The 5 main pitfalls in taking your business global and how to avoid them

Do you have a proven business and are you looking to expand globally?  Do you see the potential for your product offering overseas?

Expanding into new markets and serving new segments does have its risks but also the rewards.  Taking your startup business global seems like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be.

There are five main pitfalls many businesses fall into when trying to expand overseas. They;

  1. Don’t know where to start – To many businesses expanding internationally it is like battling a giant monster that they don’t know how to defeat.  They are left frozen and procrastinating.  They don’t even know where to start. The task just seems too overwhelming.
  2. Believe they don’t have the time – Running a business is busy work. There are always lots of things that need doing now!   Time is our most precious resource and business owners/ managers are always running out of it. Many businesses believe they don’t have the time to invest in expanding internationally.
  3. Think it is too complex – Setting up a new international market does have it complexities.  There are new geographies, languages, cultures, currencies, legislation and time zones to consider.  Many startups and SME’s just think it is too complicated.
  4. Assume it is very expensive – Given the perceived complexities and time requirements many businesses assume it is going to be very expensive.  They assume there will be lots of establishment costs and the returns will take a long time.
  5. Feel it is risky – Because of the number of unknowns the whole idea of going global just feels risky.  Not able to be there “on the ground” dealing with issues that might come up scares even the most courageous entrepreneurs.

According to Cynthia Dearin, Founder of International Business Accelerator and Speaker at B2B Rocks conference in Sydney (6&7 June 2019): Only about 5% of small to medium enterprises (SME’s) in Australia operate internationally or service international clients.

Based on my experience with Australiance and taking several of my own ventures to APAC/Europe from Australia, I believe that businesses  put international expansion into the “too hard’ basket and never do anything about it. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 10 simple practical actions you can start doing to get moving in the right direction.

  1. Set the goal to “go global” – Everything begins with setting an intention.  Set a 1 or 2 year goal to expand into a particular international market.
  2. Start to take little actions – a lot of what has us paralyzed and procrastinating is not knowing.  Just start.  That action will begin to slowly build momentum.
  3. Learn from others that did it – Speak to other businesses and founders that have expanded overseas. Find out what they did.
  4. Make going global a priority – Dedicate a percentage of your time and resources to this goal. Like everything in life and business it can be “figured out”
  5. Get expansion experts – You don’t have to do it alone. There are many international expansion experts who can assist you. Find and speak to them.
  6. Find government assistance – Find out what assistance you could get from the government like the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG).
  7. Limit your investment – Think about your go to market strategy.  Think of other ways you might enter a market but limit your investment for example through joint ventures, partnerships or acquisitions.
  8. Select a specific segment – Start off with a small, specific segment to test, learn and improve rather than try and take a market by storm.
  9. Do your homework – Before you enter a market, make sure you do your homework and understand the customers’ needs. Possibly do some customer interviews to learn of any differences in customer needs.
  10. Manage your risks – Identify and manage your risks.  Each business will have its own unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Play to your strengths and opportunities. Manage your weaknesses and threats.

Do you want to expand your business globally?  

At the  B2B Rocks  conference on June 6 & 7 2019 in Sydney we have several events that are designed to do just that.  

Click here  to learn more about this event. IdeaSpies is a Partner with the event and you can get 20% off your tickets with this code IDEASPIESFRIENDS

By Leo Denes

Founder Australiance

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