Doing business around the world can seem a long way from doing business in your hometown. But each year countless small businesses make the trek. Entering the international arena can protect you against the risk of decline in domestic markets and, most important, significantly improve your overall growth potential.
Some of the specific advantages presented by successfully growing globally include:
- Extending the sales life of existing products and services by finding new markets to sell.
- Reducing your dependence on the markets you have developed in your local country.
- If your business suffers from demand fluctuations in your markets due to seasonal changes or demand cycles, you can even out your sales by tapping markets with different or even countercyclical fluctuations.
- The ease of connectivity, transportation, and global product demand has reduced the barriers to entering markets overseas.
Before You Start Going Global
- Prepare a business plan to evaluate your needs and set your goals. It’s essential to assess your readiness and commitment to grow internationally before you get started.
- Conduct foreign market research and identify international markets.
- Evaluate and select methods of distributing your product abroad. Besides global selling websites, you can also place ads on local versions of it…Most of the websites are commission based, so there is no need for big investments
- It is crucial to learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the legal morass of exporting.
- Use international accepted payment methods (PayPal is usually the best channel, especially considering the “money-back guarantee”)
- Consider the local customs “delay” when calculating delivery time. It´s better to have your product arriving earlier than late.
The Pitfalls of Exporting .
The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived, and you’re ready to export your product. Now what? Here are some pitfalls you need to consider (and avoid):
- Chasing inquiries the world over. Just because dozens of countries show interest doesn’t mean you’re ready to market your product everywhere. Each market has different commercial terms/conditions and by being to broad chances are that you will make a mistake that could lead you to have a bad review (and we know how much this impacts our sales, right?)
- Assuming if it works in America, it will work anywhere. Not true – you need to tailor your sales and marketing efforts to each country. Don’t ignore the cultural differences that shape the marketplace. The same goes for pricing, shipping, payment terms and packaging.
- Assuming business will be done in English.
How to Choose Your Overseas Markets
The first step in expanding internationally is to pinpoint the country or region you want to expand into. You need to base these decisions largely on cultural, economic, political, and market risk — and where there are potential customers for your goods and services. Selecting where to expand is easy with some time and research. Here are a few things to think about when deciding where to expand:
- Determine international traffic or where orders are originating from on your website
- Consider cultural and language differences
- Understand the economic and political policy of the country or region
- Find out whether there are any tariffs on your products or trade barriers. you need to figure out how to ship overseas and learn about foreign taxes, duties and customs laws.
The importance of conducting market research
Your likelihood of success selling internationally will be increased depending upon how much market research you conduct beforehand. Market research can help you get a handle on where your goods or services will sell, the different market segments, whether you’ll have competitors, and how to price your product for the market.
How to find your customer
There are many ways of finding your customer, here are some:
- You can simply let the international customers find your website and shop just as your domestic customers already do.
- Use social networks to attract interest in your website, business, and products or services. (Remember the power of hashtags! Use them in your markets language!)
- Use international handmade selling sites such as eBay or Etsy
- Use local websites for selling your goods (you might need some translation assistance for that one)
Don´t forget to be up front about the costs involved in the transaction (most importantly, the currency being used), as well as the terms and conditions of the sale, including any warranties and guarantees. And to provide a secure method for online payments to that personal financial information is not vulnerable to hackers. You might consider a payment system such as eBay’s PayPal to help facilitate the acceptance of different currencies.
If you want to learn more on how to expand your home based business and make more money, sign up for our “Going Global for Home Based Businesses” mailing list.