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“Going global” used to be something that only the largest and most successful companies in the world could do. But today, thanks to a planetary communication device called the internet, it’s getting easier. In fact, the costs of expanding a business overseas have come down so much that it has led business author, Thomas Friedman, to write a book entitled, The World Is Flat, in which he argues that digital technologies and globalization have fundamentally changed the nature of markets. Before long, the cost of breaking into somewhere completely unknown, like the Far East, will be as simple as buying server space from your cloud provider.
For small businesses, the process is still complicated. We’re a long way from the utopia of frictionless international markets. But those functions have come down considerably in the last decade alone, and continue to fall with each passing year. So how do you take advantage of this historical moment in history and break into a new market?
When you enter a new market, you want to ensure that your product is differentiated from the competition. Ideally, your product should be so new and different from the existing offerings for domestic consumers that it blow it out of the water. Make sure that your product abides by local product regulations (which can sometimes be onerous) and ensure that you get any of the certifications you need to be compliant. Also, conduct an international trademark review. Some countries have different trademark and patent policies to others, so ensure that you have IP protection in place before beginning. Finally, build links to local logistics and distribution networks. Often your product is ready to launch upon arrival in a new market, but can you get it to customers?
Your product might be ready for launch in a new market, but is your organization? One of the problems that many businesses face is not being ready for the costs associated with entering a new market. Often it can be several years before foreign operations become profitable. In the meantime, they can take a toll on your finances. In these situations, bridge loans are usually the best option. You can find out more at Unsecured Finance Australia. Interest rates are typically low, even for companies that don’t have any tangible assets. These loans help established companies cover a cash flow shortfall.
Want to move your operations to a new country? You’ll need to establish a beachhead first. The best way to do this is to collect up all your best executives and send them to the new frontier to hire a local team and get your business rolling. Don’t just rely on agents or local managers who don’t really know your business: make sure that any instructions are delivered by people with an intimate knowledge of your operations. With the right people in place, you should be able to hit the ground running and set up your processes quickly and efficiently.
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