October 11th, 2017

4 top tips for international expansion

Taking your business to international markets is a natural and ambitious growth goal. When done correctly it can increase your reach, expand your brand and boost your revenues dramatically. When done incorrectly, it can cause huge setbacks and costs.

Here are four questions to ask yourself to make sure your expansion is a success:

1. Is there a market?

It seems like an obvious question, but be sure you’re basing the answer on evidence, not assumptions. In the 1970s, United Kingdom-based tile manufacturer Redland tried to expand their concrete tile business to international markets. Unfortunately for them, concrete tiles were not very popular in the US and Japan, so their attempts there failed. Do your homework carefully, and ensure there is a market for your product.

2. Do you have the right people?

Make sure you have a management team with the skills and experience to manage business in the target company, and, crucially, to integrate operations between your two branches. You don’t need to set up an office abroad with full-time staff straight away. Some physical presence will be required, certainly, but you can use remote working and outsource to contractors until you get off the ground.

3. Is the required infrastructure present?

Even behemoths like Netflix can slip up when going international. Stock prices of the streaming giant fell when they went global in 2016, and one major problem was infrastructure. The payment processing and broadband technology wasn’t as developed or as well rolled out in some countries, and it cost them. What infrastructure do you need? Is it present? This is key, especially if you’re a technology start up.

4. Do you have the local knowledge?

When US delivery services DHL and Airborne moved to Germany, their American entrepreneurial spirit clashed with the previously state-owned Deutsche Post. You need people that know not only the country, but your specific market within in. By expanding into a new country you’re also entering a lesser-known legal jungle. It would be unwise to do so without a guide. So, get a good lawyer on your legal team who knows the country and the market.

Goodwille helps businesses with their international expansion every day, and we have a diverse client range in countries worldwide, which gives us a vast amount of experience and knowledge that we can bring to the table when helping you. Talk to us before you start your international expansion get the inside track and avoid the pitfalls.