The early days of a business are a challenging, rewarding time. You face different issues every day, and finding solutions that turn those challenges into opportunities takes up the majority of your time. As you vault these hurdles, your business grows in strength and confidence: you acquire customers, boost your revenue and find your place in the local marketplace.
Facing the day to day challenges in those early days is how you develop your business. When, after months have passed and you’ve created an assured place for yourself in the market, you need to put more thought into how your business grows. It needs to be the result of conscious planning, or you run the risk of serious failure – attempts at growing into new areas that you don’t plan for properly can turn into costly mistakes. Even successful growth, if it’s not structured can overwhelm your core business, and damage your brand.
One of the ways many businesses grow over the years is to widen their focus, developing from relying on a market local to the area in which they set up, to commanding a national or even global reach. You have to plan carefully to do this successfully, and you can’t do it blind! One of the most important things you can do is partner with experts to get a portfolio of international research so you’re basing your expansion plans on good data and clear insights.
A market research agency can help you determine the demand for your brand in the international markets you are targeting (or help you identify which markets would be best to target!). If there’s no demand, then even in the best-case scenario, you’re faced with an expensive uphill struggle to find a place for your brand. The same market research agency can also test your advertising against the audience in this new area. A simple translation may not get you the best results – if your branding doesn’t chime with the values of the people you’re marketing to, you’ll new creative elements altogether.
The next step is to talk to lawyers, accountants and expert business consultants for advice. If you don’t manage your sales into your new market correctly, you could find yourself paying too much tax (or too little, with fines and penalties in your future), trying to sell products that aren’t compliant with local laws, or not paying the right duty as you import items for sale. It’s not unknown for customers to receive, not the product they ordered, but a demand for customs duties before it can be released, and this unexpected addition to the price can sour customers to your brand before you have a chance to get started.
Planning and preparation help you avoid these pitfalls and make the move from a local business to a global one in a sustainable, successful way.