When you expand your startup overseas, you’re not only targeting new and exciting markets, but also reeling in clients. Both of which can spread brand awareness and ultimately boost sales. The problem is that many entrepreneurs and business owners go international for the wrong reasons and without doing their due diligence. In fact, here four business mistakes that a majority of startups makes when entering the internal market.

Skimping on talent.

Yes. You’re on a tight budget. But, if you want to properly expand to a market overseas then talent is definitely one area that you don’t want to skimp on hiring talent. While in theory it could make sense to hire a new college graduate who speaks Mandarin because they’re affordable, that graduate may not be familiar with the other six major dialect groups or local customs. Simple miscommunication could end any hopes of expanding into that new market.

It’s worth investing in talent who are familiar with the languages, customs, regulations, and market of the region that you’re trying to enter so that there are no mishaps. And, they can provide you with insights on what your customers really want, along with any upcoming trends.

Botching localization.

“Localization is the best way to show local clients that you care about them,” states Marieta Plamenova in Smartling. “Even if your clients are in the United States and speak English, for example, it is a good idea to localize by state or region of the country, because this brings additional value to your product and shows that you respect their local history, language particularities, culture, and traditions.”

One of the best ways to accomplish this is by creating localized content since it shows that you’re catering to their specific wants and needs. But, if you don’t do your homework or have local talent guide you, you could end-up embracing your start-up.

For example, Braniff International translated a slogan, which touted its finely upholstered seats, “Fly in Leather” into Spanish as “Fly Naked” and Gerber marketed baby food in Africa with a cute baby on the label without knowing that in countries like Ethiopia, products usually have pictures on the label of what’s inside since many consumers can’t read.

If you want to connect with local customers, avoid risk, and have a successful entry into a new market, make sure that you understand the power of localization and invest in it prior to launching a marketing campaign.

Not being aware of customs, laws, and regulations.

Customs, laws, and regulations vary from country to country. As mentioned previously, that’s why it’s important to hire someone familiar with these countries or a local resident so that you don’t risk getting embarrassed or penalized.

For example, in India accepting or giving anything with your left is a big no-no. If you were to open up shop in Ireland then it’s required by law that you contribute to the Irish economy by using Irish suppliers or employing an Irish workforce.

Overall, you want to pay attention to taxation systems, payment rules, customs duty, consumer protection law, intellectual property rights, and health and environmental standards.

Not being prepared early enough.

Remember, entering into an overseas market is a long-term investment. It’s not to make a quick buck. Because of that, expanding internationally shouldn’t be an afterthought.

If you want to succeed in the international market, then you should start preparing for globalization earlier than later. Focus on bringing in a team that consists of translators, sales experts, and individuals who are familiar with the local business situations, as well as establishing a financial plan, using the right global payment platform, and learning the customs, laws, and regulations.


My name is Angela and I'm the Content Marketing Manager at Due. I write about finances, invoicing, boosting productivity, and women in business.

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