your whole product. Allow appropriate localization and flexibility to adhere to local customs and customer needs. One of the key areas to adjust is with [material] sourcing. If you can maintain quality, local sourcing has the opportunity to improve cost margins and supply-chain reliability.

[.] Effective Communication with the Parent Company and Leadership. You need to find the ways and means to conduct effective communication and transaction with your parent company and leadership. As in the initial days of the operations in overseas business a lot would be dependent upon your parent entity. Use recent technological methods to cut have real-time, fast and effective communication. With the technology you will also be able to cut the cost of travelling.

Credits : Nicole Fallon @ Business News Daily.