International Expansion: What a Business Needs to Do and What to Worry About

There is hesitation by those founders of a business in certain niches when asked if they want to expand internationally. Expanding to an English speaking country like Australia or the UK is not as large of an undertaking due to similar cultures. Expanding to a country like Hungary could be much more difficult as, while many people speak English, there are quite a few that do not. Business customs can also differ around the globe, as being late for a meeting in a South American country will not be taken as seriously as being late to a meeting in the US or Germany. Meeting times in South America are a general timeline rather than a deadline to be at the meeting. Other customs around the globe include having a cup of tea before doing any business. Refusing this cup of tea can be seen as an insult, and business will likely go no further for those that are more traditional. 

Managing Calls From Around the World

Managing calls from around the world can be difficult with the multitude of languages spoken. Trying out a call routing software can allow a company to effectively manage these calls from around the world. This can be especially important when trying to deal with customer service, as the customer could already be frustrated. Make sure to include on the website the different extensions for different countries that you serve. A list of international customer service numbers can be a great help for those looking for the number where they can find help. 

The Market in Your New Location

There are plenty of businesses that did well domestically in the US that flopped due to misreading the market in a new country. Setting up a test location that might be smaller or with less staff is wise to see if the market is healthy. Market research can also be done; but, before making a big investment, be honest about whether you think the expansion will work or it is just being done so the company looks more global. The last thing any business wants to do is cripple cash flow for its original location with a new international location, leading them both to fail. 

Exchange Rate Being Favorable 

The exchange rate being favorable can be a huge advantage for a new international location. For example, a digital marketing company located in Bulgaria selling to clients in the EU would most likely be extremely profitable. The cost of living there is quite low, as well as their tax rate, so it is a great place to headquarter a business for tax purposes. Take into consideration whether the local market can handle pricing that is comparable to the US. In some cases, it can be more hassle than profit in areas with a very unfavorable exchange rate to the USD.

Marketing in a New Country 

Marketing in a new country will take an entirely different psychology than that of the United States. We can see the differences in commercials between the US and Japan or even countries in the EU. Understanding the psychology of the consumer in a specific location might require the business to hire a marketer in their new country. Over time, the company will understand how to deliver the best ROI on marketing campaigns in their new country; but, in the beginning, leave it to a local!

International expansion is a risk but it can also take a company’s profits to the next level. Evaluate whether your business is or ever will be ready for international expansion.

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