Thoughts on Overseas Expansion

The idea of expanding overseas is an attractive one and one that is especially easy with the advance of the Internet. Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can see your website. With an Internet company all you need to have is the ability to fulfill orders and ship them to their overseas destination and the profits will come. But boosting bottom lines overseas is a dynamic challenge requiring thorough knowledge of international law and a cultural smorgasbord of tastes and aesthetic hurdles. Let’s examine some of the issues involved in this expansion.

The most important knowledge that you will need is a thorough understanding of the target culture. You will have to learn how each culture operates before you do business there. Every country has its own way of doing business and its own type of people. Understanding the cultural niceties and changeable legal statutes and having a shipper who has this kind of knowledge and understands global trade will greatly enhance your success.

Certainly there are other factors that may appear insignificant but will have substantial cultural ramifications on your success. Certain colors are inappropriate to use in certain Asian countries. Pink and purple are sometimes unwelcome, and red signifies different things in different places. So, if you are designing something internationally, you have to keep these things in mind.

Understanding the technological abilities and infrastructure of different countries are also helpful. What mobile devices, for example, does your target market use? While Blackberries are popular in the United States, Nokia is the device of choice in Brazil. When contemplating a new market you have to make sure that your mobile website is coded for these devices and built with a compatible interface.

While going international is a glamorous and exciting endeavor, there is one critical feature that we cannot overlook. In order to be successful overseas you have to have a successful business model with a product that sells very well here. You also need thorough market research to understand where your product will be in demand internationally.

We must also get back to the basics of international marketing and expansion by first establishing partners in target countries, many of which have organizations dedicated to multinational trade, who can open doors for you. Organizations like international chambers of commerce and industry-specific organizations can assist you in setting up businesses in those countries.

It is also beneficial to learn the language of the target country so that you will have a better understanding of the culture and the nuances of the language.

Margo Moore teaches BE 261 Starting a Small Business, CEO 001 Setting a Course for Your Business, CEO 002 Knowing Your Market, and CEO 003 Formulating Your Financial Strategy.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Overseas Expansion”

  1. Wow! What an extraordinary article. The idea that colors can influence customers from different countries is good to know. Knowing your customer from the “basic” points that you mentioned is imperative in today’s market place.

    2 Thumbs up, Ms. Moore!

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