Five tips for successfully taking your business global

Posted: 15th March 2017 15:08

The thought of taking your business international, of seeing your logo plastered around the world and welcoming new customers from far-flung corners of the globe, is a tempting one.

While you’re happy enough to waste hours daydreaming about your future corporate empire, actually taking the first steps to turn that fantasy into reality isn’t so easy.

Because despite knowing all about the incredible and inspiring successes of unicorn startups like Uber and Airbnb, it’s the horror stories about the many more failed businesses of recent years that really play on your mind.

We get it, taking risks with your fragile company is scary.

But we also know that by not giving it a go, you could be missing out on the chance to become the next Snapchat.

To help you get the ball rolling on your plan for global domination, we’re sharing five steps for successfully expanding your business. Take a look.

#1: get a plan in order

Planning, planning and more planning is the way to ensure you don’t end up making a mistake you could have avoided.

Take your time. Think about what you hope to achieve and undergo thorough foreign market research to pinpoint the countries you’ll target first.

#2: speak to a UKTI advisor

UK Trade and Investment advisors are there to offer all businesses guidance on trading internationally.
As well as putting on training and networking sessions, they regularly post and share export opportunities up for grabs. Checking out their website should be one your first steps, if only for the reassurance you’ll feel knowing they’re there to help.

#3: get your finances in order

From manoeuvring local tax systems to the exhausting task of figuring out currency exchange rates, keeping your finances in shape as you start trading across different markets is a challenge.

We recommend opening an offshore bank account with a firm, like Offshore Consultants, that’s experienced in working with international businesses. They’ll be able to guide you on the right option for your needs.

#4: start small

Don’t get caught up inthe excitement of seeing progress and attempt to do it all at once. You’ll only end up spreading yourself too thin.

Be patient and only take on one market at a time. Evaluate progress constantly as you go, and don’t move on to a new location until you’re sure you’ve got everything under control.

#5: be sensitive to cultural differences

What worked for your business at home, won’t necessarily hit the mark everywhere else.

Be aware of and sensitive towards cultural differences when it comes to branding, marketing and packaging (including sticking to the varying legal requirements on what needs to be clearly labelled on certain kinds of products).

Taking a business global is always risky, but by following our top tips and staying focused you’ll soon be joining the ranks of super successful unicorn startups.