What does it it mean to “go global” with your business? Is it expanding your product and services overseas? Networking with international client bases, and vendors? Increasing global awareness and understanding of cultural diversity? The answer is, all of the above.
Below are a few strategies to help prepare your business for international expansion and prepare you to be a global leader.
Scout the location
Take a business trip (or a vacation) and go visit the location you are considering expanding your business to. This is will give you a first hand account of the people you will be doing business with and any cultural or governmental barriers your business will face.
Assess the market
Ask, is there a large consumer base to receive what your business has to offer? “If you build it, they will come” may have worked in Field of Dreams, but when it comes to being an entrepreneur, a viable market must be established first. In other words; “if you build it…they need to already be there.” If there isn’t a pre-existing market available, or if it seems too small to put your confidence in, don’t give up. Networking is an invaluable resource when it comes to expanding your business, whether it’s local or international. The more connections you make with overseas associates, friends, and business partners, the more opportunity you have to raise awareness about your business and increase your market.
Research the culture
When bringing your business to a foreign country, you need to be familiar with their culture and customs, to know whether or not your business will be well received. For example, when McDonald’s expanded to India, they had to make some major changes to their menu…such as removing the Big Mac from it. The cow is sacred in the Hindu religion, so a fast food restaurant that prides itself in selling beef hamburgers will not be a popular (or even permitted) establishment. In order to “go global,” Mcdonald’s had to forfeit their namesake meal and change their patty recipes to vegetarian ingredients only. The company was willing to make those changes, but you need to decide ahead of time what sacrifices and adaptations you are willing to make.
Be a bridge-builder
Evaluate whether your business will be a benefit to the community or direct competition for local merchants and vendors. Becoming a global business leader means building bridges that enhance cross-cultural relationships. Your success overseas will be a reflection of your ability to work with the culture and people your business is serving. Running local artisans out of business is certainly not a positive way to expand your company, especially if you desire to gain a loyal following of customers. A successful international business model is one that provides opportunity and resources for the people it serves.
Going global with your business is more than just expanding to the international market, it is a mindset that every business leader should strive to develop. Becoming more globally aware will allow you to do business better. If you are considering expanding your business internationally and want to increase your ability to network and test out the market, consider partnering expanding to a virtual office. YourOffice has come alongside hundreds of businesses looking for everything from plug and play offices to full service virtual offices. Contact YourOffice to help you create a flexible and customizable business model that will allow you to spend more time building relationships and gaining cultural experiences.