How to grow a global business
A global mindset starts with self-awareness, reflects an authentic openness to and engagement with the world, and employs a heightened awareness to the sensitivity of cross-cultural differences.
Have a company wide commitment
You can’t operate in a vacuum. To set the stage for winning, play the part by getting everyone from the social media manager to the finance manager to jump on board for global growth.
Whether you run a one man show or head up the international division of a Fortune 500 company, get buy in from everyone.
Choose a market
Pick a market that’s easy to get in and out of and has minimal red tape. Choose a country where the government promotes international trade and there’s a free trade agreement in place. But most important of all, choose a market where you know there are customers for your product.
A couple of global business intelligence companies can help you check on movements of products or services similar to yours:
Datamyne (acquired by Descartes)
PIERS (acquired by IHS Markit)
The International Trade Administration can also help with conducting market research to determine whether your product or service offering is suitable for export.
Choose a product to take global
Do you know what you want to sell globally? Will it be a product you already manufacture and sell, or will it be someone else’s product for which you serve as a middleman or middlewoman?
Choose a product that has a history of selling successfully, somewhere. Once you select the right product, you must next choose the right market.
Develop a market entry strategy
Two of the key controls are tariff and nontariff barriers set up to reduce imports that might compete with locally produced goods. It’s a form of protectionism. Be on the lookout for these tariffs and avoid those markets at all costs if possible.
If you are new to expanding internationally, exporting is a great first step because you can test the waters without a big upfront investment.
Certain economic or political trade controls and restrictions can cause impediments to an import.
Set thoughtful prices
Price your goods competitively, but ultimately, when it gets down to the bottom line, quality and consistency win out every time. Some customers might try other products, but eventually, they will come back to yours because of superior quality and consistency of manufacturing, not because your pricing is the cheapest.
Establish a payment plan
Structure the deal in such a way that the product gets sold, there is a negligible service fee involved and you get paid. Ask your banker for help. What payment plan should you set up with your customer: wire transfer, PayPal or Letter of Credit?
State your payment terms upfront
The single most important consideration in any business is cash flow. So often we get ahead of ourselves, focus on the excitement of the sale, and later regret that we didn’t hash out the payment method better and well in advance of finalizing the transaction.
Don’t let the first sale get the best of you. Stay grounded and a remind yourself that you are running a business that must earn profits and generate cash flow.
Make sure you are financially stable
Analyze your available resources such as human, material and financial | to determine how you will support global initiatives. You don’t want to weaken the state of your successful local business to satisfy the requirements to sell your products overseas.
Tailor your products to overseas customer
Trying to force a customer to buy what you have available, with little or no willingness on your part to make improvements, is insensitive and will only hurt your business. Build trust in each new market, which can only be done by localizing your offerings.
Get tariff information in advance of your global initiative
Get information well in advance on tariff and tax obligations for your products or those of your supplier in the country in which you are about to do business. You don’t want to erode your profits or, worse, impede your ability to compete just because you found out too late that tariffs are so high it’s impossible to price your product competitively against local firms.
Some business owners are worried that their products will not be able to compete overseas or locally because the tariffs are too high.
Ask overseas distributors what they anticipate selling
When exporting a product, ask overseas distributors, sometimes referred to as wholesalers, what they anticipate selling in the first year. Then monitor and exercise good control over a distributor’s sales. Find out in advance what products distributors sell to ensure they do not sell brands that compete with yours.
Move your products efficiently
The three major global transport players, UPS, DHL and FedEx, each have capabilities that move a product from local point A to overseas point B. But also look at new entrants in the industry, such as Freightos, Flexport and WebCargoNet.
Further, explore local freight-forwarding companies, which are all-around transport agents for moving cargo from a factory to your customer’s warehouse or storage facility. They can provide a personalized and customized service to not only move your products but also to manage your global supply chain needs worldwide.
In the case of diversifying your offerings, ask yourself: What other applications is my product or service valid for?
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning, diversify your customer base, diversify your offerings and diversify into other overseas markets. This way, when one thing goes wrong, your global strategy doesn’t fall apart.
Think beyond the everyday uses of things as well as cultural or market constraints and you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that arise.
Provide exceptional customer service
You might have the greatest product or service on earth, but if you don’t treat customers exceptionally, they will go elsewhere.
he relationship between you and your overseas customer shouldn’t end when a sale is made. Great customer service brings satisfaction, and satisfaction brings repeat orders.
Keep in constant touch with your customer.
A good attitude breeds success. So, give it all you’ve got, and don’t forget to give others your help when they need it or ask for it. Take a long look at your journey because it takes time to develop a successful global business.