One of the fastest ways to expand overseas is to partner-up with another business already operating in the market of your choice. Partnership can help you to begin selling your products and services overseas quickly and possibly without even being present yourself.
However, finding the right partner overseas is no easy task.
What makes a good overseas business partner?
When looking to partner-up with another business, make sure they have plenty of experience and expertise in your target market. A start-up is not ideal. Instead it pays to approach businesses that have an established customer base and a solid reputation. It’s definitely worth qualifying this in quantitative detail too however – which is often where our translation services get called in to translate potential partner’s company reports, accounts and other such material.
Partnering-up can mean avoiding the arduous process of learning about a new market and how business in a new country works. It can also help to cut back on delays and setbacks when expanding overseas. The best partners should be able to facilitate your expansion and help you to avoid legal and regulatory pitfalls as well.
How to find the right overseas partner
When looking for the perfect overseas partner to help you expand, there are several sources to explore:
- Your networking
This is, perhaps, the first port-of-call for anyone looking to increase their reach outside the domestic market. You may find that your clients in the UK have connections overseas that can be tapped into. Alternatively, networking at trade shows might help you to identify businesses that are doing something similar to you but in a foreign market. If they are successful, it might be worth starting a conversation with them about a possible partnership arrangement.
- International businesses
It would be a mistake to think that potential foreign business partners will only operate abroad. Plenty of companies that might make great overseas partners will also be operating in the UK. If you can identify international businesses in the UK that would make good partners, consider pitching the concept of a partnership in their home country to them; you can always pull in language translation service provider to help you navigate new countries and cultures.
- Go to the source
If you can be specific about where you would like to expand to, the best way to find a suitable partner may well be to head straight to that location and start looking. If you know you want to expand into France, head to France and start networking like crazy. Think about the companies or consumers you want to be targeting in this market, as this will help you to find a partner that already sells to these clients.
Using language translation services can help you communicate your needs effectively in other languages and understand the culture within which you will be working.
If you want to attract a partner in the market of your choice, having an existing global strategy will help you to win them over. This strategy can be made more focused for particular regions and the skills of translation and localisation experts can help in the process of formulating and communicating a strategy that will work in different cultures.
In order to attract potential partners, it also pays to be able to demonstrate a strong presence in your home market as partner targets are likely to be looking to work alongside a business that has made a success in their home country.
Although it may be tempting to throw everything you have into an overseas expansion with a new partner, starting small might be a better idea. Beginning with a specific product or region and getting that right before moving into more, or increasingly diverse markets might help you to avoid catastrophic errors that could cost you a lot of time and effort. Many of our clients start by translating single product or category literature for penetration into a specific market first, then often come back over the coming months to add products to this or to replicate the same approach in different countries.
Working with an overseas partner can help to mitigate some of the risk involved with international expansion, but it doesn’t remove it altogether. Finding a partner who can help you to export or distribute a tried and tested product in a specific region with proven demand, for example, is a good place to start.
In conclusion, partnering up with the right business overseas can give you instant access to a new market. It can also provide you with invaluable on-the-ground expertise and experience that you can draw upon. The right partner will be able to help guide your expansion journey, enabling you to flourish despite new regulations and legal constraints.
Whatever the approach you choose when making your business more international, working with language translation service providers, like our teams here at Bubbles, can help you at every step of your overseas expansion.