Exchange Rates And Other International Payment Challenges

Establishing a business is a challenging feat in the United States, a place where eight out of ten businesses fail in the first 18 months. If, through hard work and dedication your company finds a market for its products or services in the United States, perhaps it is time to take the next step and go global. Establishing your business in the international market is challenging, but in doing so, your company can have an opportunity to expand and experience growth it wouldn’t be capable of achieving in U.S. markets alone. 

If your company is ready to take the plunge and go global, here are some great tips to make sure your foray into international markets is a successful one.

Do Your Homework

Expanding your business into foreign markets isn’t as simple as picking a place on a map and shipping products. You need to do some significant research.

Would your products or services sell readily in the market in question? Do you have significant competitors offering the same products?  Are there barriers to entry, like tariffs, or challenges with delivering your product, that would make your company less competitive in the new market? Once you have sized up the market, and have determined it is a good one for your company to compete in, it is time to move on to the next step.

Make a Plan

When you originally started your business, inevitably you made a plan, followed or modified it, and ultimately became successful enough to consider venturing into foreign markets. Now, as you prepare to go global, it is time to develop a strategy for entering your new market. Fortunately, you have already conducted a significant amount of investigation into the new market; use that information to help your company determine how you are going to run all aspect of your business in the new country, from dealing with foreign government regulations, to transport, logistics, pricing, and marketing. To beat the learning curve a bit, you may want to consider partnering with an established firm already operating in the country; the established presence and expertise might help you

Fortunately, you have already conducted a significant amount of investigation into the new market; use that information to help your company determine how you are going to run all aspect of your business in the new country, from dealing with foreign government regulations, to transport, logistics, pricing, and marketing. To beat the learning curve a bit, you may want to consider partnering with an established firm already operating in the country; the established presence and expertise might help you

To beat the learning curve a bit, you may want to consider partnering with an established firm already operating in the country; the established presence and expertise might help you build relationships with a new customer base, and enable you to establish your own company’s presence more rapidly.

Don’t Lose Focus on U.S. Markets

It would be unfortunate that, in your company’s zealousness to enter international markets, it neglected its successful U.S. business and suffered losses because of it. Make sure that all of the attention and resources required to enter into a new, potentially challenging market do not cause you to lose market share in the United States.

It may be a good idea to reorganize your business and establish different divisions so that no one market segment suffers from neglect.

The company may also need to hire more people to handle the additional responsibilities of the new market. Finally, a partnership with an established firm in the new market mentioned earlier, may also afford your company the resources and expertise it needs to get established overseas, while not having to divert sufficient resources from your U.S. business.

Get Help

Establishing a presence overseas may be daunting, but fortunately, you do not have to go it alone. There are numerous resources, public and private, that can provide your company a wealth of information and support when you decide to go global. The Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade, for example, can provide you a detailed information about entering into foreign markets.

The Export-Import Bank can help you secure financing and the expertise required to become a global company as well. And the International Chamber of Commerce is another great organization that can link you up with the expertise you need to enter into foreign markets for the first time no matter how big or small your company is. Search the Internet, there are plenty of reputable resources out there to get you started in global markets today.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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