How To Scale Your Business Internationally

Stacked shipping containers in primary colorsYou may decide at your business launch your intention to venture internationally or you may move into new territories as demand for your products or services increase.

Since more than 95% of global consumers live outside of the U.S., reaching new customers transnationally can help you expand your business market, profits, and revenue. Following are five tips on how to scale a startup business or established business globally.

1. Create a Service or Product that Meets a Need in Global Markets

Many of the world’s largest international companies are based in the U.S. Digital connectivity as a means to expand into new global territories has become more common. There are many considerations when you plan to scale a startup business or an established business globally. 

Evolving technology is one way to help scale or establish an overseas business easier when you’re selling a product or service. Every country’s population has its own economic structure, lifestyle, and culture. If there’s no need for your product or service in a new area, you’re likely to lose time and money attempting to conduct business there.

Develop an international business plan

Any business plan needs a sound strategy that identifies a need for a product or service and explains how it will meet that demand. Developing a strategy can help you protect your resources and ensure expansion makes sense. It’s important to consider how a new area’s competition, cultural attitudes, and regulations could affect your product or service’s likelihood of success.

2. Research International Regulations

Every country in which you want to expand will have varying laws on everything from employment to marketing claims, and data privacy to taxes. 

You’ll want to operate legally and protect your business resources to avoid costly mistakes that can affect your budget and reputation. It’s wise to work with legal experts from the country in which you want to expand to ensure you’re following all rules and regulations.

Research assistance programs

In your research, you may discover government programs that could assist your business expansion. For example, there might be incentives for opening an office in a different country. Knowing this, could help inform your expansion strategy.

3. Hire Local Employees in the Region

Hire local employees in the area in which you are planning to expand has some advantages. Having local employees can:

  • Help ensure that you avoid cultural and language issues in omnichannel marketing and other company representations, such as your website.
  • Demonstrate that your company is invested in the area’s people and community. That can improve sentiment for your business and help spread the word about your company, which, in turn, can help you win more customers.
  • Help your company relate better to local customers. Customer-facing employees, such as customer support and sales teams, can help achieve this by speaking to customers in their native language. It also helps increase the diversity of your workforce. Plus, workers in other countries can also learn about other cultures through international teamwork.
  • Make your company more attractive to talented job candidates who are interested in working internationally or attending international events, such as business summits.

4. Explore Ways to Attract Local Customers

Market research can help you understand your target audience in each new area. You need to ensure your business proposition stays consistent in international markets, and you need to meet prospective customers where they are. For example, determine and target customers in the area that spend time on a particular social network. 

International marketing and sales teams can also benefit from local input to ensure customer experience strategies will work in that market. For example, learn whether an acceptable word or phrase in one language may be offensive in another. This effort includes:

  • Accepting local forms of currency
  • Offering culturally respectable messaging and communication in locals’ native language
  • Marketing on customers’ preferred channels
  • Providing customer support from local workers

5. Enable a Strong Company Culture

Weave your vision throughout corporate communications and global branches. All employees should be unified by the same mission, even when business strategies differ locally.

When your employees work across various time zones, ensure that collaboration and your company’s culture remains strong. 

Use technology and tools in daily operations that facilitate asynchronous collaboration. These could include social platforms like Discord, video conferencing and chat platforms like Microsoft Teams, and cloud-based project management solutions like Workfront.

Support team bonding

Support international team bonding by bringing teams together when possible. This might be through an annual in-person summit or virtual gatherings that can accommodate multiple offices. Publicize successes of international departments. This signals to all employees and teams the global impact your company is making. As your business strategy evolves, solicit input from your global teams to help everyone get involved and feel valued.

Learn More About Ensuring Global Business Success

International expansion can be an exciting time for a company. It can help you gain more customers, bolster international local economies, and provide other benefits to the world.

If you are involved in an international business, or you’re interested in global scaling, the Managing in the Global Digital Economy course from Wharton Online can help you succeed. 

This course:

  • Covers the growth of the digital economy through various digital platforms, 
  • Details how the network effect can unfold at global levels
  • Explains the risks of international expansion
  • How to develop a successful digital strategy

Learn more and enroll here.