Expanding your business internationally is a challenge that every growing business will hit upon sooner or later. Business to e-commerce is now at $1 trillion worldwide, so this is a globalized world. This is something that can make or break your company. Operating abroad can help spur your growth and provide a safe haven should local markets not react in the way you want them to.
StickerRide is one company that has successfully launched in the US. Using clever scaling and customer research, their marketing business, where drivers can advertise and earn points via an app, has managed to become something of a hit.
Through learning from companies like this, you can begin expanding your company on an international scale.
Are You Ready?
This is the big question you have to ask. You'd be surprised at the number of entrepreneurs who decide on a whim that it's time to start selling overseas. As an entrepreneur, this has to be a calculated decision. Only make the commitment if you're absolutely sure that you can stomach the loss if it all goes wrong.
For example, StickerRide waited until it was successful in Europe before it decided to launch its service in the larger market of the US. Despite the fact there were some limited cultural differences, their early successes allowed them to be confident in the launch.
You set the criteria regarding whether you believe it's time to start international expansion. Avoid the main international expansion mistakes by confirming that you are able to hire the staff, transplant the corporate culture, and deal with the financial obligations of doing business across the world.
The First Test
Once you have decided that you are going to expand internationally you need to start thinking about how you are going to test the viability of this market. The only way you are going to grow a global business is through performing what people know as a litmus test.
A litmus test is where you will provide a small portion of your company's resources and create what is essentially a micro operation. This tiny operation will conduct customer research, adapt your products and services, and execute the project in that new market.
After you have confirmed that you have built a profitable B2C marketing campaign, then you can start to expand your operations. You know that there may be some potential in this target market.
The Pilot Program
A litmus test is an example of viability. It doesn't mean that if you jump into that new market that you're going to be successful. That's what the pilot program is for. The goal of the pilot program is to start generating limited sales.
Unlike previously, you are essentially running a small business linked to your main operations. It will be responsible for everything, including processing orders, dealing with clients, and fulfilling orders. You have to set a timetable to make sure that you have a firm end point for where you can consider the experiment a success or a failure.
The parameters of success can only be defined by your company. Some organizations have decided to push on, even though their campaigns weren't massively successful. This is perfectly okay and has the potential to be a positive development with some tweaking.
Launching the Formal Business
The formal business launch is something that will make you a player in your chosen market. This is a decision that will tie you to that new market. It's not one to take lightly and you should realize that you do stand to take a major financial hit should this fail.
To begin the formal business launch, you should setup a new satellite office and make a social media party out of it by reporting on it to your loyal customers.
Following the launch of your new office, you should hire some local talent and send over some of your existing staff members to keep their fingers on the pulse of your new satellite. This will ensure that the first year of your startup is a positive one.
Conclusion--Making It Work
StickerRide managed to make an easy transition from its European routes to the United States. Early signs have pointed towards both brands and drivers welcoming the chance to advertise and earn rewards respectively from using digital on-car advertising.
What companies like this should show is that international expansion is all about planning and the way you execute those plans. Failing to do it correctly will only lead to disaster in the long-term.
Will your company expand its operations anytime soon?