EXPANDING TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
A COST-EFFECTIVE GUIDE
The first step to expanding internationally is almost always market research. This guide provides a cost-effective method for the expansion of your business to international markets.
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With the advancement of technology, communication and transportation, businesses can now easily expand to international markets. Such a major decision brings massive improvements to your company, provided that you are aware of what it entails and what to consider when you make such a critical decision.
Local Marketing vs International Marketing
With local marketing your business remains within its own geographical boundaries. Also known as 'neighborhood marketing', local marketing is a strategy that strives to meet the needs of customers within the physical area of your company. Your business, therefore, promotes and sells goods to a select few, either by choice or due to restrictive privileges.
By contrast, with global marketing your international business targets a wider range of consumers. Your business expands through international connections across several different locations, either across cities or countries, depending on the scale of the expansion. Hence, it exposes the business to an international market with clientele from across the world.
The use of Google Maps is a useful feature to help distinguish local businesses from international businesses. If you search 'restaurants near me' and you find a local restaurant, it will be located in a single specific area. By contrast, if it's an international restaurant, the map will mark every establishment in every city, because as an international chain, the business is found in more than one location.
What to Consider
Before considering an international expansion, do your research. Consider your own company's objectives and goals. Think about how international reach can accommodate your brand, so that you know how to take the necessary steps to achieving your aspirations. Mind the expectations.
For example, as an international business you must appeal to your target country by adapting to the target culture. If your business is a restaurant chain, the locals will expect a section on the menu where they can find local meals to order. An international business must strive to offer more than any local business. The standards and demands are far greater the larger your company is.
Your business can profit from expanding to international markets. Notably, benefits can only be achieved when one takes the necessary, strategic steps toward international expansion of the business.
One of the perks of expanding to international markets is the cost-effectiveness. With your international reach, you are given access to new resources that are available to you from across the world.
Think about the impact of your productivity when you expand to an international market in Japan, for example, where the advanced technology and resources offer cost-effective ways to improve and innovate your own brand.
As your company branches out into a foreign market, it discovers international talent, as well. Candidates from all over the world are your future employees who will endorse your international objectives. For multilingual recruitment, you may explore niche platforms such as College Life Work and find your future employees.
International talent is available to you through online recruiting, too. Employers use LinkedIn and other social networks to find their qualified candidates.
You can gain the competitive advantage if you focus on new aspirations through continuous innovation. This allows you to gain the competitive advantage of staying on top.
- Audit your competitors. Learn the basics of SEMrush and use that knowledge to get a higher ranking on Google. It allows your company to stand out from competition while it’s in the spotlight.
- Innovate continuously. If you discover a few techniques that work for you and your brand, do not simply settle for them. Always search for new ways to improve. Expanding to global markets demands renewals that keep your brand fresh.
- Integrate your supply chain. Use horizontal and vertical integration. Horizontal integration aims to install your brand in the same industry with other brands. It reduces competition by making your company more diverse within the same industry. Vertical integration occurs when two businesses, which are at a different stage of their supply chain, join together. This method reduces costs and increases control over your supply chain.
Once you establish a good reputation for your brand, you start to gain your clients' trust. Thus, you not only achieve but sustain that success within international marketing. Take the first step to building your reputation by innovating your employer brand. Whether it concerns consumer branding or employer branding, your business is prone to international success through strategic consulting.
Think about the impact on your brand’s reputation when your company is successful in one country. This result could lead to the development of a reputation that expands internationally and speaks for your brand as a whole, extending to all the physical and virtual locations at which your company is present.
When expanding to international markets, you are inevitably exposed to new cultures. In fact, as an international business, you are expected to acknowledge such diversities and integrate them into your workforce. Your exposure to diverse cultures expands your brand's aspirations aiming to satisfy its international clients.
Consider an international company such a restaurant chain. It has a fixed menu which can be found in every establishment in every country across the world. If you were to consider the unique culture that is found in every country, the restaurant would have an additional section in the menu with meals that reflect a combination of the restaurant’s brand as well as the specific country’s culture. For instance, consider an international burger place established in China that also serves a rice meal. McDonald’s is another great example of a fast food chain that has mastered localization.
