Globalization, instant communication, internet that eliminates distance and shortens the communication time drastically. You have that. But are you able to use it in a way that will benefit your company? Be creative. Your company is meeting the world. But before that happens make sure you followed the 12 steps that will make it easier to go forward and be successful on a global business scale.
Global business – 1. Make sure there is demand for what you sell
Every step is important, however the first two are fundamental. Before you start thinking of taking your company global make sure there is a demand for what you sell. Creating needs and satisfying them is possible, but for starters make sure the group you want to reach is looking for or uses similar products. You don’t have to spend thousands on an in-depth market research. You just have to listen to what the market needs. What can you do? Use tools that don’t require a lot of money to work, but supply you with solid data. One of them is creating a survey that reaches people who might be looking for what you offer. You can also go to Google trends and check how many people look for what you offer in a given area. You can also Buzzumo or Brand24 to follow keywords and find out where to find people interested in your products. People on social media express their opinions, emotions and needs constantly – use that.
It will allow you to find out if there is a need for what you offer and how big that need is.
Global business – 2. Make sure you are able to supply
Now that you know there are people who want your products (or will soon find out they want them) ask yourself: are you able to supply the product abroad or manufacture it there? If you are not sure optimize the process. You need to make sure the products are in perfect condition when they arrive. If you use chemicals make sure you can transport them abroad. Some countries have laws concerning packaging. The delivery time is one, it’s form is another. Both equally important. Depending on where you want to sell your products, information on how to transport them is available on the web.
If you want to expand in Europe, you have to make sure your products meet the European laws. If you want to go further make friends with the World Trade Organization. They are the basis of all information concerning international laws. International Trade Center is also a great place to visit – they supply you with many information concerning international transport. Check where can you find specific information on the country you want to sell your products to.
Global business – 3. Analyze competition
You swam in the sea, now you’re coveting the ocean. Probably one full of sharks. But you shouldn’t feel discouraged by the biggest of them. The key to success is getting to know your competition. Is there many of them, who is the best, what is his offer? What does he do to obtain customers? How do they communicate? What do the customers complain about, and what do they like? To find all of that out, first of all identify the companies you think will be your competition. Make sure your analysis is complete and contains small as well as big companies working in your sector. Remember that sometimes businesses who offer similar products sell them to different groups of people and you don’t have to compete against them (for example your target are millennials, and theirs 50+ people). Focus on those who have a similar target group.
The base tool here is a.. search engine. Identify companies by keywords. See how they present themselves online, what do they think are their strengths, how they promote their products and how they communicate. How do their profiles look like in social media?
You can also use AdWords with the option to identify and verify the competition ads and the traffic they generate. For a more complete analysis use Semstorm. It will tell you what worked with different companies and what didn’t.
Global business – 4. Punctuate your strengths
If you are the only one on the market – congratulations. If not, you have to analyze yourself. Make sure you know your strengths and how to convey them to the public. You probably did that for the local market – that’s great. But a global business is a different reality. You need to express why you are better than competition, what do you have that others don’t? Every meeting point between you and a potential customer is under your control. Use that to make the best impression you can.
Global business – 5. Build business relations from afar
It’s a challenge, but it is possible. You can built relations with other brands without moving from your desk. You have your computer, and that means: Skype, Slack, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and many other communication tools. Add determination and creativity to the mix and you’re set. It’s your weapon. Reach people who really can help you, as well as those you can offer something. Research your partners and recipients. Find out where and how they communicate. Create a message template, but make sure every message you send has something personal in it. You have to use words, images and videos to make up for what is usually easy in a face to face meeting. You have to attract attention, interest people, make them sympathize with you, be close to them. It’s hard, but it pays off. Show that you care. And be patient.
All of the potential partners will answer you even if it takes them a while to do so. You have to have a list of people you contact, to make sure you don’t neglect any of them. Having a tool that will help you with that is a good idea. Find one that suits you best. Check who answered your e-mails, and who didn’t. Think why that might be. It’s time consuming and hard to do, but results of creating a relation business are better than one based on transactions only.
Global business – 6. Verify what is the specification of the market you want to join
The fact something works here and now id it comes to communication doesn’t mean the same approach will work on a global business. Experience shows that Americans are most open and tolerant. They are open to new things and want to try them out if you present them in an original way. Asian countries prefer more formal communication. They will appreciate exact information, but they will not appreciate less formal approach.
Make sure you know how to communicate with people in the country you want to reach. Do customers want to buy online or do they prefer to see the products in stores? Do they prefer meeting face to face, or will Skype be enough. Find out how people like to shop there.
Global business – 7. Check how your brand name sounds in the foreign language
It’s key if you don’t want to be like Nokia who named their product “lumia” which means prostitute in Spanish. If it’s funny you can use it to your advantage and create a lot of noise around your brand from the start. However, you have to be conscious and prepared for what will happen. You also have to make sure you don’t go too far with the jokes.
However, if the name you use is offensive you should think about making some changes for the global business.
