The 4 Principles To Successfully Expand A Business Abroad

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The world is a big place, and that can encourage some businesses to try and take a step out and figure out just what opportunity is lurking there. This is not always clear from the offset, which is why deep research is needed, and why familiarity with a given country, its laws and culture should be undertaken before marketing to that audience.

Furthermore, certain countries may have specific legislation detailing exactly how consumers can engage with your products. For instance, the video game industry, the biggest entertainment industry on the planet, is sure to suffer in China after their recent declaration of limiting children to three hours of gaming time a week, wiping out billions of dollars of value.

So, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into. But what about when you’re establishing the processes that will develop your brand and ingratiate it into the market? In this post, we will discuss four essential principles you can use that can help you deftly manage this approach with your priorities properly calibrated:

Understand The Market

It can take some time, but it’s essential to understand the market before you try to penetrate it. This is because certain businesses, certain market shares, and certain gaps in the market will no doubt differ, sometimes wildly, from the norms you’re used to back home.

Furthermore, it might be that a country has specific regulations in place in order to favor home-grown trade over international imports. For instance, broadcast stations operating in Canada must have at least 50% of programming aired from 6.00pm to midnight must be of Canadian origin. It might be that certain industries are subsidized, giving them a natural advantage over the kind of value you can offer.

This kind of protectionism is often a point of political debate among many, but it’s something we must be aware of. This is especially true in changing markets such as of that of Great Britain, where the recent trade deal with the EU came with many concessions worth considering.

Understand The Culture

A market isn’t simply a statistic. It is influenced by a wide array of factors, including cultural. This can be as simple as needing to change a product name, or perhaps learning how to properly ingratiate yourself with professionals when hoping to expand, acquire, or merge internationally. For instance, Arab countries tend to place a high importance on manners and proper etiquette before business is discussed, as it’s considered polite and respectful to greet the other party as humans rather than cold professional entities before business is discussed. This can also influence to what degree you are trusted. That seems pretty rational.

But in countries like Japan, dancing around the subject of a business topic to be discussed before it is discussed can be seen as somewhat deceptive, or even rude in the worst circumstances. They require pleasantries, of course, but respect those who are able to discuss a proposition with confidence and assertiveness before assuming any artificial closeness.

This is general guidance, however, because it’s wrong to admit that all people are the same, and all cultural norms are equally divided among markets and society. You can see why research is needed, and where you fit in culturally can be a big necessity.

Understand The Regulations

We’ve discussed a little bit about regulations and how they can affect markets, but often, a regulation does not necessarily define exactly how successful your business might be, but rather, if you can operate there at all.

For instance, what does a customs broker do? These professionals make it their mission to help you properly cross the border and work through the customs departments of countries like the US, so that your goods aren’t obstructed, you don’t have to pay penalties for improper logistical care, and that your duties are reduced. With the reputation of a firm like this to help you, it’s also important to note just how seamless this kind of investment can help your international trade become.

Understanding every regulation is essential, but it can also be important to figure out your smoothest way of complying with them. In this case, you’ll find a positive means forward.

Pivot Your Approach As Necessary

No two countries are exactly the same, and no two markets are either. International trade can be finicky. Don’t be afraid to pivot your approach, or in certain circumstances, decide to withdraw and try again. Even the best businesses encounter difficulty from time to time.

With this advice, we hope you can more readily expand your business abroad.

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