Business Management

Key elements for globalizing your small business

Key elements for globalizing your small business

By Jane Brown

Expanding your sales operations globally may seem overwhelming given the diverse cultural, communal, and linguistic landscapes. Yet, recognizing and accepting these diversities is a key starting point towards achieving your goals.

The right approach along with tools that seamlessly enable global trade has helped thousands of small businesses – from Orlando to New York – successfully adapt to cross-border selling. Drawing from the achievements, here are 5 essentials to consider if you want to go international.

1. Shipping

Shipping processes are a paramount consideration when moving products out of the country. Whether it’s sending test samples to a defined audience, or order fulfillment, shipment is crucial to taking a business global. Urgent goods may be shipped by air, but several are delivered by sea. But shipping isn’t the only thing to worry about; you also have to deal with packaging, shipping documentation, printing, and other potential caveats.

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Acknowledging the need, companies can streamline procedures if they manage to find a shipping partner that also provides other small business services. For instance, shipping specialists like UPS can also handle printing, document, notarization, packing, etc. – This enables business owners to get multiple things done in one single place. Before proceeding, confirm that the shipping partner specializes in the region you’re expanding to.

2. Flexible Payment Options

If you’re selling in Italy, do as the Romans do. However, in countries like India and Brazil, don’t presume to always conduct transactions using credit cards. Most customers and suppliers in developing countries prefer wire transfers via banking channels – and the same applies to most individuals around the globe. In Switzerland, people conduct transactions using small calculators on the go. Why? They instruct the bank that they have to make an online payment, type a code into the calculator, get a secure code back, and use it to transfer the funds.

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This indicates that working with payments on an international level is a lot more complex than navigating payment waters back home. Adding to the challenge is the fact that you also have to deal with different taxes and currencies when you make payments abroad. In order to succeed, you have to find the right money transfer partner and offer super flexible payment options (allow customers to pay via credit card, PayPal, cash, etc.). It’s also vital to ensure that your product and technology teams can accommodate your offerings.

3. Marketing

If you’re expanding into a market where you have minimum to zero presence, you’d need marketing to get new audiences familiar with your product or service. The easiest way to announce your presence is through the use of social media and marketing. Networks like Facebook and Instagram do a great job at exposing businesses to a global audience, that too for free! There are a lot of ways you can go about it. For instance, you can create Facebook Live videos if you’re opening a new office to get potential customers excited.

Another thing you can do is build alliances/partnerships. This indirect marketing approach introduces you to not only new audiences but other businesses who may be interested in working with you. There could also be opportunities for cross-promotion; just work with companies that complement your offerings, not overlap them.

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These three things are probably the most important to get right as you learn the bits and bobs of scaling globally.

Jane Brown is a freelance personal finance blogger

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