Global business – 8. Don’t limit yourself
You will have to analyze your target group. Think about the demographic and interests those people might have. Are you sure you’re not thinking too narrowly? You want to sell t-shirts and you target them at young people who like humor and play. Think about different groups that want to use t-shirts to show they are different and original. And maybe you create décor for women who like stylish things? Think about restaurants and hotels that look for original décor. There’s many options. How many? It’s for you to decide.
You can also look at different brands that went global and originated in your home market. How did they do it? What did they change? Trace their history and see what you can learn from them.
9. Answer what can you give your customers aside from a product
A study by American Express revealed that 60% of customers is ready to leave their favorite brand if the new one offers them better customer service. According to Customer Experience Impact Report 82% of people would stop using services of one company if they experienced bad customer service.
Those numbers are something worth considering. Sales are not what they used to be. You have to be prepared that there are consequences to instant communication. It used to be easier. If someone had a problem with your product they had to write a letter and wait for your response – a response you could carefully word and check a few times before you send it back. Now? Now you have to answer as soon as you get a message or a call. And you have to make sure you are polite and respectful and don’t leave the customer with an impression that you don’t care for his problems.
Global business – 10. Make sure your logo is legal and original
First of all check how well you know the laws of the market you want to enter and if you registered your company and domain. Even the biggest players on the market met with this problem. Burger King couldn’t start working in Australia, because there was another company with that name. The American Giant decided to open a company under the name “Hungry Jack’s”.
Global business – 11. Create an advertising strategy
Make sure you know what you want to achieve in the short run as well as in the long run. A short strategy is something we do for anywhere from one to six months, a long strategy is something that might take up to 5 years. If you went through the previous steps you know how to analyze your competition and the market itself. Based on this data you can create some pointers as to what your customers think is important, what they like, what sells and what was already used and might be new to them.
Find out which channels of communication to use to reach most of them and increase conversion. Know your goals and base them on the data you have. Estimate what has the biggest chances of success – is it better to promote on social media, through blogs or maybe off-line? Make sure they can find you there – you can invest in small gadgets to place where your customers are.
You don’t have to invest in a costly campaign to reach your recipients.
If you are creative enough you’ll attract attention with classic elements like a business card or a leaflet.
Analyze effects regularly, evaluate and decide if the direction you went is worth to follow further or should you change and what direction should you take. Is it a fundamental change like deciding to switch from offline to online or something smaller like changing your main social media channel. You should also answer what is your main message and the way to communication.
If you want to communicate well with your recipients think about the language you want to use. By language I mean a form of communication – you should adjust it to the people you communicate with. It should be clear and concise, but it’s ok to use a bit of slang if you talk to a younger generation. However you need to make sure it doesn’t sound fake.
Create three to five communication constants you’ll use. Make sure they are suitable for B2B and B2C communication as well as for online and offline. Find channels of communication that work best for your customers, make sure they are alive and effective.
Make sure you know what’s important in it, what you want to be known from and what do you want people to think of when they see your company name. It needs to be a part of your communication strategy. The long as well as short one.
Global business – 12. Specify who will fight for you
Having brand ambassadors on a global market is something you can’t overvalue. Paying them might cost a lot… or little. Maybe people who can influence others value something aside from money? Think on who could defend you and speak well of you. Search through lists of experts in your trade. Look at trade blogs and magazines – who publishes in them? They will be people who have recipients and influence over them. Look at their reach on blogs and social media. Make a list and make sure it’s as long as possible.
Working with people, especially since you don’t offer money, only support, information or product is a challenge. That’s why it’s key to know how to contact them for a first time, when to write again and what to give them in return. Remember that even if you can’t ay them with money, you have to give them something else. Even if you feel like what you offer is not valuable enough in return what you might gain. If people you want to reach are leaders of opinions, they know the value of their recommendation or a mention. To convince them to do that you have to show a human face, that you are able to give them a lot in return for maintaining the relation. Make sure you approach each person individually.
Sometimes you can achieve the most while not talking about business, by letting people get to know you and decide you are a human being they want to identify with and work with. Then, when they like you, you can convince them that your product is worth advertising. Think about it when you are tempted to sell something in the next e-mail to an influencer. Do everything you can to make sure those people feel like you care about them. Think what you can offer them. If you work in a cosmetics brand – don’t send them a bag of cosmetics just like that. Make sure they know why the gift has that form and why you send it to them. Or maybe you created a mailing software and your influencer just published a book? Maybe your software can help them reach current and potential readers? If you want others to fight for you, you first have to fight for them.
If your product alone is not very distinctive compared to competition, you can differentiate it with other elements. Customers will appreciate perfect customer service or small gifts. It can be material or a free e-book – people love free things.
A small company might not be able to compete against a giant on the market, but it can win with it in building an engaged community. Reach your customers and build strong relations – make sure they become your local ambassadors.
Don’t choose too many communication channels. You won’t be able to manage them as effectively as you should. Quality is always better than quantity and it will allow you to reach customers effectively. Make sure you know which areas are your strong points from the start.