The UK market for every niche is large, but not big enough for every business. Driven entrepreneurs view the world as their platform and continually seek ways to enter new foreign markets. However, much like transforming an idea into a successful brand, taking your business international is not an easy task.
Every country has its own set of rules, custom limitations, consumer behaviour and unique challenges specific to that region. Your brand must be able to adapt and create solutions that fit problems faced by people in the country or region you’re trying to enter.
Proven ways to expand your business internationally
- Understand the risk you’re about to take
Before attempting to enter a new market, here are a few questions to answer
- Will your product do well in the new country? Most UK products do well oversees, so that’s good news, but you should perform full market research to ensure there is a market for your product
- Do they know your product or similar products?
- Do you have the financial capacity to commit long-term to a foreign expansion?
- Do you have the adequate human resources to make the move?
- Do you feel comfortable living there?
The answers will help you decide if you’re ready for the big move to a foreign market.
Market entry strategy
Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, take a look at your business. It’s time to look inward to plan your entry strategy. Your strategy should clearly outline your objectives to ensure you use the right tactics to attain your goals and establish credibility with lenders when you require more funding. The plan should include the following
- Budget to finance the project
- Region(s) you’re targeting
- Potential risks
- Mode of distribution
It’s not easy persuading a foreign client to trust your brand when a local business offers a similar product. Small businesses have to work harder to convince international clients about the durability and authenticity of their brand.
Protect your business against loss
Insurance is essential for any business and when you’re testing new waters, you need to get the right business insurance for your company. If you’re planning to take an expansion loan to complete what you’ve raised in-house, consider buying credit insurance to cover your brand against losses when your new customers don’t pay their bills. Having a working knowledge of business insurance is vital to ensuring you’re protected..
Set realistic goals
Business experts always advise companies to start small if they want to win big in the long term. Start with a viable product offering, listen to customer feedback and learn from customer experience. Use what you’ve learnt to drive strategic launches in other locations within the country. It helps you optimize your resources for success instead of spreading too thin.
International expansion requires selling in a new country with different cultures and it’s difficult for businesses with limited funds to locate the right partner. Relationships are the holy grail of international business; get multiple leads, vet them in person to ensure they can handle supply request and hire a local to help you transition smoothly into your target market.