Because we’re still officially in the ‘beginning of the year’ and it’s still a good time to dream about your future plans for world domination, we thought we’d continue in that vein. So let’s look at what you need to do for going global.
In essence, there are only three things that need to be done prior to going global – research, strategy and implementation. Sounds simple, but think about those same three things when you started your business. Chances are, those three dot points took up a LOT of your time. This will be the same, but with the an extra potential for misunderstandings due to things like;
- Currency fluctuations and differences
- Time zones
- Language barriers
- Regulatory hurdles
- Cultural issues
So let’s start with…
Especially when you’re going global and entering into a new area, research is key. You can almost never do too much (unless, you’re stuck in data collection as a distraction technique). Make sure you adequately research the markets you wish to expand to (and the customer types – not all customers are the same). Look at your potential competitors and other items that might be substituted for yours. Think about where you fit in the market.
Something that sells well in Australia might be ‘on the nose’ somewhere else. Think about what kind of look, feel, colour, offers are going to appeal to them? White might be symbol of weddings, purity and freshness in Australia, but in China it’s the colour of death. And the number 4 is very closely aligned with death too.
Think about adding translations to your site or craft a whole new site in the appropriate language for your new target market. Make sure that if you’re ever doing things in another language, you have it translated forward and backward by different people unless it’s your first language) to ensure you’re not selling something altogether different from what you thought you were.
Also consider what your new customers’ preferred social media platform is. Weibo is critical in China where Australian products do really well and Facebook is significantly used across S.E Asia particularly or maybe in your market, it’s something else altogether.
When your research is done, it’s time to move onto strategy and execution.
Developing your going global strategy
Expanding your online business on a global scale is very likely to mean a change to your current business processes – especially if you’re moving into a market with a much bigger population. If you hit a ‘sweet spot’ and become a trending item, you need to be able to deal with both the traffic and the processing.
Right from the start, build a long-term and short-term strategy to achieve your goals. Strategy is essentially about decision-making and resource allocation. If this, then that type thinking. It’s the how your goal will be achieved. Take care though to align the expansion strategy with your vision (your why), your mission/goals/KPIs (your what) and your who. Your strategy won’t succeed if it’s at odds with everything else (and growth for its own sake, can be a recipe for disaster).
Going global tactical planning
Next you’ll want to develop localised tactical plans around going global to establish yourself in each market. You’ll need to think about;
What you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Do you need to add (or subtract) product features? Do you need to offer different product bundles or quantities?
It is important to build the right infrastructure so that your organisation has the requisite people, processes and technology to satisfy their customers across the world.
Ideally, your logistics process should be automated so that timeliness and accuracy are taken care of. Your customers should be able to view and analyse information on product movement, delivery schedule, status updates etc. You might also need to change up delivery/returns/contact responses depending on the expectation levels in your new market.
Identify organisation structures needed to run a global business. Develop plans, processes and policies to take care of requirements across the whole organisation. If it’s just you and your dining room table, chances are, you need to rethink things in order to get out of your own way.
There will be multiple regulations and rules to be followed in different countries. At the same time, they will not be the same across the countries. You have to be ready in terms of legal, commercial, tax and financial reporting aspects. Make sure you’re across all of that (or have someone who is) before you start.
Strategic local partnerships
Before you start trading, check out who holds sway with your target customers and build a symbiotic relation with them. You might also check out people who can help ease your transition in terms of in country business processes for you.
Global expansion can give you many benefits – new markets, increased revenues, diversification, expansion of brand identity and access to talent and even in some cases reduced costs. At the same time, if done without proper research and planning, it can turn into a nightmare.
Of course when it comes to logistics and 3PL considerations for going global, that’s where we can help. If you’d like to chat about what’s possible in expanding your business, we’d love to talk. You can always give us a call on +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 6300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.