As long ago as 2005, Thomas Friedman pointed out in his book The World Is Flat that doing business on a global scale is easy—and it’s only gotten easier since then. No matter the size of your business, the global market is a great opportunity to grow. However, as with any business decision, you need to look at a few factors before rushing in.
Here are some things that you need to have before expanding into a global market.
Before any expansion, including a global expansion, you’ll need to invest some capital to grow your business. There’s always a risk that you’ll lose that capital if your expansion fails to materialize the way you hoped it would—there’s a risk inherent in every single business venture.
Even if your expansion does not launch immediately, it shouldn’t take the rest of the business down with it. Make sure that you have enough capital on hand that you can expand without needing to file for bankruptcy if the expansion doesn’t go as planned. Expand your business at a rate that your capital can keep up with.
It’s not enough to know that you want to expand globally. You should identify a market for your product or service before sending your business out into the world. Before expanding, conduct research on potential markets. See if you get attention online from specific regions, or talk to partners in strategic places who can give you advice.
Along with researching the market, research what your competitors have done without letting their actions blindly dictate your next steps.
Before you seek out customers in a target region of the world, make sure that you’re able to meet their needs. Can you ship your goods internationally? Do you have the capacity to employ local staff who can help you localize your product and services for international communities? Look at the human and physical resources at your disposal.
Expanding globally, as long as you do it with a clear look at your capacity, could be the next big step for your business.