Entrepreneurs and go-getters all speak the same language regardless of where they happen to be born. They understand drive, determination, and focus immediately without anything getting lost in translation. But entrepreneurs who want to take their build an international business may need a little more than just an unbreakable spirit. They need some global marketing strategies.
There’s an art to handling people from other cultures and identifying priorities that may be wildly different from your own. Thankfully, the rewards of your efforts can be well worth the work you put in. Here are 6 tips for building an international business.
1. Recognize the Potential
Even though it might be scary to venture into new markets, the opportunity is undeniably there.
Experts advise companies to put their top talent into expansion, rather than saving it for those at the lower levels.
New ideas, products, and brands are seeing incredible success as values and expectations shift around the world. In fact, most countries have so many opportunities that the real problem is finding which one to concentrate on.
Those who can adapt their service or product to fit with different people all over the world may soon find themselves drowning in increased business. And with the advent of the internet, there are now even more ways to test the waters before diving in.
2. Understand the Culture
One of the more difficult things an entrepreneur can do is get a handle on how different cultures function in the real world. Even more frustrating, they may find the culture is wildly different in two different sections of the same country.
If they can’t adapt their strategy, they may find themselves struggling to gain any traction in the beginning. This may be perfectly fine for brands with deep pockets, but not everyone has the capital to sustain a loss leader for very long.
3. Change It Up
When Best Buy opened up overseas, they thought their business model would appeal in much the same way it did to Americans. But not everyone enjoys navigating a store that’s big enough to build airplanes in.
If the decision-makers at Best Buy had known this before pulling the trigger on their international campaigns, they may have been able to tailor their marketing to address this problem — or even to change the format of their stores.
When even major conglomerates with all their resources fail to see the main problem with their strategies, it’s especially useful for smaller entrepreneurs to be flexible enough to speak to what the people are really looking for.
4. Do What It Takes
When figuring out the specifics of how to conduct yourself in the country, you should do at least a little bit of research before getting started.
Many international business owners will post their own experiences about the minutiae of setting up shop there. This way, you know not to advertise the fact that you work 20 hours of the day in a family-oriented culture.
But even with online advice, the best way to absorb a culture is through trial and error.
Global entrepreneurs can expand their network just because they’re doing something unusual, but they need to be careful about how they conduct themselves. For example, you may need to adjust your hours so that you can cater to your business partners, or change your etiquette to ensure everyone feels comfortable.
5. Research Taxes and Regulations
The taxes and regulations are different for every country, with some being far more welcoming than others. Some countries have incredibly low corporate taxes and minimum wages, such that a business could do what they do now for just pennies on the dollar. Others will make their fees and rules so strict that it can make any company want to throw the towel in before they get started.
The payroll may be difficult to establish, the taxes may be complicated to file, and the registration rigamarole may border on ridiculous. While it’s true that practically every country out there can be a potential target for the devoted entrepreneur, some that are simply easier to do business with than others.
6. Be Realistic
Entrepreneurs also need to be aware of how they’re seen within the country apart from the official rules and regulations. Some countries are notorious for being rather lax when it comes to both the formal laws and the enforcement of those laws. But if you upset or disrespect the wrong authority, you may find yourself in a world of legal trouble. These types of complicated dealings can be the death of hopeful entrepreneurs everywhere.
Let’s say you’ve submitted all of the materials you need to set up your company, but you’re not getting any response from the powers that be. They may need a polite but forceful push from you to make things happen — but how would you know that until you’ve taken the time to understand the culture?