Source: Unsplash | Samuel Zeller
When it comes to international markets, preparation is everything. This might be in the form of international research or making small adjustments to your product so it complies with local regulations. In this article, we will look at a variety of what is needed to be prepared if your company is going to successfully expand overseas.
First and foremost is international research itself. Markets can differ massively abroad. In-depth market research needs to show you how they specifically differ to the domestic market you are currently based in. If you were to take it for granted that these markets are going to respond similarly to your product, you can end up with a failed expansion. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you know fully what you’re getting yourself into.
The next step is to build a business plan around this ‘deep dive’ of information you’ve discovered. Your plan should outline a short term, medium term and long term plan for the business abroad, with clearly defined goals and objectives for each of these time frames. There might be enough similarities for you to incorporate segments of your original business plan when you were planning to enter your domestic market, however, it’s important that this new plan isn’t slavishly based on your original plan: the research you have undertaken needs to come first.
The next step is to make your product ready for whichever market you are wishing to export it to. This means making sure it is complying with things such as government regulations, correct/tangible translation of the product name, securing international patents, etc. You may need to get new certification for your product depending on what market you’re based in. This should be well researched, as these sorts of costs are the ones that are most likely to take a business by surprise, and if it’s not calculated into costs, it can destabilize the whole international expansion.
Also linked to this ‘product readiness’ is the distribution network. In other words, who specifically is going to sell this product? Your international expansion might be a simple case of exporting only. Or if you are wishing to establish your actual company out there more, you may want more of a part to play in distribution and selling. Either way, local logistics need to be considered. Either in terms of understanding how distributors are going to use your exports, or understanding how you can make distribution the most effective for yourself.