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July 8, 2015

A Bittersweet Symphony of Global Expansion

After you have set up your own company and reached certain success, it is time to think about next moves. Whether it is hiring new employees, introducing fresh products or coming up with innovative promotional tactics and marketing strategies – you should always strive toward improvement.

Sometimes this means global expansion to another country or continent, but it is never easy setting up business in an unknown environment. You have to consider local industry, resources and people, as well as potential benefits and problems. Here are a couple of facts you might find useful about global expansion.

The Right Time to Expand

One of the most important things to take into consideration is when to take this step. What do you have to achieve to be ready and what resources do you need to have? Are you ready to realize your future goals or will expansion crash and burn?

The most general rule, despite sounding too generic and prosaic, is usually correct: only after you have achieved great local success are you ready to expand globally. Even though you can never be completely sure that is the right time, there is no point in doing so before experiencing palpable accomplishments in your own country and having enough money and knowledge to sense the market elsewhere.

Furthermore, investments cannot be acquired rapidly – make a five- or 10-year plan. Try to predict how much money you will need and set some aside every month. Once you are among the most successful domestic brands and have room for improvements, think about expanding and make sure that potential international failure will not harm the position you have in your country.

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The Benefits

Potential benefits are mostly concerned with finances and diversification. When it comes to expenses and gains, global business includes a boost in sales and a higher income. It does not matter if you just market your products in another country or open a new branch there, you should see a raise in revenue.

Also, you can expect lower costs of production over time – not in the beginning, of course, but after a while – and you will probably manage to find cheaper resources. In the end, some of your products or services may not be popular in your country, but they might be abroad – for example, China is famous for exporting everything from electronics to precious metals, both due to their global popularity and local satiation.

Initial Research

Before starting an expansion project, you have to research the country you are investing in. This means trying to figure out the potential popularity of your products and implementation in the existing market. However, it is not enough: you also must learn the business etiquette of the country. It is not uncommon for potential investors to pay visits before making final decisions.

Only an immediate experience will provide you with the answers regarding market fluctuations, future opportunities and potential problems, issues and threats you might be facing.

Further Analyses

After initial inquiries, you can continue with more concrete items. Think back to what you did when you were starting your now successful company and try to repeat similar steps in a new environment – competition, cultural differences and potential problems you can have.

Connecting to a local company or advisor works well – people with inside information are able to assist you with competitive companies. Make a file on them: who they are, what they do, how good they are, how much of the market share they cover, will they be a threat, etc. Also, explore local culture, etiquette and customs because this will not only make you adapt to new surroundings more easily, but also present yourself in a more professional manner.

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How to Register a Company Abroad?

Depending on where you want to expand and how rigid local laws and regulations are, registering a company could be challenging. Be sure you know the procedure and all the documents you need to prepare before registering it.

Some countries, like Singapore, are currently more than ideal for startups and new companies because they are offering positive reinforcements for investors and entrepreneurs and its climate – the so-called startup ecosystem – is developed in so many details that company incorporation in Singapore is now easier than ever.

The Necessary Resources

Apart from finances, you will also need a number of other things – the office space, materials, equipment and supplies, trusted employees and connections in the local community and industry. This is why having a domestic partner or an advisor is beneficial because you can hire someone to find these things out for you. If that is not possible, be prepared to personally visit the country you want to expand to and gather information on your own.

Of course, you also need a group of trusted colleagues whose job it is to advise you, feel the pulse of the foreign market and help you adapt to it. This should include your team of lawyers, marketing experts, finance executives and local partners, as well as translators whose role in international business is immeasurable.

Final Remarks

After all the preparations, research and multiple steps, you should still be aware that global expansion is not always a positive step. Be prepared for a slow start – unless the country you are expanding to completely lacks the products/services you offer – but, if all the steps are done correctly, also expect success in due time.

After you experience positive results, you will be more prepared to expend to other countries as well.

Neil Adams is an Australia based entrepreneur and aspiring writer who’s been running his own online business for four years now. His interests are in the fields of marketing, startup culture, business psychology and self improvement. When not in his home office he loves adventuring around Australia and beyond.


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Neil Adams is an Australia based entrepreneur and aspiring writer who’s been running his own online business for four years now. His interests are in the fields of marketing, startup culture, business psychology and self improvement. When not in his home office he loves adventuring around Australia and beyond.

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