If there is one thing that we can say about the world in which we live today, it would be that we live in a global community. Yes, there are borders and independent governments, even within the EU, but in terms of commerce, most doors are wide open. Whether you have an ongoing business or are a startup interested in global trade, there are a few things you should know before making that decision.
Do You Need a CFO?
While you may think your company is small enough to do without a Chief Financial Officer, when opening up to a global market, this is one position you may wish to add. The reason for this is because a Masters in Business Management online from a graduate program at Aston University offers a tailored approach to commerce in international markets. As you will see from the following information, this may be something you are unprepared to deal with. Each international market is unique and unless you are well-versed in international trade, global commerce can consume every hour of every day.
Be Aware of Trade Agreements
One thing that Masters in Business Management online degree mentioned above will offer is a sound understanding of international trade agreements. You may have a product you feel would be perfect in a specific market, only to discover there is no trade agreement or there are trade embargos preventing you from doing business there.
Market Research and Product Readiness
The next step to consider before deciding on any one market, or markets, would be whether you have a market-ready product there. Even if your product is doing well at home, is there a market for it in the region you would like to export to?
Conversely, don’t think that a product not selling well at home would do any better abroad. It may seem like it is a better fit for another market but until you do the research you could be wasting time and money in the vain hope of being successful in a new market.
Develop a Business Plan
Creating a business plan for working in a global market has some similarities to a business plan you would develop for a company doing business within your own country. However, there are differences as well. In either case, you would want to determine if you are going to sell direct via such channels as the internet or are you going to work with local distributors.
The difference here isn’t the method of doing commerce but rather the availability of quality distributors. Also, your business plan would take into account such things as registering to do business, funding an international venture, and other areas that are similar to doing business at home but with major differences as well.
Check the Availability of Distributors
As part of your business plan, you will want to determine if there are any respected distributors where you intend to sell your products. Of course, if you are going to engage in direct shipping to consumers, this wouldn’t be important. However, if you are looking to mass-market products abroad, distribution is a key factor.
Take the time to build a list of potential distributors and then vet them one by one. Narrow down your list and then contact those you are considering. Once you have contracted distributors, it’s time to finalize your plans for going global. Shipping is another area of distribution you will need to think about at this point, so consider the various options in cost-effective shipping open to you.
Create a Marketing Strategy
How and where you market your products is also an important factor in taking your business global. With that said, many of the marketing strategies that work well at home will also work well abroad. Nonetheless, there are cultural and political nuances to be considered when developing an international marketing campaign.
You may not have an onboard marketing team and if not, this is another specialist you should consider ‘hiring.’ It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire an in-house marketing team, but you really should consider outsourcing marketing to a team with experience in global marketing.
Begin with a Test Market
Another key piece of advice would be to begin with a single test market to see how your brand and products do in other markets. As mentioned above, what works well in one market may not do well in another, so opening up your products to a single test market may be the place to start.
Your marketing team will be able to do the research, before launching in that market and they will also be able to track response once you’ve launched. It will take a marketing plan specific to that market and that’s something a marketing specialist will be well versed in.
Some companies reassess each of the above steps regularly, but others wait until they see real numbers aren’t lining up with those which were predicted in the beginning. Either way, it is vital that you reassess results often, especially in the very beginning.
Once you have found that there is a smooth flow in your business plan it is possible to open up to new markets if that is your intent. In much the same way as you continue to crunch numbers at home you will need to do the same when selling in a global market. Use this as a way to fine-tune your business plan and marketing strategies.
There is more involved in doing business in a global market but the potential for unlimited growth is there. As a rule of thumb, always work with experienced professionals when outsourcing work or hiring in-house experts.
There is much to learn when dealing with an international market and unless you have the time to do the footwork yourself, you may be fighting an uphill battle. However, the good news is that the potential is there to build a successful global business. Everything depends on what you are willing to put into the process.
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