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Top 6 tips on how to expand your business overseas

Businessman standing with arms raised in front of a large building in a foreign market.

Is international expansion the next big move for your business venture?

If you’re dreaming of the possibilities for growth that go along with getting your products or services into new markets, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of new business considerations. What are the best new target markets for your business? How will their laws affect the way you do business? How do you put together the right team for your new markets? What is the best way to work with the cultural differences that will surely emerge?

Expanding overseas is a great business opportunity for enterprises

Going international is an exciting journey that can produce results for entrepreneurs who are ready to commit to their business’s expansion and try something new, but it’s not without challenges. Keep reading to get our top six tips for expanding your business overseas!

Do your market research before entering new markets

There’s just no way around it! You'll need to do significant market research in order to achieve a successful international expansion. The international markets you have your eye on may vary significantly from your domestic market, so you’ll need to look into the factors that will affect your potential for expansion in different countries in order to identify which target markets are the best fit for your business.

International expansion comes with many challenges

Beyond identifying target customers in these new markets, you’ll also need to be aware of any potential drawbacks that may come from operating in certain markets. From logistical challenges to legal and cultural factors, there are lots of things that may impact your new business model. While you should do as much research as you can on your own, we also recommend using B2BeeMatch to network with trusted professionals who work in your new target markets.

Learn about the legal and taxation structures

Each country’s laws and taxation structures vary greatly, so it’s important to become familiar with the laws and obligations your business will become subject to when going international. Consider packaging regulations and language laws, applicable trade laws, as well as the permits and licensing you’ll need. Each country has its own set of rules.

Every overseas country has rules and regulations your business will have to follow

Make sure to do your due diligence so you can be as compliant with local rules as possible while you’re becoming familiar with the new local business landscape. In addition, we also recommend using B2BeeMatch to connect with trusted legal professionals who know your new target markets.

Pay attention to your finances

Expanding your business globally as quickly as possible sounds like a good idea until you realize that you may need to seriously adapt your business model in order to access new potential markets. With this in mind, choose carefully based on the adaptations you’re willing to make and how much risk is acceptable to you.

Trusted experts can help you understand and manage risk

If a particular potential market is still on your mind even when it doesn’t appear to be the safest business decision, consider exploring it only after you achieve success in other new markets. And, when you do, make sure to use B2BeeMatch to connect with trusted financial professionals who can help you assess and manage the risks related to entering your new target markets.

Hire an international team

Finding people to represent your business in a new market is a key part of establishing yourself there. One recommendation is to work with proven senior interim executives to get started, and have these executives hire a local permanent leadership team. You’ll need to use your parent company’s administrative resources to get established, but you can reallocate responsibilities to a local team once it’s been formed in your new market.

Local knowledge is the key to expanding your business overseas

Make sure to take great care in assigning these first international representatives. Choosing the wrong people can significantly impact your ability to make important connections, harm your company’s reputation in new markets, and limit your potential for international growth. We recommend connecting with trusted HR and recruitment professionals on B2BeeMatch—they can help you find the right people in your new markets.

Plan for cultural differences

Cultural norms around work vary greatly from country to country, so be sure to include these in your research—and be ready to learn new and surprising things on the ground, too. Be aware that the habits and conventions that you take for granted around the pace of your business, appropriate greetings, job titles and more may not work in all settings.

Adapting your communication style will help you succeed in your new target market

One example of cultural differences to keep in mind when expanding your business overseas is the prevailing communication style in your new markets. Do people tend to express themselves in direct or indirect ways? This is important because being perceived as “too direct” can leave people feeling disrespected, while a style that is seen as “too indirect” may cause confusion and leave people unclear on expectations. There is no correct level of directness, and miscommunications happen in any workplace, but coming into a new setting with an understanding of regional norms will help you better communicate with your new team.

So, look into communication styles, views on work-life balance, and other cultural factors as you prepare to expand your business overseas. While cultural differences may pose new challenges as you grow internationally, always remember that this diversity is also a valuable resource. And, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage this aspect of your international expansion, we recommend using B2BeeMatch to connect with trusted management consulting professionals in your new markets.

Get to know local businesses

There are always lots of great reasons to get to know your competitors, but we think this becomes even more important when you’re establishing yourself in a new market. Introduce yourself to local business leaders to get insights into the work culture and local market opportunities you would otherwise never learn about—learning who their target customers are can even help give you an idea of the market share you can work towards.

Connecting online can help your business succeed overseas

Meeting and talking to local business leaders on the ground is one surefire way of inserting yourself into a new market. However, meeting and talking to local business leaders online before you ever set foot in your new market is a more accessible way to get to know local businesses. Connecting with trusted professionals on B2BeeMatch is a great way to learn about the work culture and local market opportunities—and it can help you avoid awkward moments and costly mistakes once you finally arrive in your new markets.

International expansion is serious business

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when planning to expand your business overseas. While it’s not something to take lightly, it is also important to not let yourself be overwhelmed by the possibilities. Going global is not the dream for every entrepreneur, but if you have a product or service that’s improving people’s lives, of course you’ll want to share it with as many people as possible!

That was our top 6 tips for expanding your business overseas

We hope these tips help bring you success with your overseas business expansions. We know that being an international business can help you achieve your business goals and grow your customer base to a whole new level. In addition, we believe that international expansion can not only introduce your business to the world, it can give you new perspectives on the world and help you grow in new and exciting ways. We wish you all the best in your journey!

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