The potential business growth that follows international expansion is exciting. Entry into new markets, greater brand awareness, and a global pool of talent – it’s enough to make you want to dive in headfirst.
As tempting as that it is, there are a few questions you need to ask to gauge your business’s capabilities before going global. Without the correct answers, you may waste valuable time and resources needed to take your business global.
If you’ve wondered what to consider when expanding a business internationally, these questions will help you understand some of the challenges of global expansion and determine whether you’re ready to tackle them successfully.
1. Have you nailed down your overall corporate strategy?
Before you build an international business expansion strategy, you should first develop and execute a robust corporate strategy. Dedicating time to this sets you up for success.
- What are your company’s goals and objectives in the short-, medium- and long-term?
- Does international expansion support those objectives?
- Does it complement or add strategic value to the core offering of your organization?
- What are the risks and trade-offs you’re prepared for?
- Are your other strategies – commercial, people and culture, etc. – also advanced enough to bolster global growth?
If you can answer these questions, then your business is advanced enough to seize global growth. With concrete answers, you can develop a more thoughtful and measured global expansion plan that drives your overall company vision forward.
Expansion for the sake of expansion is almost never a good idea.
2. Have you thought strategically about which markets to enter?
Global expansion is more than just throwing a dart at a map and going from there. Conduct market research to evaluate the feasibility of your product or service’s success in a new country or region. For example, if your company sells hamburger products, it might not make sense to expand into India, where meat consumption is culturally different to the US or Europe.
Do you understand consumer behavior and product standards in your desired market? You may have to localize your product and consider details like language translation, presentation style, or maybe even color. It’s smart to learn as much as possible about the local culture and customs so that you can maintain a competitive edge.
3. Have you mastered the ins and outs of the local employment laws?
A global workforce can ensure a smooth market entry. However, you need to stay ahead of changes and updates to local employment laws and regulations before executing global recruitment. Every country has its own standards governing social security taxes, healthcare benefits, paid leave, minimum wage, standard workweek, termination and much more. You need to know and understand these standards throughout the entire employee lifecycle.
Failure to abide by the local employment laws can have serious consequences, including hefty fines, lawsuits and even imprisonment. Most countries recognize that an employee is in a more vulnerable position and holds less bargaining power than the employer. You can easily find yourself violating certain employee protections if you aren’t equipped with the right information.
With this knowledge, you can also create policies that are not only compliant, but competitive in the talent marketplace.
4. Can your current HR and recruitment practices support global expansion?
Once you begin understanding employment laws, it makes sense to see if the local talent pool has the skill set to align with your expansion strategy. Some regions and countries will make more sense than others in terms of quality and cost of labor, so knowing how to balance this will help support and accelerate your go-to-market strategy.
Your recruitment strategy will also need to change to reflect the local best practices and consider factors like:
- The typical resumé length and content
- The most common job-search platforms
- The preferred communication methods
- The average volume of applications
- The pre-employment screening regulations
All of these and more are considerations, and you may have to tweak your employer branding and sourcing strategies as a result. Every stage of the employee lifecycle, from onboarding to retention to offboarding, will have its own local nuances. Are your HR and recruitment teams prepared to handle all of this, or do they need more information and resources?
Professional Business Intelligence Can Better Prepare Your Company
International expansion takes a lot of planning and foresight. If you’ve determined that your business needs significantly more preparation, you need the most current and accurate business intelligence to ensure your compliance and success.
Turning to the internet, multiple advisors or your in-house teams only leaves room for inaccurate information and lack of a holistic strategy. Seeking out professionally vetted information from one reliable source can give you the insights and analysis you need to begin global expansion with the necessary level of preparation. Contact us here to learn more.
About Elements Global Services:
Elements Global Services is a global tech firm, focused on software that is built to go beyond country borders and simplify a company’s ability to Expand their Business, Onboard Employees, Manage Compliance and Pay Globally. Visit elementsgs.com, LinkedIn or Twitter for more information.