In today’s increasingly global economy, business success relies on being able to scale internationally at the right time. There are a host of reasons why expanding to new regions can be rewarding:
- A distributed workforce brings new expertise and local knowledge to propel your growth to promising emerging markets.
- With 96% of the world’s consumers residing outside of the US, international expansion delivers access to new consumers, driving sales and profitability.
- Global growth provides opportunities to diversify revenue streams, increasing your business’s resilience.
- New regions will present the opportunity to explore new products, resources, and investment opportunities that might not be available locally.
Taking your small business global might seem daunting, but with these potential benefits it’s clear that one requisite for sustained growth and success is expanding your business globally. So, what does it take to successfully scale a business internationally? These 5 steps will help successfully launch a global expansion strategy.
Build a Business Plan
Before setting out into uncharted waters, draw up a map. A detailed business plan is a necessary first step to beginning a new venture, including international expansion. Each market has its own unique features, including regulatory, cultural, and economic conditions that need to be considered and integrated into the overall business strategy. Driving local success will rely on making sure your product is market-ready and positioned to achieve high impact, so take some time to review your target geography and consumer base.
Consider Language and Cultural Differences
Expanding into foreign markets can be an eye-opener for entrepreneurs unprepared for the sometimes jarring differences in culture. Getting a handle on these nuances before launching will help avoid faux pas and foibles, so consider seeking guidance from local partners or experts to strategize marketing, branding, and how to build office culture for your distributed team. Pay attention to translations to make sure nothing is getting lost along the way. Localization isn’t just for the product, it’s also for business processes, so get to know the new market you are entering before launching. It’s also a good idea to do a limited soft launch before going all-in.
Hire a Distributed Team
Distributed teams work together from different geographic locations, relying on technology to communicate and collaborate. This work model has grown in popularity in recent years and is anticipated to continue this trajectory. Recent research anticipates that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote teams.
The success of any global expansion relies in large part on onboarding and managing local talent, making building a team in your intended locale an important step to global expansion. People are the most important resource in any endeavor, so focus on finding the right ones for your project. The upsides of hiring globally are significant, so get your hiring process perfected before entering a new market.
Secure the Right Infrastructure
When you are ready to expand your business globally, one important step to take is securing the infrastructure you’ll need to ensure a smooth launch. This is a significant undertaking but with some advanced planning, you’ll be able to get everything ready so that you can hit the ground running when the time is right. Here are some of the foundations that need to be laid before expanding to a new market:
- Local logistics and distribution
- Supply chain sourcing and harmonization
- Quality assurance processes
- Financial infrastructure, including banking and taxation compliance
- IT and communications solutions, including secure data sharing between team members and other stakeholders
- Labor law compliance and hiring practices
Setting up your business processes and infrastructure ahead of expansion will help avoid major missteps and will position your project for optimal growth and market penetration.
Leverage Tech for Seamless International Payroll Management
Once the groundwork is laid and you are ready to expand your business globally, set up back-office infrastructure to ensure operational continuity, ongoing regulatory compliance, and employee retention. Administering staff-related processes such as payroll and HR in each location is expensive, complex, and time-consuming. Furthermore, there is always a risk of regulatory errors and noncompliance.
When working with distributed teams in multiple international locations, one of the greatest challenges is managing payroll, benefits, and taxation. There are a number of challenges with international payroll management related to compliance, integration and data security, whilst not delivering payroll runs on time can also impact team morale and productivity.
Leveraging technology to streamline back-office logistics, including using HCM software to deliver a unified payroll solution, will minimize complexity, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and ensure that your people get paid in full and on time across multiple countries and currencies. Global EoR services are another way to hire, onboard and pay global workers.
Tech solutions are not just for back-office processes, they can also be used to promote communication, collaboration, and productivity amongst distributed teams. Leveraging software platforms can help enhance employee engagement and track critical data points to guide ongoing improvement.
Entering the international arena is one way to expand your business and increase profitability, however there are several steps that any leader should take before going global. While the upside of expansion is significant, for example by protecting against declining domestic markets, opening up new consumer bases and opportunities, and delivering access to top-notch talent, it is vital to lay the groundwork in advance of your launch.
Make a plan, do your research, hire the right people, build the necessary infrastructure, and implement tech-propelled management solutions: with these 5 steps you will put yourself on the right path for expanding your business globally.
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