As your business continues to grow and expand, finding new markets to service is important. While there is likely room for continued domestic growth, eventually you may want to go international.
As you look to grow abroad, you are bound to find there are various challenges and hurdles to face in each individual country. By following these tips, you can successfully grow your business internationally.
1. Have a Team That’s Knowledgeable About New Market Rules and Regulations
As you are looking to grow your business abroad, it is important that you have a team in place that understands these markets. There are different accounting rules, employment regulations, and other legal requirements that can influence how you do business in other countries.
That makes it essential to hire the appropriate lawyers, accountants, and other service providers with the necessary knowledge. They can help ensure you stay in good standing with governments and populations abroad.
2. Get Help With Staffing
When you expand your business internationally, you will need to bring on the staff to help support your organization. Finding quality employees is challenging enough stateside; it can be even more difficult when it comes to hiring people abroad.
Beyond finding and retaining talent, you will need to follow proper protocols when it comes to global payroll, including taxation, withholding, and other factors. To assist with this, it can be helpful to engage an employer of record (EOR) or professional employee organization (PEO). While either can aid with staffing tasks, it’s important to understand the difference between an EOR and a PEO when choosing between them.
Using an EOR
If you don’t have a legal presence in the country of hire, an EOR is the organization you’ll need to handle your staffing needs. It can help you find and retain qualified professionals, who will technically be the employees of the EOR. The organization will then handle all payroll processing, benefits payments, tax withholdings, and other services for a monthly fee. This can ensure your payroll and employee management is being handled the right way and reduce your time commitment and risks.
Using a PEO
If you do have an established legal presence in the country of hire, a PEO could be a good option. A PEO offers similar services as an EOR, but in this case, employees are direct staff of your business. The PEO can still handle all the HR and payroll-related functions to make sure employees are treated appropriately. The organization can also help you stay in compliance with any unique rules and requirements set abroad.
3. Be Prepared for Different Hours
A challenge that some businesses experience when expanding into new global markets is being unprepared for the change in hours of operations. While they realize they’re venturing into other time zones, they fail to consider all the ramifications.
When expanding internationally, your business can quickly go from being one that operates 40 hours per week to one that is open 24/7. To make certain all of your customers are being served, you will have to plan accordingly. You may need to have dedicated support staff — or at least chatbots — available at all times.
4. Make Sure You Have the Right Infrastructure
Beyond having an established team, you also need to have the right infrastructure in place. This includes equipping employees abroad with the tools necessary to be successful in their roles. Cloud-based systems are ideally suited to providing access to needed business capabilities to any worker with an internet connection.
You must also consider your data management and security protections. This includes ensuring your cloud-based systems offer the protections necessary to safeguard all data and meet regulatory standards in each country where you operate.
5. Do Necessary Research
As you are looking to move into a new market, it is also crucial to do all the necessary research before expanding internationally. Is your product or service a good fit for the market? Will your messaging resonate with audiences in that country? You don’t want to be surprised by different customs and cultural practices that could affect how your product and services are viewed.
To avoid being caught off guard, you should conduct thorough market research before entering the space. Employ focus groups to get a sense of how your product or service would be received. Their insights will guide you in making your offering more saleable in your new market.
Ultimately, taking your business into international markets can be a great way to boost sales. However, there are risks that come along with it. To avoid the pitfalls of international expansion, make sure you have the necessary resources in place. This includes hiring lawyers, accountants, and IT, sales, and marketing professionals who are experienced in the market and know what it takes to be successful there.
You should also consider taking advantage of services provided by an EOR or PEO. These services have differences, but depending on your needs, either could help you manage your talent abroad, ensuring your global team is properly cared for.
Finally, know what you are getting into. By conducting thorough research, you can better predict the response to your product or service before entering a new market. Completing these steps beforehand will promote your company’s continued success as you take your show on the global road.