Are you looking for opportunities to expand your business overseas?
If the answer is yes, it is likely that you will already have had some initial thoughts about the concept you are looking to export, and how you plan to achieve it.
However, while the concept is one thing, the planning and execution is another entirely. In our latest guide - A Leader’s Guide to Expanding Overseas - we share our own advice, as well as top tips from Laurent Houlier and John Blaskey, authors of Exporting: Key Considerations For International Business Growth.
Read on for a snapshot of the five key areas to tackle when expanding overseas - areas which can maximise your chances of international success.
1. Establish the “why” - and sell in the plan
As a starting point, take an objective look at your business in your home market. This will involve analysing its history and culture, how it is run, the backgrounds of your managers, and how the business fits into the local, regional and national marketplace. Analyse the way things work at home, and you can build a clearer picture of how things will work abroad, as well as being able to communicate plans better with your team.
Laurent says, “Ensuring that you have this clarity up front will enable you to shape your strategy, scale your expectations, and determine which resources you need.”
2. Do your research on the new market
Both primary (your own bespoke research) and secondary (analysis of existing sources) research will allow you to understand your new marketplace and target customer, as well as enabling you to understand how your brand and your product are likely to be received. One of the biggest dangers in exporting overseas is failing to research thoroughly.
For more on researching your overseas target market, download our guide in full.
As John says in our report, “This research will determine your strategy. However, it is also important to remember that assumption can hinder your chances of success.”
3. Approach exporting with an open mind
Adapting to your new market is not just about having the right product in the right place - it is also about having the right approach. By having a local team on the ground, you will not only be able to build up relationships with customers, suppliers and third parties more easily, you will also gain a better understanding of any linguistic or cultural differences that could potentially be problematic.
On the subject of language, Laurent explains, “All of these different languages and language variants lead to different behaviours, cultures and perceptions which must be accepted. If you are planning to export with a view to bend the market to your needs, you are very unlikely to succeed.”
4. Go niche - consider using trade organisations
In our guide, we set out five different approaches to overseas expansion. However, remember that while it can be tempting to go for a blanket approach, assuming that everybody could potentially be interested in your product, there are dangers involved in failing to target accurately. This is why John believes that finding the right niche is vital to your success - and he shares how trade organisations can make this happen.
For peer and mentor support with your overseas expansion, join Vistage today.
“Membership will enable you to identify niche opportunities overseas”, he says, “as well as to establish industry connections and gain valuable industry knowledge."
5. Find people to support your strategy, not just the paperwork
It is vital to have your existing team on board when exporting overseas, but the people you need for the task will fall into three different categories: existing internal staff, outside third parties, and local hires. There are plenty of factors to consider when deciding which internal team members to involve in the project, from native language skills to knowledge of the native market. External support could include anyone from shipping companies to translators to accountants, while hiring a local team on the ground will show your target market that you are serious about making a success of your new overseas venture.
To learn more from both Vistage and our experts about these key considerations for businesses looking to expand overseas, download our full report here.
Looking to expand overseas? Join Vistage today, and benefit from advice and support from peers who have been in the same position.
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