Crossing the Borders: Tips and Considerations for a Facile Overseas Business Expansion

International markets become increasingly attractive for businesses of all sizes. For those business owners who think about expanding their operations abroad, this may be a frightening thought and a rather complex and difficult process. But in this age and time, it becomes increasingly easier to tackle this process and all its implications. Today, it is easier than ever to cross the borders and explore new markets, which advantages mid-size enterprises that want to go international. According to some recent studies, one in 10 companies today, plans to expand internationally in the next one or two years.

But a common fear of those mid-size business managers is concerned about managing and employing a global workforce in an effective fashion. In many cases, they feel like they don’t have the skills or tools necessary for this entire process. When going global, it’s important to remember and use some tips and considerations, as presented by the experts. Below are some of those.

#1. Your company’s overseas operations

For a smooth overseas business, you have to establish and decide in advance how will you structure your company in the new location. If you carefully think about it, there are several options where to pick from. Opening a branch or establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary are two of the most common solutions. Of course, both have their specific advantages and disadvantages, but the type of overseas operation type depends mostly on the type of business that you plan to carry. A branch office would be more suitable for a retail business. On the other hand, a subsidiary would be more appropriate if you want to build a larger presence with the local customer base. If you take into account the taxes involved, you will soon discover that some options are better than others are.

#2. The Staffing and Hiring Process

You will most likely have to tackle maybe one of the most complicated tasks associated with going international: hiring. Hiring an employee in a foreign country is certainly a complex and slow process, but not if you use the right resources. Professional Employer Organizations specialise in helping businesses grow their capabilities in an easy and fast fashion.

When expanding to a new foreign location, you simply have to get in touch Professional Employment Organization (PEO) that is able to employ your staff on your behalf. While this isn’t your traditional employment solution, these organizations help businesses expand overseas by minimizing the risks and costs associated with directly setting-up a legal entity in the target country.

In short, when you rely on PEOs, you simply outsource your employment relationship from a local third party that is managing the local contract signature, payroll, social security and mandatory benefits contributions, medical insurance and visa procedures (if applies). You are basically just outsourcing all the HR-related matters, while focusing on your business development.

You could try and tackle the whole recruitment and employment process yourself. But we all know, anecdotally, how slow and complicated the whole process is. Better rely on the experience of a local professional global employment organization and skip the headaches.

#3. Accommodate to the New Pitching

When you expand your business abroad, the way you were selling on your local market suddenly becomes irrelevant. Adjust your pitch so it meets the new local standards. While you want to maintain the same values as before to preserve your brand consistency, in some cases, you need to reshape and adapt your business so it becomes relevant for the local market. This means that you have to adjust your content, but not only. In some cases where the company has a completely different approach than what works in the new foreign market, a massive overhaul is necessary to make the company presentation relevant and successful.

Thus, make sure that you research any potential challenges early and avoid surprises.

#4. Never Start Without A Thorough Market Research

The new market and its specifics matter enormously so you want to research with increased attention the demographics of the chosen foreign business location. You want to start collecting data and competitive intelligence as soon as possible. This includes pricing systems, competition, customer preference, customer segmentation and so on.

Make sure that you get all that information from relevant and authoritative sources in your new location. This will help you paint a clearer idea on the market specifics and how you should adapt your business plan to the new market specifics.

#5. Embrace Your Company History and Record

Don’t just run away from your company’s success when going international. Exploit it to bits. Just because your products or services weren’t originally created in the market you plan on entering in the near future, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful or desired. In fact, you should shamelessly expose what made your business so successful in your original market and make the foreign audience curious enough to test your products.

Think of the issue in the following way: your previous success generates new success, so why not use your local reputation, rich history and impeccable products to start fresh and expand your business to new, unexplored markets?

#6. Get Accustomed to the Local Ways

When discussing with foreign business partners, remember that each country has its own cultural burdens and limitations and, sometimes, this might raise some difficulties for you. For instance, Europeans don’t mean “yes” when they say “it’s great”.

Communication issues seem to be some of the most difficult to tackle when expanding to new, foreign locations, but betting accustomed with the local ways, culture and customs will definitely make it easier for you to transition to your foreign market of choice. Don’t get discouraged and don’t hesitate to ask further questions when communication barriers appear.

With so many new markets to explore around the globe, it would be a shame to remain constricted by your fear on a small market in your home country. If you plan ahead and make the right decisions, you will most likely end up being quite successful abroad and boosting your company’s revenue. This opens new markets and access to a new type of consumer, which certainly is exciting.