Establishing a local business is a big step. After a while, however, expansion is something every entrepreneur aims at achieving. If you’re a local business owner and you’ve got growth on your mind, then the world is your oyster. There’s no need to get intimidated before entering international waters. If you want to grow your business beyond borders, here are a few things you should consider.
Create a Business Plan
Before you take your business internationally, you must assess how ready you are. It is important to jot down every little detail that matters.
You should evaluate the market you plan on entering. If you are a US-based business that is dealing in goods and services then the Department of Commerce is a great place to start.
Once you have a consolidated plan in place, you should then get in touch with the right distributors, agents, and representatives that can help your business grow.
It is also crucial to understand the payment methods and timelines to ensure you get paid on time when doing business internationally.
Ensuring your goods reach international customers on time is a big step every business owner must take. Instead of shipping items on demand, it is feasible to ship them in bulk and hire a storage facility internationally.
If you are a small business and you require funding or additional support in another country, you can consider a joint venture with multiple international and established partners.
The First Steps
Once you’ve done your homework, you need to put your business plan into action. Since most businesses these days run their business online, here are a few steps to get international exposure for your business.
Business Name, Logo & Brand
Every business is associated, not only with its name but with its logo that eventually helps create a brand. Most large businesses have a memorable logo and sometimes even a tagline that associates with the brand. While you may have your business name in mind or already registered, you will need to give the logo and branding equal importance.
Website & Hosting
Most businesses already have a website, but if you don’t, this is the first thing you should tick off your to-do list. It is important to get all content, images, and details in place so you can proceed to the next step. Ensure you showcase your logo and tagline wherever possible.
While a basic website can help you get local exposure, when it comes to international markets, an eCommerce store is the way to go. You can link your payment methods for timely and hassle-free payments as well.
The larger the variety of payment solutions offered on your website, the higher the likelihood of a sale. When planning to go international, you could consider these payment options.
- Credit Cards – Every business owner must accept credit cards since up to 67% of online transactions occur via this method. You may have to pay somewhere around 2.75% and an additional 15 cents for each transaction, depending on the type of credit card.
- eChecks – An eCheck is similar to a payee check. It has become a popular choice in recent years since you no longer have to wait for a physical paper check to arrive. EChecks are processed online, secure, and need simple authorization from the customer and the bank for the payment to go out. This method can also be used to process recurring payments that come in handy to retain customers. You will be charged a flat fee for this method.
- Mobile Payments – B2B and B2C clients can benefit from mobile payments mainly because of ease of use. Mobile payments are estimated to reach over $2 billion by 2023. It offers contactless payment solutions and can be linked with almost any bank account. This option, however, is more popular for physical storefronts as opposed to online stores.
- Online Payment Gateway – If you have established an eCommerce store and you’re dealing with products and services then an online payment gateway is a smart choice. It consolidates multiple payment methods under one roof thereby enabling you to target a larger audience without having multiple tie-ups with individual banks.
Growing Your Business
Once you have your basics in place, you then need to start marketing your business. Small business owners often find it difficult to hire multiple employees and in such situations, scheduling tools come handy. If you are looking to generate more leads, then these tools are highly effective. Let’s take a closer look at why you should consider investing in these tools.
A recent study showed responsive business results in more sales and an increase in customer base. While one hour was acceptable in the past, today anything less than five minutes is considered poor. When you market your business and generate multiple leads, it’s almost impossible for a human to provide timely and effective responses. This is where scheduling tools take over.
While most potential customers respond almost immediately, some are left behind and need to be checked on at regular intervals so you can lure them back as customers. A scheduling tool helps in such a scenario and automatically helps convert such leads.
Scheduling meetings with B2B clients, reminding them about payments, sending them regular opportunities to collaborate, or even preparing customized responses to answer any questions they might have can be done with the help of a scheduling tool.
Better Client Experience
Everyone likes to be treated well and given importance, even if it’s through email. While humans may be busy or may forget to respond on time, the scheduling tool will do it and do it well.
When planning to grow your business internationally, take it one step at a time. Don’t cut corners or skip steps since one mistake may tumbleweed into a disaster that may be difficult to control later. You may also consider hiring an attorney to understand international laws. Try and liaise with local business partners in your target country for better opportunities or exposure.
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, cashless payments, finance and law, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors and events.