However, expanding overseas is a decision that needs to be taken carefully, after much consideration. There are several firms that launch international operations much too soon, when the time is not right, and suffer as a consequence.
SupportBiz lists nine things you should consider before you decide to expand to international markets.
1. Availability of talent
One of the most important things that will affect your firm’s ability to succeed in an international market is the availability of skilled talent. Before you decide to go international, you should consider whether you will have access to the kind of skills that you will be required for your operations. Moreover, you should keep in mind that you will be competing with international firms who are already established and know how to obtain skilled labour.
Before you decide to go international, you should consider the kind of competition you would have to face there. Do there already exist firms that sell products/services similar to yours? Do you think you can compete with them? What would you need to do in order to withstand the competition from these firms? These are things you should consider before entering a new international market.
3. Red tapism
Before expanding overseas, you should consider the legal requirements of the country for the same. What is the kind of documentation that you would be required to furnish? Is there any scope for red tapism? You should be prepared to deal with the challenges that arise from such red tapism.
4. Local culture
In order to be successful in an international market, you will undoubtedly have to adapt to the local culture. You will have to fit your working style, products/services, office and manufacturing processes to your surroundings. Hence, before you decide to go international, think thoroughly over whether you will be able to do so.
5. Possibility of an international partnership
Many firms expand into an overseas market only after they have managed to find a suitable partner in that country. An international partner can help you adapt to the local culture, overcome red tape and competition, and in the acceptance of your products/services by the local public. Before you go international, think over whether such a partnership would work for you.
6. Expanding online reach
It is not necessary for a firm to build a physical presence for itself in a foreign country, in order to expand to an international market. Just expanding its online reach would do. Consider this possibility for your firm, too. However, you might need to revamp your website and have it translated in the language prevalent in the country that you plan to enter.
7. Financial feasibility
Starting business operations overseas is not a guarantee of immediate revenues and profits. It might take some time for your products/services to be accepted by the local public, and for you to start earning a profit. Hence, before you decide to go international, think over whether it would be financially feasible for you to face this period of uncertainty.
Before you decide to enter overseas markets, you should consider whether your present organisation is stable enough. Can your business survive for a while without you, while you set up your international branch?
9. Availability of senior staff members
You will need to assign a few of your senior staff members to set up operations and get them running, in the international market. Hence, before you decide to go international, you should determine whether you will be able to do so, at the moment. Are your chosen senior staff members freely available to take over the working of your international branch? Are there any pressing matters in your domestic business that might require their attention during that time?