Deciding to start or expand your business internationally can be a very exciting experience. Expanding into the United States, in particular, is something that could enable a tremendous amount of growth. But without the proper guidance and resources, international expansions are something that can be incredibly difficult.
Though the world is certainly more globalized than ever before, there still exists a tremendous amount of legal, political, economic, and cultural differences between its many countries. If your business is unable to account for these differences, then expanding abroad will inevitably be impossible.
By knowing the kind of international hazards to look out for, your business can be better prepared to move into new territories. Here are some common mistakes made when starting or expanding a business overseas:
Refusing to invest in your new location.
There are a lot of different components involved when deciding to enter a new market. If you do hope to succeed, you are going to need to be willing to invest an appropriate amount of time and capital.
Many companies wrongly assume that by simply wanting to expand, they will be able to without a problem. These companies are often the ones that refuse to establish an office abroad and refuse to invest in quality talent. But without a foreign office, your business will be perpetually detached from the market you are trying to compete in. Without a talented team of individuals, you will be unable to adapt to your new environment.
Expanding into the United States doesn’t necessarily have to be incredibly expensive, however. With organizations such as Starthub, you can have access to a talented localized team for as little as $99 per month. Starthub can help you establish a physical office, have access to those who understand American markets the best, and develop customized solutions that can give you the competitive advantage you need to succeed.
Expanding without a definitive plan.
Many new businesses enter a new market knowing they want to increase their global revenues, but are unable to develop a clear plan enabling them to do so. Businesses that establish incredibly vague missions such as simply “move into American markets” will be very unlikely to succeed in the long-run.
A good business plan is something that absolutely needs to be specific. Before deciding to expand abroad, it is important to ask yourself the following questions.
- Why do you want to expand abroad? Expanding simply because sales are low in your home country isn’t a good enough reason—you need to be able to recognize an opportunity for organic growth that your business is uniquely qualified to pursue.
- What is it that your business hopes to accomplish? Unless your business model is entirely original, the market is likely already being exploited by an existing, domestic player. Breaking into a competitive market will be impossible without a firm plan.
- How will your resources be allocated? How does your business intend to operate? How can your business create genuine value for a market you may not entirely understand?
These questions may not always be easy to answer, but asking them is incredibly important. The greater your business model can stand against scrutiny, the more likely you will be to succeed. There is not a single detail you can afford to willingly overlook—the international market is incredibly competitive, and you need to actively be working for every competitive advantage you can possibly find.
Ignoring important differences between countries.
Another mistake that is commonly made by expanding businesses is their failure to address the many types of differences existing between two countries. Many businesses wrongly treat the new territory as if it were an extension of their home country and this fallacious mistake can be incredibly costly.
When entering a new market, it is important to learn as much about this market as you possibly can. It is especially important to directly address the ways in which this new market will be different.
- Cultural differences: what do these people have in common? How are they unique from your home country? What are their likes and dislikes? How can they be effectively marketed to? What do they find to be offensive?
- Economic differences: what are the prices of goods and services in this country? How should you price the goods and services your business offers? What is the average person able to afford? What are the costs of production?
- Political and legal differences: what is this new country’s political system? What regulations are relevant to your business? What sort of organization should you create? What forms do you need to fill out? What taxes do you need to pay?
These are just a few of the many questions you ought to be thinking about before deciding to expand. Each of these questions represents something that can either make or break your business. Ignoring their importance will only serve to make things more difficult in the long-run.
Assuming you can make it without help.
Perhaps the most crucial mistake your business can make when expanding abroad is assuming you can make it on your own. The international economy is incredibly complex and almost impossible to navigate without the help of those who are familiar with international expansion.
Fortunately, there are a lot of organizations in the United States that are there to help your business establish itself and succeed. Starthub can help you begin to answer the many questions you rightfully ought to be asking and connect you with the resources necessary to gain a competitive advantage.
The challenges of expanding abroad shouldn’t deter you from trying. But knowing that these challenges exist—and will continue to exist into the foreseeable future—you should realize the importance of entering a new market with people who can be relied upon.