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Increase Business With International Customers

...One product at a time. Boost business with a global customer base.

This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If the Tears for Fears song is true, everybody wants to rule the world. OK, maybe it's not exactly world domination you're after, but rather a world presence for your company. How do you know when to take your business global? First, ask yourself if your startup is running well enough domestically to give you time to focus on an international presence, says Stephanie Frank, business expert and author of The Accidental Millionaire: Leaping From Chance to Mastery in the Game of Life. "Delve into what you might need, at a minimum, to do business in a foreign country," she says. "Maybe you need education on language or business customs. Make sure you plan first to learn some of the foreign ways."

Your next big task is to determine whether or not your product will translate overseas. "Just because you have a product that sells well [in the U.S.] doesn't mean it's going to sell in other countries," says Frank. "Think about how your product or service needs to be changed." Consider the clothing or shoe size translations. Does your product have to be retooled or rescaled? Then, says Frank, do a cost analysis. Is your product affordable in the local currency? You might find your bargain U.S. product would have to retail at a higher foreign price point, taking you out of the running in that market.

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