Expanding to an international market requires conducting extensive research and taking action strategically. Lack of research or a strategy will likely lead you to making grave, yet common mistakes.
Knowing Your Rivals
Your target country requires adequate market research. Avoid conflicts between other local companies by making sure that your brand has got something new to offer to each country that you want to expand to.
Any neglect of that may result in your company’s failure to sell their products in an international market. This could be due to the fact that you are offering the same goods that are provided by other local markets in the target country, and you are selling them at a higher, less preferable price. If you want to expand internationally, know your competitors, because they are the ones who know their clients and their expectations. Learn from them. Do not ignore their own input on the market of their own country.
Ignoring Language Barriers
When expanding internationally, there is no room for such neglect. The same way your clientele accommodates your international aspirations, you are called to meet their international requirements, as well. You are held accountable for the international reputation that you claim.
Appeal to your target country by making your company accessible to their cultural needs, such as the use of the native language. English might be the international language that is most accessible to everyone, but if your company aims to appease its target consumers, you must provide your services in the target language.
Understanding Cultural Differences
Cultural differences beyond language require equal attention. Your international market must acknowledge the important differences across different nations and implement them into the company. Educate yourself in different cultures. Be mindful of national holidays that your international employees celebrate and adjust their work schedules to accommodate their traditions. Ask your international team members questions. They can help guide you and clarify important differences that they can spot for you. Learn how to handle cultural differences in the workforce and optimize the cost-effectiveness of your business.
The process of expanding to international markets requires taking action using cost-effective strategies. Students and graduates are the secret sauce that can help you in building a successful strategy.
Hiring Multilingual Students & Graduates
Multilingual recruitment has a lot to offer. It is primarily the solution to overcoming language barriers within global markets. Consider hiring international students and graduates who are already equipped with the experience of working within a foreign environment. Our guide to young talent recruitment provides all the essentials you need to be aware of when recruiting students.
The American Marketing Association defines the term as "the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information– information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process".
Students and graduates can learn how to do market research quickly because of their learning capability. Their values and ideas are measured by their acquired knowledge. An effective method for market research is to hire a native speaker of the target country's language. To remain cost-effective, consider hiring a native speaker from the country that your own company is based in. This helps you avoid having to deal with foreign labour laws.
An example: College Life Media has worked closely with the dutch company, Zeeman, to help hire market researchers that are from the target country and make it easier for the company to have a cost-effective solution to understanding international markets.
Students and grads are fit for this, since it's something that they can learn fast - just like work in hospitality. Anyone can learn it! One cost-effective solution for customer service is hiring students and graduates from the country you aim to expand to. Most of them are available to take on a part-time or internship position during their studies. Meanwhile, you don't need to invest in hiring abroad, since your best candidates are currently studying in your own country.
Business development entails the strategic method of forming partnerships with other businesses and sustaining good relations. Students and graduates can also support business development with their language-specific and cost-effective benefits. Although they may not necessarily qualify as advisors, with the company’s correct training in place, they can be suppliers who accommodate language-specific needs as well as cost-effective endeavours.
The Global Impact
International markets are the key factor to a world of global peace with good communication and understanding among people across the world. It is no secret that we are a long way from achieving such an ambitious vision. However, international business expansion has placed us on the path that may lead us there.
One of the reasons for the potential of peace is the political decentralization in international markets. Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership, Richard M. Ebeling says, "we live in a world of global anarchy". International markets are only made possible because of the lack of a global political power that would otherwise prevent them from expanding. Thus, without the intervention and subsequent intrusion of a global government, international trading can orchestrate a harmony within a global scale that has the potential for world peace.
All of this can only be achieved through people's active contribution to the betterment of the world. Therefore, by expanding to international markets, your business must take responsibility and advantage of their global reach by striving not only for the success of their own business endeavours. They ought to look at the bigger picture and make use of their success to contribute to world peace.
Download the 11-point personal checklist for expanding your business to international markets.