[This article was written by Meghan Belnap.]
Conventional wisdom once said that only large companies could enter the global market. The amount of capital necessary was once prohibitive for most small businesses. But the internet has democratized the marketplace and anybody offering a quality product or service can make the leap and enter the global market. These are a few ways that you can prime your organization, regardless of size, to play on a global stage.
Speak the Language
Having your website translated into multiple languages is a nice first step, but you will need to invest more heavily in local communications. That is to say, you will need a communications team/liaison that is local in each market. They not only help you to avoid embarrassing faux pas with translations but also help to create marketing strategies that make sense to the local population. As you expand, you will need to find people who are well-versed in the language and culture of the markets you are hoping to enter.
Distributors offer you a great advantage as you expand into foreign markets. They are a trusted local presence with established contacts and a solid network. Distributors buy from you resell to the local consumer, reducing your logistical needs and saving you the trouble of building a sales force from the ground up. Depending on your product, with just a little training, your network of distributors can become the key to your global market aspirations.
Joint ventures are a great way to introduce your brand to a new market. Because you are partnering with an established brand, you may find it easier to become a trusted brand. Also, partnering with local businesses is a great way to avoid discriminatory regulations in some countries. Be sure to check with your lawyer as some countries limit foreign companies in joint ventures to minority interests. You can also work with global management consulting firms to help you get your foot in the door to the right people in your target countries.
Improve your products and services, and tailor them to local markets. One size does not fit all. What worked in Europe may not work in Asia. Your product may be great, but investing in market research will help you to effectively leave your mark in every market. Look at others in your industry and see what they’re doing to meet the demands of your target audiences, and think of ways you may be able to meet their needs even better than your competitors.
Expanding your audience from a local to global one can be intimidating. There are a lot of cultural factors that can heavily influence whether or not you’re getting your message across the way you want. If you’re going to be expanding your reach, make sure you’re consulting with the services you need, both for cultural and language barriers, to ensure your expansion goes well.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.