Conducting business internationally has become an essential and very practical strategy for many businesses. That strategy is no longer limited to large organisations, either – small businesses and SMEs are always taking advantage of the possibilities offered by overseas clients and customers.
If you’re already thinking of joining them, here are five things you should consider before you take the next step.
Are you analytical?
Throughout your expansion into new countries, your website will be a trusted tool to test how successful you are in communicating with your new audience. Making regular use of analytical tools will show you who is visiting your site, where they are from and how they found you.
As these tools will demonstrate the effectiveness of your international marketing campaigns, you’ll get an idea of how to attract and retain new customers from new countries and develop your ongoing strategy accordingly.
Do you know your new market?
This is also imperative because, until you know your target customers, you’re effectively guessing at whether or not they want your product or service. You can visit the Office for National Statistics website to see who the UK trades with and how successfully. You could then do some research into specific countries to see what sort of competition you will face.
It could be that the population of a country you hadn’t anticipated selling to has the potential to become your most successful partner. For instance, in 2017, the UK’s export of goods and services to non-EU countries in Europe was only 12% lower than those to EU territories.
Have you calculated the costs?
This is the big one, right? It goes beyond the cost of exporting goods, which we’ll come to shortly. Maintaining your usual standards of customer service could become more expensive if you have to either adapt your business hours or implement effective customer care.
Thankfully, we allow businesses to benefit from cheap international calls, which means one less headache when it comes to managing your outgoings.
However, there are also other financial elements to consider – including duties, local taxes, the impact of currency fluctuations, and potentially a new range of payment methods.
Are you aiming too low?
It can be tempting to burst into a new market by offering goods and services at a reduced rate, but you’d be better off reconsidering this strategy straight away. In fact, government research has proved that consumers from several key international markets, including China, India and the UAE, were prepared to pay more for UK products, which they perceive to be of a higher quality than others.
So, rather than try and undercut any local competitors or other exporters, trust that what you are providing will be positively received at a price that’s reasonable – for you and them.
Do you have an export strategy?
Essential to selling overseas, your export plan will detail your business goals, the financial plans you’ve put together, and how you intend to sell or supply internationally. If you’re selling over the internet, you will need to familiarise yourself with shipping costs and customs laws in other parts of the world.
If what you are selling really takes off internationally, you may start considering an international sales team. Expanding internationally is another thing entirely – but, hopefully, you’ll be looking into this in the not-too-distant future.
We’ll hopefully see you back here again, for more information, when that time comes!