The dream of every small business is to grow beyond your own shores, but it comes with many challenges.
Not only will you face language barriers and time differences, but your business model can take a different shape when it expands globally. For a business to sustain itself on a global scale, it needs team members that understand the brand. This bottom-up approach enables key developments to stay constant across cultures.
For those of you wondering how to take the next step and grow your business globally, follow the four tips below:
1. Develop firm foundations.
If you're thinking of expansion, ask yourself if your company has a solid local foundation first. Do you have enough resources and a solid local crew to juggle an overseas venture while maintaining your current customer base?
These people are not your typical employees but human assets who have been hired for their ambition and vast entrepreneurial potential. These are your changemakers and social innovators who see what you see, and will be ready to push things forward to accomplish your company’s vision. With a solid team, you can then forge a strong vision to ensure you have the financial and structural stability locally and in due time set sights for expansion globally.
2. Expand your vision.
In recent years, companies have been looking to emerging markets like Asia. As some of the fastest growing economies, this has opened up many new markets for ventures seeking global expansion. Take Singapore, for example, which has been ranked world's second best business hub in PWC Cities of Opportunities report.
According to the report, Singapore was ranked highly because of its economic and social indicators such as technological readiness, ease of doing business, demographics and livability. As such, Singapore has become a hotspot for many companies looking to expand, raising the country's importance as a gateway to Southeast Asia. A simple market study can help you decide whether your business will thrive in specific countries or cities.
3. Consult global experts.
Expanding your business globally is hard, and it pays to have specialized consultants. As an example, Pura Vida Concepts, a Singapore-based consultancy focuses on helping small businesses around the world expand into all parts of Asia. The CEO, Nimrod Gabriel, created the company with a vision that would enable small businesses with a global outlook to achieve better opportunities abroad. According to Gabriel, “Having a local expert is crucial when it comes to expansion. Not only are we able to provide companies with localized solutions for logistics, marketing and local representation, we also understand the local market and culture to help you adapt your business for a smooth expansion."
It is important to note that a product or system that works well locally may not have the same appeal overseas. That is why consulting local experts can help you better determine the demand.
4. Penetrate markets effectively.
As a small company, your budget can be a big concern when expanding globally. However, penetrating global markets doesn't always have to come at a hefty cost. For starters, begin to penetrate the market with your brand by using the right technology and marketing strategy to bring about a local brand presence. With the widespread use of technology and social media, you can reach global coverage without actually going through the bureaucratic hassle of incorporation in that country.
If budget is a concern, it's good to have a narrow approach when expanding globally. If you are planning to target southeast Asia, then start in one country, not all of them. This helps you develop local brand recognition before spreading yourself too thin.
Choosing the right strategies to expand globally depend on the type of business you own. Remember to always do your due diligence when working abroad. Global expansion is a big challenge and decision. It requires time and appropriate business assessment before moving forward.