Every day new opportunities come up to grow your business outside the local market. How do you win these opportunities to grow, learn, retain clients and, consequently, sell more? How can you accompany your clients abroad offering your services?
Quoting Richard Branson, well-known innovator and business tycoon, “if somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
You have outgrown what was your world until now (your market), so you need to go abroad to be able to grow and compete beyond your borders. Competing in a global business environment where selling is not enough means that you’ll need to have more and more variables under control to operate successfully.
First, how do I go abroad?
An option to expand securely is opening a business office in the country of destination. In this scenario you will find high costs resulting from hiring human resources locally; a significant initial investment both in time and resources (trips, incorporation costs, contracting legal and administrative services...). Additionally, other aspects must be considered, such as a weaker brand image than your competitors’.
Sometimes businesses take the risk and go international. They leave their small world and try out nearby markets, where they feel relatively comfortable, but going beyond geographical proximity is quite an unchartered territory. A land to be explored, where the work culture, language, taxes and customs may be a significant barrier for business operations.
A place where people don’t know you and the natural reaction is better the devil you know... Furthermore, generating awareness (through communication and advertising) entails additional spending. This is clearly a barrier to market penetration (winning clients in the country of destination) and to making profit from a newly opened branch. However, the picture is not all black: of course, having your own team in the country of destination allows you to generate greater customer trust.
Our Executive Summary "The journey of a new business | Starting the trip" addresses the challenge of a starting a new venture and the amusement of launching and devoloping new business ideas:
Are there any other options to internationalise?
Of course there are! One of them is finding support in a local partner in the country of destination. A well-established local company which knows the market and plays on home turf. This type of alliance can yield several advantages: the local partner can manage logistics, is locally known, won’t face culture or language barriers and, in general, will bear structure costs. However, this option may prove less attractive than expected.
On the one hand, the partner will require some sort of compensation (monthly/yearly fee, a commission, etc.) to deliver according to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) you offer your clients and that you must enforce. The partner’s commitment will be based on such compensation, thus greatly affecting your project’s profitability.
On the other hand, the successful completion of your project may be at risk if you hand over the legwork to professionals you don’t know, who are far away and who have their own processes or ways which may differ from your client’s needs.
If you’re not fully convinced by the logistics, costs and communication of this internationalization model, we suggest you find support in a fellow partner that you know well. A support that is close to you geographically, someone you share a culture, language and time zone with. You may even root for the same soccer team! While your partner offers the know how, you save costs and securely offer your services abroad to your current clients.
Regardless of the choice you make, find a helping hand which can provide a specialized team, similar to yours, is aware of your clients’ needs and familiar with your industry at international level, and (what’s most important) which can provide solutions. Someone who can contribute with predefined communication and development processes for projects abroad and, additionally, who knows what to offer to companies striving for growth and expansion beyond national borders, overcoming any barriers your company may find in the way.
So let’s pursue these new opportunities to grow!
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