10 Tips on expanding your business globally

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by Effie Salourou, Customer Operations Manager at Commit

Are you considering taking your first steps in the global market, in an attempt to reach international audiences with your products or services? With the use of social media and the Internet, the world has become a much smaller place. Our society is globally connected and many people around the world can now access your products or services. But going global is no easy task! It requires time, effort and money. Read our 10 tips below and make sure you’re on the right track.

  1. Analyze the situation. Before deciding to go global with your business ask yourself the following 2 questions: Is there enough of your target market in a given area to support business? Does your product have global appeal? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you can continue to Tip No2.
  1. Do your homework. Research the marketplace you want to enter. Who are the key players? What is the competition like? What are the trends and preferences of the country in question? Performing an in-depth market research will help you determine your target audience and define your sales approach to better promote your brand.
  1. Localize your brand. According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory, named “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy: Why Language Matters on Global Websites”, 72.4% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language and 2% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. Imagine that! Data shows that localizing content for specific markets multiplies the desired selling effect substantially and people are even willing to pay more if they receive information in their own language. Are you convinced already?
  1. Use a professional translation agency from the early start. Whether you need an interpreter for your first corporate meeting or a complete localization of your website and marketing collateral, make sure to use professionals to achieve the desired effect. When you are dealing with business terminology, you’ll easily find out that “Google Translate” most probably won’t cover your needs. In fact, it can end up embarrassing your business and having the exact adverse effects from the ones you were hoping for. Also, by translating your content with Google Translate, you are uploading it to the Internet, so bye bye confidentiality! On the other hand, a language services provider will use native, certified translators whose expertise matches your type of content, experienced project managers and industry-leading localization tools ensuring consistency, confidentiality and reduced costs.
  1. Make communications easy. If you’re aiming at global expansion, you’ll need to be in constant communication with distributors, sales reps and clients. Phone and e-mail communication can be impersonal, so start using alternatives like online-video conferencing.
  1. Travel, travel, travel. As far as communication goes, Skype and FaceTime have helped a lot, but they are still not the same as speaking to your clients, sales reps and vendors face-to-face. Plan frequent visits to your target country to keep track of your operations’ progress.
  1. Buy or partner up. The easiest way to enter a market affordably is to acquire a smaller business that already has local presence. This gives you instant market entry, inside knowledge of the target market and experienced quality staff.
  1. Find the right Sales reps, Managers and Subject Matter Experts. This is both very important and very difficult. According to Eric Markowitz of Inc.com “finding the right people to help sell your product is often the difference between success and failure. If you have to choose between reps, pick a person who knows the market to someone who knows your product. Very often you can teach a person about a product or a brand, but it’s very hard to teach someone about a market.”
  1. Study rules and regulations overseas. Research business regulations in each country you want to do business in, make sure your product does not violate any regulations and check all rules for trademarks and copyrights. Your company might be subject to unfamiliar regulations so you might want to prepare yourself.
  1. Market your top products or services first. Your company might have a long list of amazing products but in order to break into a new market you have to invest your time and effort on the one product that will sell itself. When choosing this product, you should take into account its main differentiator that separates it from all the other products in the specific market.

ND Focus for Executives – In review

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A series of new events was launched by ELIA, the first one being ND Focus for Executives. The Focus events are targeted to specific stakeholders within the LSP industry and Commit was once again there to attend this event; the venue was intentionally secluded to allow for brainstorming without distractions, and Barceló Formentor at Cape Formentor, Mallorca, fulfilled every promise for reclusiveness.

The event featured two tracks, one on Business Strategies and one on Mergers and Acquisitions, and we attended both.

The Business Strategies track was moderated by Arturo Quintero, co-founder of Moravia, who offered a valuable insight in the landmarks of strategic planning an organization must have in place in order to achieve sustainable growth. The track included a few workshop features on determining the basic tools and processes towards corporate identification and development. An intriguing discussion evolved around the necessity and usefulness of mission and vision statements and their role in employee engagement. Two interesting exercises that revealed the many different levels of both maturity and expectations in the group – more than 50 people, among whom were both company owners and managing directors – were the internal and external assessment and the SWOT analysis. Arturo shared examples from his wealthy experience at Moravia encouraging the attendees to also honestly share their own personal challenges and concerns. The Business Strategies track has indeed been an inspiration for setting our eyes to the future and taking the necessary steps to get there.

The Mergers & Acquisitions track was moderated by Geert Vanderhaeghe, who brought in many years of banking experience, along with his recent involvement in the LSP industry. As the topic of M&As can be a really wide one, the sessions tried to cover the essentials of mergers and acquisitions, both from the buyer and the seller point of view, including financials, market opportunities, and some dos and don’ts. What we found really interesting was the exercise that took place during the last session, where we were called to identify the pros and cons of both our industry and our companies. Lots of opinions were exchanged, revealing the different perspectives of LSPs of many sizes, plus the views and struggles of company owners trying to distinguish between running a corporate or a lifestyle company.

Lots of knowledge to be absorbed but there is enough time till the next edition of the ND Focus for Executives to be held in Greece in 2017! See you all there!