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5 Things to Consider Before You Take Your Company Global

Here are five considerations to address before you expand into foreign markets and take your business abroad.

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Globalization has lowered worldwide communication barriers. In today’s global business environment there are fewer obstacles for companies that wish to enter foreign markets and catapult business growth.

However, that does not mean that any business can enter any foreign market and simply carry out business the same way they operate domestically. There are many factors to consider in order to successfully take your business global.

Here are five considerations to address before you enter a foreign market.

1. Target markets

Simply put, the emphasis on researching your target market could not be greater.

Having a successful product or service domestically does not always translate into success internationally. But there are many opportunities to capitalized on. This is where research plays a significant role.

You might find you have potential in the next wave of fast growing emerging economies or you might find there is no demand. Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa, collectively known as the CIVETS, are said by economists to offer excellent opportunities for global business, so they could be a good place to start researching.

In today’s age of information it is easier than ever to obtain data on foreign markets; finding one that fits is the first step.

2. Creating content for new markets

The Internet is the easiest way to reach foreign markets, so this is good option to take rather than setting up offices in the foreign country. Once you have located international markets with good opportunities, you could opt to translate your site into their local language.

For example, if you are a small company that makes football t-shirts you might find that with the World Cup coming up in Brazil in 2014, there is an opportunity to enter their domestic market. You could then translate your website into Portuguese. This would work best if it was focused precisely on the Portuguese spoken and written in Brazil, rather than that in Portugal or Angola.

This will not only help customers perceive you as a local company, but you can reap SEO benefits as well. Be careful not to rely on online translators like Google Translate and Babel Fish as direct translations can go very wrong very easily.

You might think that because English is the lingua franca — a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue — and an efficient translation might be too costly, it is not necessary to translate any of your content.

According to the Common Sense Advisory, an independent Massachusetts-based market research company, “85% of consumers will not buy if they cannot access information in their own language.”

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