If your business is booming in the US and you are thinking of expanding, the overseas market might look awful tempting. At first glance, you see more customers and more profit—but at what cost? Do your due diligence before trading internationally and don’t play the risky game of trying to get too big, too fast. Becoming a global company is an admirable goal, but going full speed and throwing caution to the wind could risk your entire business if you fail. If you’re considering overseas expansion, we have compiled four basic do’s and don’ts of doing business internationally.
Do Your Research
I know this should be rather obvious, but I can’t state how important this is—you can never do enough research. Your first step should be checking out other US companies within your industry that maintain a global presence. This not only informs you on the viability of doing business overseas, but also lets you know what competition exists in your market. An added step here, and one I highly suggest, would be to pull your competitor’s business credit report to gain some added insight and intelligence. The next crucial step would be to check into any legislation and trading standards governing the countries where you are hoping to expand. Finally, I suggest conducting market research to determine whether there is enough market share to sustain your operations.
Don’t forget localization
Different countries respond differently to marketing, so what gets a response in the US won’t necessarily do the same in China or Finland. You will need to do some research and ask plenty of questions to gain some inside information and some insight into different marketing practices. You will need to adapt your message to appeal to different cultures, different people, and different businesses. Another vital step is to ensure your product and processes are compliant in other countries. Keep in mind, in some cases you may need to use local manufacturers to meet with that country’s standards.
Do invest in Marketing Data
Good marketing data can make or break you in a foreign country. High quality marketing data will provide you solid business opportunities and help you get off to a good start. If you’re looking to do business in Belgium, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, or Sweden you’re in luck—Creditsafe offers marketing data in each of these countries. By making an investment in good marketing data, you will be able to see the existing opportunities in the market and you will have companies to call when you open your doors.
Don’t forget to credit check
As you would in the US, you also need to credit check when you expand internationally. A common misconception with businesses is the thinking the only need to check to make sure customers are paying on time. When conducting business overseas you also need to check your exporters and suppliers. If an exporter or supplier should become insolvent you’d be left with no product to sell or ship. To be safe, if there is any question in your mind on whether or not to check a customer, supplier, exporter, or competitor, err on the side of caution and pull a report. With Creditsafe you have ‘Freedom Access,’ so you won’t have to worry about incurring any per report costs.