As the eurozone economy continues to improve after years of financial downturn, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating across the UK have reported a rise in business confidence that is encouraging firms to consider a brighter future.
Not only are companies feeling more positive about their current operations, hiring more staff and becoming generally more relaxed after the difficult period, there has also been a marked rise in firms looking to expand their business on an international level.
According to research carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit last year, nearly one-third of medium-sized US firms are seeking growth through geographical expansion, with more than half of these planning to launch themselves in emerging markets such as Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Although this type of expansion could lead to unrivalled success for your business, it is imperative to have an effective strategy in place before tackling new markets.
Read on for a series of things to consider while planning the international expansion of your company.
Stay focused on priorities
There is a need to examine global demand for your product and service ahead of making that all-important step to overseas markets. On top of this, you need to figure out some factors that are unique to your offering and will therefore set you apart from your competition.
Consider your surroundings
Initially, it is vital for managers to take a step back from the situation and think about if your company is ready and the time is right. Although doing so is much easier nowadays than in previous years – thanks in large part to the internet and convergence of markets – expansion can still be draining on resources that are needed elsewhere.
It is also vital to ensure you already have an established business in one geographic market, which is profitable enough to finance the expansion process.
Ask the experts
Accountants and legal professionals that are based in your target market can provide a valid insight into whether or not now is a good time to invest. These individuals can also help you to register your firm with the appropriate authorities and make sure you are complying with local regulations.
SMEs could save money on communicating with experts before they visit their target market by planning an international conference call, which will help them build a relationship with the official without the need to travel.
Send your best people
The members of staff you send to your new market to establish the company should be the best available. This way, you can rest assured that the job is being carried out to the highest possible standard.
It could also be a good idea to find some locally-based talent who will offer something new and exciting to your overseas operations.
Be true to your aims
While it is important to stay true to your vision when setting up your company abroad, it is also recommended that you remain willing to be lenient and are open to suggestions from those in the know about how the international market works.
Companies that succeed overseas usually keep their overall strategy and goals constant, yet adapt their tactics to the country they are evolving in.
Give your dreams time
As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue – and SMEs should be sure to live by this rule when setting up their business abroad. Do not be worried if you do not see an immediate return on your investment, as it could take some time before you really start to enjoy the benefits of international expansion.