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Preparing your startup for international expansion
While people often try to apply generic rules to all startup ventures, the fact remains that these entities are not created equal.
So, although it’s usually sound advice to suggest that entrepreneurs strive to establish their brand locally before expanding overseas, there are instances when this is arguably counterproductive.
After all, it’s not unknown for firms to offer products or services that have a more defined target audience overseas, while your startup may also benefit from first-hand knowledge of international expertise.
If you are going to expand your business overseas, however, you’ll need to ensure that you’re fully prepared. Here are some of the key considerations.
Consider the marketplace and your likely competitors
While you may be treading new ground when establishing your business overseas, you’ll need to adhere to many of the basic rules surrounding core disciplines such as marketing.
More specifically, you’ll need to fully appraise the nature of the market that you’re heading into, while considering variables such as consumer demand, pricing and the level of competitiveness that exists.
The latter point is particularly important, as you’ll need to evaluate your most likely competitors and their existing market share. This allows you to understand the full scope of the challenge ahead, while helping you to cost and define your marketing activities before you expand.
How will you market your brand?
Once you’ve gained an insight into the market and your available budget, you’ll need to determine precisely how you intend to promote your business. This is crucial, you must cultivate a marketing strategy that negates any number of potential cultural, linguistic and behavioural challenges.
Make no mistake — even the biggest corporations have been responsible for epic global branding fails, from Ford and Ikea to the iconic Coca-Cola.
From errors in translation to cultural faux pas, these misunderstandings can undermine the potential of your brand overseas and prevent from succeeding in the international market.
This is particularly the case for smaller businesses, you may only get one chance to make an impression and must strike the right cord with their marketing efforts.
Measure any increase in operational costs
Finally, it’s important to understand how international expansion will impact on your businesses operational costs. After all, this is one of the main reasons why so many experts advice companies to avoid expanding overseas, as many do so without possessing the revenues to sustain organic growth.
One of the main areas of focus for product-focused brands such be logistics, expanding into new markets will increase the cost of shipping products and building effective distribution networks.
It’s definitely to partner with a courier that can deliver international parcels at competitive costs, while you’ll also need to build relationships with local service providers in targeted regions.
Featured image: langll via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)
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