If you’re thinking of growing your company beyond your own borders, planning is crucial. International expansion mistakes tend to happen when companies step outside of familiar territory and market their goods and services outside of their home countries.
Let’s discuss a few common blunders that businesses make when they expand internationally.
Top 4 International Expansion Mistakes
1. International Expansion For the Wrong Reason
Before you decide to enter the international marketplace, think about why you want to do it. Are you doing it just because everyone else is doing it? Global expansion isn’t always easy, so it shouldn’t be considered a way to make a quick buck. An international expansion strategy is a long-term investment.
To assess your company’s commitment and readiness to go global, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your company have the structural and financial capability to sustain international growth?
- Does your business have an organizational structure that is flexible enough to adapt to new markets?
- Do you have a management team in place that is prepared to meet global challenges?
- Do you have the necessary resources and staff to focus on international expansion while maintaining your current domestic customer base?
2. Not Having an International Expansion Plan in Place
As exciting as it may seem to be thinking about expanding internationally, doing so without a deliberate plan in place could mean that you won’t succeed. Also, keep in mind that the same plan probably won’t work for each country that you are considering. Different countries are likely to have different markets, needs, laws, and cultural preferences. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all market expansion formula. The first thing you should do is conduct some basic research on the marketplace you want to go into.
Be sure to ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a demand for your product or service in the target market?
- Who’s already in the local market?
- Who’s winning?
- Who’s losing?
3. Not Hiring the Best International Talent
Talented people are investments in your business’s future, so you should be willing to pay for excellence. Hire the best personnel to lead your company to success in new international markets. Keep in mind that local talent will have a much better idea of what customers want, and they’ll be in a better position to understand their needs. It’s essential to hire local people who understand local laws and regulations. For a local team to thrive, it needs strong leadership in place to make the right decisions.
Here are some questions that can point you in the right direction:
- How are we going to train our teams on cultural differences in new markets?
- How should we manage taxes, compliance, and immigration requirements for new countries? What about human resources?
- Can we support a team of remote employees in different time zones?
4. Not Thinking About Localization
Localization needs to be a primary component of your international strategy. Beyond general market research, take a look at local product preferences, preferred local marketing channels, and consumer behavior in your targeted market. Cultural norms vary widely, and you have to be able to adapt to differences.
Here are some more questions to think about:
- What languages are spoken in the target market?
- What local standards and requirements are in place relating to my product or service?
- Can my product or service be adapted to this new market?
- Do I truly understand the buying patterns of my targeted demographic?
- What form does the local business etiquette take?
With proper preparation and planning, international markets can offer unlimited opportunities for your business.
One way to avoid international expansion mistakes is to choose the right translation management service (TMS). Localize is a state-of-the-art TMS that can help you translate and localize content for markets all over the world. Talk to us to see how we can help you successfully grow your company internationally.