Expanding your business is a very exciting time, but there are so many things that you need to consider to make it a success.
Don’t rush into this process, if you invest some money and time to make sure you get it right, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
1. Sit Down With Your Financial Team
The very first thing you need to do before seriously considering international expansion for your business is to sit down with your financial team. The last thing you want is to expand before you are ready financially and do undo all of the progress you originally made with your business. When you expand, if all goes well, demand will go up massively and you need to make sure that you have the capacity to deal with that, which will mean investing a significant amount of money in new equipment and storage, as well as more staff.
You will also need to invest in more insurance (which we will move on in more detail), which is something you need to account for. Overall, before you make any decisions, a completely new financial plan for your expansion needs to be established to make sure that you have the finances to make this a success.
2. Focus On Expanding In One Country
Once you know that you are in a position financially to expand, you should decide on one country to trial the expansion in first. Jumping into it straight away with lots of different locations is likely to cause issues and it will be very overwhelming.
So, focus on one country first, get used to the process as everything will be very different, learn from the experience and go from there. When your business is thriving, mass expansion may be tempting, but don’t take too much on at once.
3. Conduct A Thorough Market Analysis
Next up, you need to conduct a thorough market analysis for the countries you will be targeting. You may have found that there is some interest in your business or product in particular countries, but there is a big difference between interest and actual demand. So, a full market analysis is essential, especially if you need to set up infrastructure abroad to make your business a success there.
You should do an analysis of your competition abroad, your projections for the business, look at regulations you need to comply with, and evaluate the demand for your product. Every country and culture is very different, so you can’t automatically assume that your business will be a success.
4. Make Sure Your Website Is Set Up Correctly For Expansion
Now you’ve decided that your business is viable in a particular territory, you need to make sure that your website is up to scratch. You’ll definitely need to work with an experienced web developer here, and also an SEO agency, to make sure that everything is done correctly. You need to make sure that there is either a separate subdomain set up or subdirectories so that the user in the new targeted territory has a unique experience in their country.
This will also need to include either a currency or language converter that automatically selects the right options for that particular country. You don’t want users in other countries to feel like they are having to make do with a website that wasn’t designed for their particular language or currency, so spend time getting this part right and it can significantly increase the success of your international website.
5. Invest In The Right Insurance
Last but not least, you need to invest in the right insurance for your business. You really need to protect your business when trading internationally, as you are likely to run into so many issues that you don’t necessarily face when trading domestically. So, work with an experienced broker to make sure you have the right cover.
This might mean working with credit insurance brokers if you work on a credit basis, international professional indemnity insurance, political risk insurance and so much more. This will differ quite significantly depending on the nature of your business, so work with a broker to make sure you get the cover that you need to protect yourself and your business.
Expansion is a great thing for business, and it can take your company to a whole new level, but without the right preparation and investment, it can be very hard on a business. However, if you simply take your time with this to make sure that it is the right time for your company and that the market is stable, this could be just what your business needs. Work with industry experts to give you the guidance you need to get this right the first time around.