Overseas expansion can be an exciting but daunting task for SMEs, simultaneously marking significant company growth and a possible catalyst for disruption. However, small businesses can reduce risks and make the most of their foray into new markets if they make the right preparations beforehand. To help you plan your expansion, Bubbles Translation Services has put together four top tips to get your business in order before you begin international trading.
1. Do Your Market Research
Knowing your market is key to success abroad, and prior research will ensure you hit the ground running on ‘moving day’. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely previous market research you’ve conducted for the home market will be sufficient to ascertain your focus in a new overseas market, so it’s vital to take the time to know your new target audience.
Firstly, establish the current demand for your product or service overseas to ensure you’re expanding into the right territory, and then consider localising your product or service to suit its new market. Here at Bubbles we work with our clients throughout their expansion, helping them translate their market research and adapt their brand message into values that are in keeping with the culture of their new market.
2. Assess Your Marketing (and Aftersales) Strategy
It’s likely you’ll have an established network of marketing gurus at your company’s hub, but you’ll be starting afresh when you expand your business abroad. Each new market will have its own economic, cultural and legislative conditions to consider, so developing a localised strategy with the help of trusted local experts could help you navigate matters when you eventually take the leap.
If possible, relocate a basic team to evaluate the offerings within each area of your company operations, from agencies to distribution, so there’s no delay when you begin trading overseas. Aftersales is another important consideration, and a new language is likely to pose problems for a monolingual technical support team. For some products and services, translation of a technical guide or manual into the appropriate language could be the answer, while others may need to consider opening a local technical support centre to provide one-to-one advice.
3. Consider Your Marketing Communications
As an important part of translating your brand, marketing communications can make or break your expansion. With the help of professional translators you should consider the implication of a change in culture on your marketing campaign. Although it may seem tempting to simply to choose a direct translation, it’s possible your brand’s values may not be relevant or appropriate in your next market. Seek the help of an experienced team who can translate and amend your marketing campaign to ensure it maintains your brand image without offending your new audience.
4. Consider Operational Obstacles
The legal and banking operations in a new country are unlikely to mimic those that have previously shaped your internal processes. When expanding abroad, consider how changes to these systems may impact your business. One method of navigating complex financial, contractual and legal infrastructures is to outsource this part of your operations to local service providers, which may help you escape costly mistakes. Even if this is outsourced, it’s still important to translate the contractual material your partners are using to ensure you know what kind of promises they’re making on your behalf. Deeper research into these areas will also help you avoid making oversights when it comes to government regulations, so you can keep problems to a minimum as you establish your business abroad.