Globalisation is something we can’t avoid and we can’t ignore. We’re breaking borders down and introducing ourselves to audiences we never thought possible ten years ago. That means more businesses than ever before have to think about the prospect of expanding overseas.
Doing business in a country you’ve never been to is a challenge that many companies will fail to meet. But you want to be different. This is why you’ll want to read the following tips for expanding your business internationally.
Research is Everything in Expansion
One of the biggest reasons why companies fail is a lack of research. Look at your new market and figure out whether there’s room for you to move in. Just because something you sell does well in your home country doesn’t mean it’s going to appeal elsewhere. You must conduct extensive market research, and ideally a trial phase before making the move.
Another aspect you need to research is your product name. What does the word mean when it’s translated into another language? It could either not translate well or come back as a meaning you didn’t intend. The last thing you want is to discover your company name is actually a swear word in another language.
Let’s look at an example of this. American Motors launched the ‘Matador’ in Puerto Rico. What they failed to notice was ‘Matador’ translates to ‘Killer’ in Spanish.
Localise Your Business Operations
Once you’ve confirmed that your product and name are suitable for your new market, it’s time to localise your website. This isn’t just a matter of directly translating your words into another language. These words must have relevance. And this applies even if the country you’re expanding into uses the same language.
For example, UK English must be translated into US English, and vice-versa. Don’t assume everyone is going to know about your colloquialisms. For this, it’s best to employ a professional who knows the culture.
Registered Offices and Operational Offices
You need to determine the right office style for you. Do you need a registered office or a full office set up right now? These are decisions that could well cost you thousands if you get it wrong.
If you want a fully staffed and operational office, you must consider everything from the local working culture to cost implications regarding business rates and the minimum wage. Remember, the happiness of your workforce is essential.
Alternatively, there’s nothing stopping you from employing a team back home who speaks the language and can work from your new website. Just because you’re operating in Germany doesn’t mean you have to have a team actually based in Germany.
Those Who Get it Wrong
With all these in mind, let’s take a look at those businesses who got it wrong. Here are some honourable mentions:
- Coca-Cola launched their product in China with a name that sounded right. The problem is the literal translation was ‘Bite the Wax Tadpole’. This was soon changed when they discovered the problem.
- The ‘OK’ hand sign was printed by one company on a number of catalogues in Latin America. They lost six months of work when they discovered this sign is actually an obscene gesture in that part of the world.
- Pepsi used the colour of ice blue in South East Asia. This caused them to lose their market dominance when they discovered ice blue is the colour of death and mourning in this region.
- Fiat released an advert in China for their car with Richard Gere. They didn’t realise this caused great offense because Richard Gere is an outspoken advocate of the Dalai Lama.
Make the most of these tips to successfully expand your business abroad.
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