Many small business owners have never approached the conversation of expanding to international markets. Why? They might not think it’s feasible or realistic. However, many small businesses are perfect for global markets and are missing out on extremely valuable opportunities abroad.
Michael Evans, a Forbes contributor and Managing Director of Newport Board Group, explains in his article titled: “10 Key Steps To Expanding Your Business Globally”
“Going global’ is defined as the worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. The concept of globalization can be traced back as far as the Roman Empire.’ More recently, the concept was popularized by Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World Is Flat, in which he argued that the pace of globalized trade, outsourcing, and supply-chaining was speeding up and that its impact on business organizations and business practices would continue to grow in the 21st century.”
The global market is growing and becoming more accessible to small businesses in today’s world. It is key to position your small business for success and recognize this climate as an opportunity for your small business to ensure longevity.
Small is Just a Word
Don’t let the term “small business” niche you and your company. Small businesses are categorized by the U.S. Small Business Administration by the size standards in average revenue and average number of employees. The definition and characteristics of a “small business” even varies from industry to industry and can be quite vague. There is no reason that you should let the word “small” hold you back from big opportunities.
Once you escape the confines of the term “small business,” then you can open your mind to the possibility of global growth.
Characteristics of a Small Business Ready for Global Growth
There are a few questions that you can ask yourself to identify whether your small business is ready for global expansion:
Is Your Small Business Financially Stable?
For the global growth strategy and execution, you may need to evaluate whether or not your current resources can hold up without you. This choice will require time and attention, so you and the internal team tasked with this goal will need to be focused. The remaining employees and infrastructure will need to be financially and operationally solid before making the decision to move forward.
Is There a Demand for Your Product?
This is critical. Your answer should rely on information derived from thorough research in the form of a competitor analysis, target market analysis and a review of distribution options.
Will Your Small Business’ Brand Adapt to New Cultures?
This may seem trivial, but when you enter new markets you have to be aware of how your logo, tagline and messaging will be perceived. You will need to determine if your existing brand translates positively in the native language and the overarching culture. It is also very important, when analyzing potential cultural shifts, that you nail down the appropriate trademarks, licenses and copyrights to keep your intellectual property protected and legally up-to-par.
What Markets are Easiest for You to Enter?
There are two ways to answer this question. First, if you already have international customers of some caliber, the natural progression of expanding to that market may make the most sense. If you don’t have any existing international customers, then it is time to dive into the research. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Luxemburg, Switzerland, Panama, Denmark and Sweden as the most business-friendly countries. Other great sources to pull market research from are Euromonitor International and Google Trends.
Where Can You Get Help to Take Your Small Business Global?
We understand that this opportunity may feel monumental, however, the outcome of taking your small business global may serve as the catalyst to your longevity, enhanced brand recognition, and ultimately - more sales.
Once you make your judgement call, we will guide you through the necessary steps of strategic planning and execution.
Before going global, it is crucial to exercise due diligence by researching and creating the perfect strategy for success. This process should center around critical data gathering in the form of a market segmentation analysis, gap analysis, SWOT analysis and an overall strategic global growth plan. This may sound daunting and like a huge time commitment for your teams - this is how you know it is time to bring in a Trusted Advisor.
With our extensive global experience and connections, we can help you identify what new markets make the most sense for your small business. We will provide valuable consultation based on our first-hand experiences in various markets and in similar growth situations with other companies so the process is executed seamlessly.
If the thought of expanding your small business internationally excites you and you want to discuss in more detail, please contact Castus via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’re interested in reading more articles about global business development, we invite you to read our previous article titled “Emerging Markets Have A Strong Outlook For The First Time In A Long Time.”