How to Build a Global Business
Business students pay close attention. You won’t get far in life if you don’t go global. This isn’t just about your education, which should include abroad studies if you can make that work. It’s also about business. As you know, the world is no longer insular. Business is global, and entrepreneurs must find a way to take their ventures overseas in order to achieve mainstream success. Do you have a Fortune 500 listing in your future? You won’t if you only think national. You must go global.
Develop a Global Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy for a global business is the same as local and national, with one small caveat: Will people in the United Kingdom, for example, actually purchase your product or service? This is where you must break down your marketing strategy into two separate forms: inbound and outbound. Then, you must determine which is better for your business.
Inbound marketing is where you advertise your product or service and let your customers find you. Outbound marketing targets a specific demographic and then advertises directly to them. Inc. magazine explains that your product or service will dictate the approach. As an example, it explains that a healthcare technology business would use an inbound marketing strategy first.
The magazine states, “… most markets/countries have a need for better, faster, more affordable healthcare services,” which translates to a fantastic way to introduce the service to a global audience at that location. It’s more cost-effective to attend and speak at local conferences to reach the masses. You can also provide online demos of your service and target the advertising to a specific location.
Determine the markets you wish to serve, accounts payables and receivables viability, and whether there is market growth in a potential location. You wouldn’t want to go to an overseas location where local businesses have a stronghold on healthcare technology. Once you find a need, enact an inbound marketing strategy to get attention, and then hold onto your customers with outbound marketing.
Of course, demographics play a huge role in your global marketing strategy. You must find where you are needed throughout the world, and make certain the demographics you collect for your national strategy are collected for your global strategy. You cannot advertise to another culture without understanding that culture and who will make up your customer base.
While looking at demographics, also see if there is a local business that would partner with you to get your foot in the market’s door. Find out who you can trust overseas and open the lines of communication. Think about the incentives you could give an in-country team. Why would they help you grow your business? What will they get out of it? Also assess damages and a control strategy.
When you work with locals in your business, they can offer you advice crucial to your success. Most importantly, they can help you understand the local rules and regulations by which business is bound. Business and taxation laws vary by country, so what applies in the United States might be vastly different elsewhere. Enlist local talent to help you get going.
Customize to Fit Product Market
Finally, your product or service is not going to take off globally if it just doesn’t fit. There’s no point selling grass-fed beef in India. You must determine how your product will fit in with the local culture, and your in-country partners can help. Inc. recommends asking yourself what your global customers will learn about your product or service from your marketing outreach.
You should also figure out how to get adopted into the local market. What are your channels of distribution and how will you use them? Find out what makes the locals tick and market your answer to that. Can local people and/or businesses use your product or service? If so, how? What does it do to resolve their problems? Then, customize your offering to suit that market and, again, their culture.
An example of this is global entrepreneur Sjamsul Nursalim. Nursalim initially built his wealth in coal, real estate, and retail, but with the increased concerns over global warming, he has invested more heavily in sustainable property development through a Singapore holding. This is business smart, as it addresses a global concern while also addressing a global need.
When you look at a country in which to expand to, you must take into account its mindset and needs. Nursalim knows Singapore’s expanding global presence requires property development, but he also knows the country is dedicated to sustainability. As such, pushing coal production is not fruitful in Singapore, but property development is.
You can go global once you get your business off the national ground. It just takes proper planning and an open mind. What works in the States won’t necessarily work elsewhere, and you must remain tolerant of different cultures. If you don’t like how a country is governed or how it treats its citizens, it’s best not to expand to that international location. Know your audience completely, and then determine why they need you.