The consistent growth of a business always means the expansion of its audience. In a globally connected age, that means international development should always be factored in as part of your business plan. There are many challenges to international trade, but as more of the world gets online, global expansion is no longer loaded with the barriers that it used to be. The rewards can make the hard work more than worth it. If you have hit a growth wall and you’re considering expanding your business to reach an international audience, here are some of the best tips that could turn your company into a worldwide brand.

Learning about the target culture is crucial

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when expanding into a new country is failing to learn more about the culture. Each new country brings with it its own set of cultural distinctions which you must consider and respect when strategizing. These could range from working hours to moral or religious questions. It’s easy to make a culturally insensitive blunder; even mammoth brands such as KFC and Starbucks have slipped up in this arena, costing themselves time and money.

Make considered, well-researched changes to your strategy

Now that you’ve learned about the culture you wish to work with, it’s time to make changes to your business model. Just because a strategy has worked in your own country, doesn’t mean it can be replicated exactly all over the world. What suits U.S. sensibilities might be totally inappropriate in the Russian marketplace, for example. Make changes that factor in cultural differences, demand variations, and flexibility. The best way to avoid problems in this sphere is to hire a localization or transcreation service. They will walk you through the alterations you need to implement to make a seamless transition into new, foreign markets.

Learn to use data to your advantage

Entrepreneurs hoping to attract global audiences need to rely on data more than ever. Clicking a button and hoping for the best is no longer a realistic option for any business. Learn methodologies such as those established by expert Peter Peterka, President of 6Sigma, if you aren’t sure how to use data to make improvements to your business model. Those that have learned how to make use of analytics and the 6sigma approach find that they develop “…more predictable and profitable business processes.” Any business not using data to drive decision-making is going to limit their effectiveness at branching out into new communities.

Protect yourself by knowing the legalities

There are tax laws and regulations that you will need to take into account. Some countries are more welcoming to foreign businesses than others, but you need to know the facts. Make sure that you have a firm understanding of:

  • Tax requirements
  • Local regulations
  • Minimum wage laws
  • Shipping laws

Not all countries will give a positive return on your development investment. Choose the countries that you expand into carefully. And don’t forget to employ an experienced, highly specialized legal translation service to help you through the process.

Watch out for fraud

One of the biggest risks to overseas traders is fraud; scammers are an ever-present concern. International borders make it much easier to commit fraud without consequences. Make sure that you have adequate fraud protection systems in place, and that these are tailored to your new country of trading. Use your network to connect with other businesses that have successfully branched out and expanded, and take advice on improving your fraud protection.

International trade might be easier than ever, but it is not without its risks. The key is to prepare, plan, and research. Make sure that your teams are aligned, and that you have the right people with the right skills planning your expansion. The more that you build the right foundation for international expansion, the more likely that you will reap the rewards of global growth.

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