Owning a small business is no small endeavor. And, as you prepare for growth, you may wonder if moving your products to an international market is a smart choice. It can be, but it pays to become acquainted with the nuances of global enterprise. The following guest post is brought to you as food for thought as you plan to expand beyond borders.
Benefits of Going Global
If you’re trying to decide if it’s a smart idea to expand into a global market, consider this: 95% of the world’s consumers don’t live in the US. That is according to the International Trade Administration. The organization also points out that the internet, e-commerce, and select free-trade agreements have made it easier than ever to market to a global audience. Having a larger pool of potential consumers reduces your financial risks; you can lose one market, and it will be a proportionately smaller share of your revenue than if you were marketing to US consumers only. Further, selling outside of your hometown – or home country – improves brand recognition, making it easier to expand into other categories down the road.
Expanding During A Crisis
As you learn to navigate pandemic economics, you’ll have to get creative in how you market, whether you stick to home or abroad. But marketing is not the only issue that you have to tackle head-on. As a small business owner, you may have found that your finances are less-than ready to take on a major new responsibility, such as international trade.
Fortunately, there are numerous resources online that can help you make a smart decision about your business, locate funding opportunities, and understand government grants and perks. And as Menzie’s explains, it’s also imperative that you adjust your business plan for a global expansion.
Safety concerns are something else that you must look at from the beginning. Get to know how the virus spreads, and make sure that you take every step possible to provide sanitized products across borders.
It’s Not The Same
Many novice international tradesmen attempt to launch their new business without first looking at cultural considerations. When you are selling to a new demographic, you have to take their culture into account. This means being cautious as you write and release your promotional materials and content. English is a difficult language to translate, so make sure you are not inadvertently creating a jumbled or offensive message during the process.
Before you launch, do some research. You may be surprised to find that high-value items at home won’t command as much overseas. Finally, get to know local and regional advertising laws.
Once you do make the decision to get started, there are issues to settle. One is choosing a shipping partner. Shipwire notes that FedEx, UPS, and DHL are reliable and trackable international carriers. However, you will have many other options, and your decision should be based on their track record, price, and efficiency.
Finally, get acquainted with import and export taxes. This is especially important if you plan to import raw materials for domestic production on items that will then be shipped internationally. While some countries have a free-trade agreement with the US, not all of them do. Consult with a knowledgeable accountant on export tax planning so that you can best understand your cost and adjust your pricing accordingly.
The world is changing, and so too must your business. And when part of the change that you want to enact involves crossing borders, it pays to know the process. (This brief post is not a replacement for the advice of an attorney or business mentor, but it can serve as a quick reference on how to get started when the time is right.)
Contact me today to set up a Legal Strategy Session for more information on launching a new business, expanding your current business, or creating an exit plan so that your legacy can live on.