So, you’re considering expanding your business globally. This is no doubt an exciting time. Plans for new growth are always an indicator that things are going well. You are sure to find even more opportunities as you expand.
There are also very important things to consider. Operating a business on an international scale is decidedly more complex than operating within the borders of your home country. You have to consider language issues, legalities, and cultural differences. That’s just a start. To ensure that your expansion is successful, please consider these five items.
1.The Content of Your Website
Obviously your website has functioned well for you so far. After all, here you are contemplating international expansion. Still, now that you are expanding, your website may need some significant tweaking to be as successful in another country.
First, you have to consider translation. One thing that we have discovered is that customers prefer to shop using their own language. In fact, they will even pay a bit more. If you have online customer service this needs to be considered as well. Remember though, translation isn’t simply writing the same thing in a different language. There are words and phrases that may have meaning in one language, but be meaningless (or worse, offensive!) in another. For example, metaphors, slang, and analogies can fall flat if they are simply repeated in another language.
When you designed your website, you likely carefully selected the colors, photographs, and images to create a professional looking, eye catching website. Before you expand internationally, you will need to take a look at all of that. Colors, images, symbols, and other visual elements may not have the same meaning in other cultures as they do yours. For example, a picture of an athletic, young woman wearing a tank top might be perfect for a sports drink company in the West, but it would offend the sensibilities of many people living in the Middle East. When expanding globally, it is important to undergo the process of localization. This ensures that your web content is meaningful to and accepted by your new audience.
Useful information: Let experts localize website for you.
2.Person to Person Communication
This may not be a problem for you if your business solely operates as an e-commerce business with no real need for person to person communication to close deals. However, if you will engage with customers and potential customers, in person, at your retail locations, over the phone, or in meetings, person to person communication is extremely important. If you fail to understand the cultural norms that impact person to person communication, especially in the business world, you are going to struggle to gain traction in new markets.
Let’s say you are expanding into the Japanese market. It’s important to understand that the Japanese tend to avoid using the word no. Instead, they will communicate no in other ways. They may change the subject, tell you they understand, or simply say nothing. There are other ways they communicate no as well. If your sales team doesn’t understand this, they may continue pressing assuming the potential customer is still interested. This can waste sales resources. It may also cause offense.
Useful information: Use expert business language services to avoid cultural misunderstandings.
3.Laws Statutes And Regulations
It is extraordinarily important to research the regulations, statutes, and laws that will apply to you as you move into new markets. For example, your products may be subject to more stringent safety regulations. You may also have to contend with different labor laws. If you are opening a manufacturing facility, you may need to operate under different environmental regulations than you are accustomed to. Then there are licensing considerations.
The above are just a few things to keep in mind. The complexities involved in ensuring you are operating within the bounds of all laws that impact you are significant. They can impact who you are able to hire, how you are able to market your products, even the products you are allowed to sell. There is no substitute for a good attorney when sorting all of this out.
If you are translating employee training manuals, benefits descriptions, employment contracts, sales contracts, copyrights, and other items, legalities must be considered as well. Without the help of a knowledgeable professional, there is no way to be sure that documents are legally valid.
You will want to do significant research before determining how you will set your prices in a new market. Here are some things to consider:
- How is Your Competition Pricing Their Products And Services?
- What is The Cost of Doing Business in Your New Location?
- How Are Exchange Rates?
- What About Taxes And Tariffs?
You will have to take all of these things into consideration before you determine how you are going to price your products and services.
As you plan to meet your translation and localization needs, don’t forget your advertising and marketing content. After all, the path to sales is the same no matter where you are. Build relationships with customers by providing them with information that is relevant to them, and sending a message that they can relate to.
If the scope of your business is online only, you will have to take into consideration your ads, marketing emails, social media posts, and landing pages. If you are creating a brick and mortar presence, then your signage and merchandising will be impacted as well. There is also your blog content to take into consideration. Don’t forget about paper advertising, product labels, brochures, catalogs, and radio and television advertisements.
This is by no means a complete list of the things you need to consider before expanding your business globally. This list just points out the importance of cultural understanding, navigating language barriers, and knowing how regulations will impact your way of doing business.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. It is very possible to operate very successfully in other cultures. In fact, we would love to play a part in your global expansion. Our translation and localization services were created to assist you with translation needs. Just get in touch with us, and we can help.