In my last blog, I looked at how any small business can become a global player, and discussed why it is smart to begin to consider this option. While new, it should also be an exciting thought. But how do you get started?
The most important thing when considering international expansion of your business is figuring out which country / market will best serve your needs. Of course English-speaking countries like Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand will be the easiest with whom to work, but that is only one consideration. If exporting for example, you really want a market that will be open and hospitable to what you plan to sell. Or, if looking for a factory to develop a product, consider laws, language, fees, and cost of shipping.
Next, you have to get your site ready.
In an online world, people cannot look you in the eye to see what kind of person you are, they cannot come to your store to see how great it is, all they can do is judge you by your site, so you simply must have a great one. Your website can look as elegant, impressive, and professional as that of any large corporation without it costing a fortune. And not only can you offer as many products as they do, but because you are smaller, you can offer more personal customer service. So online you can win, and win big, no matter how small your business, but only so long as you do it right and look like a pro.
Additionally, what about translating your site into a different language if English is not the predominant language of where you want to do business? If you are going to be exporting to Thailand for instance, you better have a website in Thai. If you are going to be conducting e-commerce, again you will need it to be in the language of your target market. People usually avoid shopping on sites that are not in their native tongue.
And by the same token, be sure too that your translations are accurate. GM once was selling a car in Belgium and had a promotion that touted “Body by Fisher,” except that in Flemish, the ad read “Corpse by Fisher.”
So the real secret to winning in this global economy is to play to your strengths, not compete against theirs. That means looking big but playing small. It requires offering up something unique and superior and promoting that on your website. In short, winning the global game involves embracing the global economy, not fearing it.
The days of running a mom and pop brick and mortar small business selling carpet to folks in the neighborhood are over. Or at least they should be.