We know targeting a new market abroad can be overwhelming for small businesses and entrepreneurs, so today we're leaving you with a roadmap to inform your process of internationalisation.
This roadmap can be applicable to all markets you decide to expand to, and will help structure your thought process, as well as evaluate which regions you should prioritise.
So without any further ado, let's start.
Step 1 in the roadmap for business expansion - Market Evaluation
The first step you need to take towards internationalisation is a market evaluation and understand which regions you want to target.
Start with a market research and a deep dive into the regions you're considering, so you can learn which audience will be more open to your product, and where the need is greatest.
We would also recommend that you don't target several regions at the same time, especially if you're starting your business expansion. Define priorities, do small tests and iterate as you go, the process of internationalisation can be similar to the process of developing a product.
Step 2 - Product Adaptation
Once you've worked out which regions you want to address, it's time to ensure your product is the perfect solution for the problems you've identified in this market.
You many need to consider translating your solution to other languages, and you may also want to review all your marketing collateral to ensure your message fits the new target audience.
It's also important for you to understand the local culture of the market you're expanding to, so you can protect yourself against potential risks, and make sure your solution stands-out from the competition.
Step 3 - Establishing Partnerships
Now that your product has been adapted and is ready to be taken out to a new market, you can start pitching it to local entities to test receptivity.
We suggest you start with local partners and people that can endorse your product locally. These people already have a reputation in the market you're expanding to, so they will already have an engaged customer base, and will also know how to position your product for best and faster results.
Step 4 - Marketing
The fourth step in your roadmap for business expansion market abroad, is all about communication and marketing.
In the same way you most likely have a marketing plan and a marketing strategy in place for your home market, it's crucial to draft another one for the regions you're targeting. Audiences vary and it's important you take into account the culture, the local business etiquette and the platforms you should prioritise to ensure you're talking to the right people.
Step 5 - Support
Last but not least, develop a support strategy that is adequate and bullet-proof to help your new clients abroad. As you develop this strategy, consider time zones, languages and the questions you're most frequently asked.
Offering good and swift support is crucial to maintain clients engaged and secure those renewals year on year.
If you follow these steps, we're confident that you'll see success internationally. It may take a while and it will certainly be an investment, but when you're informed and follow a thought-led process, results will come.
Also, remember to stay flexible and open as you learn more and more about what works and what doesn't in a new market for best results.
And if you're planning a expanding your business abroad mostly through partners, download our Channel Strategy template to help you clarify your messaging and your strengths for international audiences, and understand which partners will be right ones for your business.
About the author
João Beato Esteves is the CEO of United Channels Consulting. He founded the company in 2017 after 20+ years of working in the IT and cybersecurity industries developing channels and leading sales teams for prominent companies such as Symantec and disruptive start-ups like Watchful Software.