A small business may feel afraid to take the plunge and expand their brand globally due to the prevalent myth that only the largest and most well-known brands are able to succeed within the global market. They may feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the thought of going global, assuming that it’s too much work.
When, in fact, many well-known global brands started out small. But when those brands started out, global expansion was actually more difficult. Small businesses sort of have it easy now in a sense when it comes to global expansion due to the rise of the Internet when compared to the past.
The Internet eliminates international trade barriers of the past, helping small and mid-size businesses compete in the global market and become well-known international brands. So the idea of a small business going global is a very realistic and achievable goal thanks to the help of the Internet.
Technically, your brand is already capable of reaching consumers on a global scale. But here are some tips to help your name become more recognizable globally.
The Customer Comes First – Researching Potential Customers
Before making any type of marketing plan, you first need to choose your target audience and market. Begin with a “test-market” by selecting one foreign country to start your global expansion. Study and research the people within that country very carefully. You want to identify customer needs and with a modest marketing budget, you’ll then test-market your company’s products and services.
You may want to consider seeking the help of a marketing consultant who is familiar with the country that you’re targeting that way you successfully convey a message that will resonate with the target audience in that country. Remember that other countries have different views on life, family, and the world and also have a different sense of humor.
Working with Distributors and Joint Ventures
If you’re concerned with your lack of knowledge regarding global expansion, then you may wish to work through a distributor or consider establishing joint ventures. Find a distributor who is familiar with your country of choice, but make sure to choose a distributor with a reliable reputation. Don’t be afraid to do your research and ask for references.
If you’re choosing to go the distributor route, then a long-term relationship is what you’re looking for. A joint venture may also be a good idea to help expand your small business globally. Consider searching for companies within your target country that may help you sell through their distributor channels or that may even sell your products themselves. This joint venture will allow each of you involved to receive a portion of your product or services profits.
International Licensing Agreements
Who doesn’t want to save money on shipping, especially when shipping internationally? To offset the high-cost of international shipping, you may want to consider establishing a licensing agreement with a local company. That agreement will allow the other company to both manufacture and market your products. You will receive a royalty from the products profits. This will allow you to expand internationally minus the large costs of international shipping.
When considering expanding your small business globally, just remember to always remain on your toes and to be mindful of how your brand represents itself. One bad customer can lead to failure. You want to know your customer and to always ensure that the customer’s experience with your company’s products or services is a positive experience for long-term success.
Randy is a Principal Partner along with his wife, Shalah, of bowden2bowden llc, a marketing and branding consultancy firm. Specializing in developing targeted marketing solutions, exceptional creative executions and solid branding strategies that give clients a real competitive advantage. Randy writes three posts weekly for their bowden2bowden blog and is the producer and host of the interview series marketer2marketer “a conversation.”