If your business has been flourishing in the UK, you might find that you’ve exhausted many of the opportunities available to you. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many more waiting overseas. Thanks to the internet, and modern logistics, it’s easier than ever to take your business international.
International businesses face a whole range of challenges, from time zones to language barriers to border checks. You’ll therefore need to do some considerable preparation before you take your business international.
Define the opportunities
You should be picking the low-hanging fruit first. Once you’ve done what’s easy, you can think about doing what’s difficult. Territories which are easy to trade with, which don’t present a language barrier, and which enjoy good transport links, tend to offer a better chance of success.
Having said that, your opportunities will be defined by the shape of your business. Identify all of them, and work out where you’re going to move from there.
Assess Your Capital
Establishing your business overseas takes a little bit of financial commitment. Sometimes, it requires a lot. You can’t expect to turn a profit on an international expansion in the short-term. You’ll need to consider how you’re going to finance the venture until you do. If you have to resort to high-interest, short-term finance, then you’ll put yourself in a difficult position before you even get started. Specialised corporate finance can be invaluable, especially during the early stages.
Research your preferred markets
Before you enter into a given market, you’ll need to do a little bit of research. This might mean assessing the number of potential customers, and the competition. Not all business models will transfer well, and so some adaptation might be required.
Market research will help you to get answers to your questions. But having contacts in the area will help you to discover what questions to ask.
Ensure your strategy is rock-solid
The more planning you can do in advance, the better. Stress-test your plans by performing a pre-mortem: imagine that something has gone wrong, and then see what your decision-makers think that it was. Your strategy should encompass your capital requirements and sources, your tax obligations in the new territory, and your approach to securing the right talent.
Scale your efforts
Once you’ve gotten a foothold in a new area, you’ll be able to scale your efforts. You have an advantage here, in that you’ve already done this once, in the United Kingdom. Don’t move too quickly, and make sure you have a firm grasp of all of the factors involved.