How to Build a Global Business Out of India
Expanding your business overseas can be a herculean task but as they say patience and hard work always yield the best results
Gone are the days when Indian start-ups largely focussed only on growth on their home turfs. The last decade has seen multiple Indian startups establishing a footprint across the globe. Going global means a larger business opportunity, an expanded customer base and new markets to tap into which in turn create additional revenue opportunities for emerging businesses.
Taking your emerging business global is a dynamic process. But if well planned and executed, it can take the business to scale new heights. It is extremely important to lay a strong foundation before venturing out in the international markets. Strong market research, understanding the existing landscape and competitors and most importantly the local dynamics at play are some of the core things to focus on when setting up an international business.
In my opinion, when you’re a firm looking to expand internationally, it is extremely important to bear in mind the following –
Before going global, it is extremely necessary to deep dive in the current market situation of your target country and understands the local dynamics. Basics like VISA requirements, setup costs and a strong understanding of local laws cannot be ignored while setting up the business. The next obvious part of your research should be around understanding the current demand of your offering in the new market, the pivot/modifications required to make your product successful in the new market and the competitive landscape. Performing a proper due diligence will help in understanding the impact of expansion on the business and will help in taking wiser decisions.
Bridging the Gap Caused by Cultural Differences
Understanding the local culture in a foreign market not only helps in fostering effective communication but also demonstrates a strong intent to invest in the local market. Being unaware of the cultural differences could potentially cause some setbacks especially in your initial days of set up. For instance, content that is acceptable in one country might be a taboo or banned in another country. In digital advertising, Indonesia has restrictions around themes like black magic, which might seem bizarre for India - but at the same time a tobacco advertising might be acceptable - which is banned in India.
Localization in International Markets
As they say, the more personalized your product is, the more universal it gets. In today’s world, adaption to the local language, needs, culture while expanding in foreign markets has become imperative. It is necessary to focus on localization while going global in the initial planning process. For example, language support, local currency support are some of the critical factors that should be built-in. Most standard software frameworks support internationalisation and globalization by externalizing user messages, error messages, etc. and if planned from the beginning, it could reduce a lot of effort for development teams to do this.
Local Tie-Ups and Hiring
Locals are keyed in their culture and understand their markets like no one else. This helps them offer a better connect with your potential customer base. Most customers, especially in the initial stages, prefer dealing with a local resource and as they build trust with your organisation over time, that equation typically goes from "Let us sample you" to "How else can you add value”. Also hiring locally strongly demonstrates your intent of investing in that market and that is a strong indicator of your confidence in the market and its people. Hence, hiring the right talent or identifying people in your team who can dedicate a lot of time in those geographies can be useful.
Marketing & Brand Building
While the internet has been a boon to businesses looking at international expansion, it is imperative that you do F2F meetings with your potential customers especially if your business is B2B. If your business is more B2C than your obvious choice is digital as it is a vast medium & enables businesses to reach out to its target audience at a fraction of a cost. Even within offline or online, one must assess the most impactful mediums/vehicles that are prevalent in the local market and select the aptest one for your communication. While activations are tedious but a great way for you to get your target consumers a real touch and feel of your brand/ service/ product. Also meeting up with the local media, using local influencers for better brand communications, setting up closed-door events can pave the roadway to success for better brand familiarization.
Expanding your business overseas can be a herculean task but as they say patience and hard work always yield the best results. Hence it is safe to say by paying attention to details and by chalking out a proper plan, the difficult job of “going global” can produce great results.