Have you dreamt of getting into the world of international business? Unless you’re an expert like Dr. Shahram Shirkhani, you may not know where to start or what to expect. Here are a few must-read tips for running a global business and taking your company overseas.
1. Launch your business at home. Test out your ideas and start building relationships in your own geographic area. Once you’ve learned the ropes, you can expand. Since you have to start somewhere and you need a base from which to grow, there’s no better market to tap into than your local one. Even as you expand, you’ll maintain a strong home base. Often, communities are extra supportive of businesses that have grown in their own backyard.
2. Have an active customer base in another country? You don’t have to travel there quite yet. Instead, start connecting with your clientele via Google hangouts, Twitter chats, e-mail, and Facebook groups. When you’re ready to visit the area in person, consider a pop-up, temporary headquarters.
3. Be business savvy when launching your business in a new geographical area. There’s a certain timing to launching your business in a new community. Be specific when deciding when to enter the market. Also, identify concrete goals so that you can create a strategy. Make sure your team and the new community are aware of your business goals.
4. When you’re ready to hit the road, pack light. Even if you’re setting up your company headquarters in one specific city, odds are that you’ll need to do some exploring and networking in your new terrain. The best way to quickly move from place to place is to pack light, ideally by carrying everything you need and never using baggage claim.
5. Consider using a co-working space. You’ll keep overhead to a minimum while getting your work done in an office setting. Plus, this kind of work setup is great for networking, which is integral when launching your business in a brand new area. You should be able to find a co-working space that’s tailored to your niche. Additionally, most shared offices are filled with other people launching startups.
6. Since your time spent traveling is precious, arrange meetings beforehand. Figure out who you want to connect with and get in touch with them to plan coffee meetings and working lunches. Also, ask if they have any suggestions for anyone else you should connect with. Keep a bit of time free during your trip for last-minute networking events and meet-ups.
7. Connecting with the business community at your destination is important, but you should also spend some time meeting locals. You’ll get the scoop on where to eat, what to do, and who to meet. Plus, you’ll start attracting potential customers. If you can’t be at the location, hire remote workers to do the hobnobbing for you.
Business owners who are trying to scale globally ask themselves one important question: how can I be everywhere at once? When you’re a big corporation, you can hire managers to travel to important markets. As a startup, though, there’s often only one person running the show. Pop-up headquarters, social media, and remote workers are great for getting your foot in the door in a new market.