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International Expansion the Right Way

Starting a business in one’s own country can be a daunting task. It often involves piles of paperwork and navigating hundreds of unfamiliar processes to get the permits you need. Once your business is established and running successfully, though, your eyes may look to other horizons—AKA new markets. These markets provide an opportunity to reach a new and wider customer base. Reaching those customers, however, and selling to them can be hard work. No matter where you decide to set up shop, expanding internationally can be confusing and complicated. However, there are a few things you can do to smooth the process before opening your doors—or your website—to international consumers. 1. Know why you’re expanding your business Aside from the possibility of generating more revenue from exposing your product to new customers, really think about why you’re expanding your business internationally. Despite the fact that you’ve never marketed your product there, are you seeing demand from the country you’re targeting? This could include traffic to your website from other areas or purchases from other countries. 2. Have an international business plan Don’t assume that the business plan you used to start your company in the U.S. will get your international business off the ground. In fact—other than your stellar product—you should act like you’re building your organization from the ground up. Get familiar with commerce and business laws in your new target country. Understand the processes you’ll have to go through to open your doors or start selling your product to locals. Even if the consumers in a specific market seem like a good fit for your product, weigh the costs of setting your company up in a new country against the potential revenue.  3. Learn about the culture of the country you want to expand to Along with a localized business plan, it’s important to understand cultural norms and nuances of your new territory. You’re selling your product or service to people, and successful selling requires understanding their wants and needs, and how they go about their days. Conduct research on your target market’s social and business cultures across…

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