Taking an innovation, product or other service global has many advantages, but also throws up many challenges. Overcome the challenges and what you are likely to see is a more robust and profitable concern – but get it wrong and you are likely to incur some losses and potentially damage your business.

So what steps should you take when planning your expansion? Here are some of the factors to consider.

Start from a Position of Strength

Developing your business globally should be undertaken to expend an already-successful model, and not to try to fix an underperforming or unprofitable business model. The finances to execute your expansion also need to be in place. It would be frustrating to spend time and effort planning the project only to find that you are unable to raise the required capital.

Starting the expansion from a position of strength domestically is paramount to the success of your venture overseas. If you have a firm foundation to start, here are some of the advantages you may expect to see:

  • Securing new markets for existing products – extending their lives
  • Becoming less dependent of the domestic market you have already tamed
  • Counterbalancing the effects of seasonal changes in demand
  • Learning from overseas competitors and competing with them

Expand Your Plan and Then Your Business

Your original or existing business plan can act as a great starting point to formulate a strategy for developing your business abroad – there will, however, be several additional factors that must be identified and accommodated.

For example, you may need expert counsel regarding the legal and regulatory obstacles that you will face, should you need to send staff to work overseas.

It is important to plan which countries you will target first, plus an expansion timeline that isn’t too ambitious. Among the aspects to consider is language: doing business in your native language is much more straightforward than in a foreign language, particularly when it comes to negotiating contracts and agreements.

And let’s not forget demand – the areas that you have pinpointed for expansion need to show that there is a demand for your products.

Finally, the fashion in which the product is distributed should be considered – for example, just because you distribute through a chain shops domestically doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow the same model abroad.

Bringing in an in-country expert and employing them as part of the expansion team may well be the best way of realising the most effective route ahead. This will also help you to understand the culture of the country into which you are expanding.

Once you obtain a thorough overview for how the expansion can be achieved, put a plan into place and identify and account for resources, then you can move on to the next stage: implementation.

Putting your plans into action is the first tangible step towards achieving the expansion and the financial rewards that you desire.

By Zak Goldberg

About the author

Zak Goldberg is a Law & Business Graduate from the University of Leeds who has chosen to follow his aspirations of becoming a full-time published writer, offering his expertise on all areas of law, fintech and business economics.

Featured image via Yayimages.