Looking for new challenges but don’t know where to start ? This article is made for you. Having enough resources, and a stable business isn’t enough in a global context. As an entrepreneur, you must be looking for new ways to improve your international business expansion and grow your revenue. But the real concern is to know when and where to invest. Of course, as an entrepreneur, you are a risk taker but no worries! Business Culture is here for you. Here are 5 tips to succeed your international business expansion and build a strong strategy.
Tips 1 : The best countries to start a business in 2019
If you want to succeed international business expansion., prepare your tickets for Oceania! According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2019” ranking, New Zealand remains the first country where it is easier to do business. The archipelago of Oceania comes in first place on the creation of business, the transfer of real estate properties and the obtaining of bank credits criteria. In addition, the country ranks second in protecting minority investors. Comes respectively in second and third position, Singapore and Denmark. Singapore is a leader in terms of contract enforcement and Denmark is first in terms of ease of trade with foreign countries.
Here are 3 examples of french entrepreneurs who started a businesses abroad (Oceania and Asia).
Brice de Matharel, 28, helps foreign entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. Blown away by the entrepreneurial fever of young people living in Hong Kong, this Audencia graduate had the good idea to open a contact agency between entrepreneurs and local experts (logistics, accounting expertise, etc.).
Monsarrat, 25, is a “wine consultant” in Hong Kong. Arriving in Hong Kong right after finishing Essca – Aix-en-provence, he first created a swimwear brand before becoming a wine consultant for restaurants. He took advantage of a market booming and the chinese’s love for great wine. He was helped by Jumpstart, a business center situated in the heart of the city : “It’s the best in the city, the services are super efficient and inexpensive”.
Johanna Viande, 38, launched an e-tourism website in India. After a trip to the resort of Goa, this graphic designer launched an online tour guide. Five years later, the website refers 500 establishments in the region and counts 2,000 visitors a day. “The rise of middle class comes with a higher demand for recreation. Opportunities in India are numerous, but you need to be patient,” warns Johanna.
Tips 2 : Study the competition
Bear in mind that when you accomplish your international business expansion, the competition might not be anything like you’ve been used to in the past. So you need to carefully study the competition and determine exactly what it is that you’ll be up against once you’re in business there.
Think about competition in three ways. Barriers to entry: competition often means that there is a barrier to entry which means someone or something that stands between you and your customers. Facing a barrier to entry doesn’t necessarily mean that another person or company is doing exactly what you are doing or that there is a patent that impedes your entry. If a customer’s needs are being met, there is a barrier. Differentiation: failing to differentiate and set up barriers to competitors and imitators inevitably leads to profit erosion. Resources : competitors are also a great source of information and ideas.
You must think relentlessly and incessantly about your competition: past, present, and future. A competitive landscape analysis starts with a thorough assay of the market. Once you’ve gathered the information, it’s imperative that you be able to talk about it and show how you are different in a concise and compelling way. A features table is a particularly helpful device, especially in presentations. If you can put together a table with all the backup research in an appendix on competitors, no one will question your understanding of the competition.
Tips 3 : Create an adapted network.
If you want to achieve your international business expansion in another country, you need to create relationships with locals partners and connect with your future/potential clients. But no worries, here are some steps, tested and approved by the entrepreneur community, to master networking abroad or in your home country.
As recommended by Andrew Hennigan, coach specialized in networking and author of “Payforward Networking” : « You can also get to know people in other countries through online networking forums with an international audience. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook ». Thanks to technology and social media, it is easier to interact with people and create new connections. Who knows ? Maybe these connections will be transformed into your best relationships. You should also join Facebook Groups dedicated to learning new languages, or Meetup groups present in the cities you aspire to for your business. You will multiply the opportunities to meet internationals that have chosen the same adventure.
EY recently surveyed 750 business professionals in collaboration with networking expert Julia Hobsbawm and summed up key points to succeed in that field :
- Try to meet five people for coffee or lunch every week.
- Be curious and generous: share what you know, help others and be interested in ideas and other people.
- Try to spend a fifth of your working time on all your different networking activities.
The greatest advantage you will get from the local network, is the number of advice about local customs and behaviors to avoid cultural shock.
(click here if you want to see the full infographic)
Tips 4 : Learn about Legislation !
To expand your business abroad, be sure to know perfectly all the country’s legislations. You have to search for information about global laws but also specific laws concerning your activity. Some country are less accessible than others and that could be a key factor to chose your new land business. As better you are informed, as much you avoid bad surprises!
Of course, every country has it own specificities, you have to consider the cultural mandates of the land you expect to settle in. Don’t hesitate to ask question.Your new network can help you understand the legal situation!
Here are some question that you can ask yourself:
Is my business legal in this country ?
How the laws are likely to change ?
Which element of my business model could I adapt for this new country ?
Tips 5 : Evaluate the cultural differences and Adapt !
In the global marketplace that the world represents today, it is important to understand cultural differences to give your business the best chances to succeed and avoid misunderstandings with colleagues or clients. In a business context, culture refers to the common behavior.
First, we have communication that refers to the language barriers including language, tone but also basic customs, mannerisms, gestures and body language. More generally, it is the way people do business. For example in France, people should dress to impress because appearance is important in French culture. In the Western countries, we often treat business cards as something to get rid of but in Asian countries, you present your card with both hands and take the time to read it. Also, the meeting process is different according to the country.
Secondly, attitude is an important question concerning organizational structure. Cultural attitudes towards management make it difficult to define roles. For example in Sweden, there is a flat organizational hierarchy, while in Japan people have respect for seniority.
Finally, etiquette is how people want to be approached : on a first-name basis or do they prefer titles and surnames ? In China, people use titles and surnames but in US, people usually use first names.
It’s important to do your homework to build strong relationships and successful business operations.
We saw that starting a business an international business expansion requires a strong analysis of the difficulties and potential the any country can offer. The 5 best steps you can follow are :
- Take informations about the best country to invest in, 2019-2020 ranking puts Oceania, Singapore and Denmark at the top 3 !
- Study the competition, both the barriers of the sector and how you can differentiate yourself from the current actors.
- Develop your network! It is really important to get to know people that can give you informations and advices about the country you are aspiring to or their own experiences.
- Of course, legislation is another important step because a lot of things can differ from a country to another. Changing laws, will change the way you will present your business.
- Get cultural knowledge! If you want to do business abroad, you need to study the basics customs and behaviors in business.
After this, you will be all set to start your international business expansion !