Are you considering expanding your business into overseas markets?
Expanding your business – especially into international markets – can be hugely rewarding but it comes with great risks. That’s why you need to plan your expansion very carefully. Here are 6 tips to get you started.
1. Involve local experts
Every country has its own tax and employment laws, often operate in different time zones to Australia and have differing business systems, cultures, idiosyncrasies and customs. There may also be language differences. These all need to be understood so your business can adapt to the new country of operation.
Many large companies have fallen into the trap of ignoring local business conditions and suffered significant financial losses as a result. Don’t be like them. Seek the help of local experts in all stages – from concept to operation. And importantly, listen to the advice these experts give you.
2. Be realistic
Any international expansion will take much longer than you anticipate. Don’t try to rush it. Investing time upfront could save you a lot of money and heartache down the track.
It’s the same with the financial investment. There will be costs involved that you may not be able to anticipate. In addition, it will probably take you longer than expected to become highly profitable. Make sure you have contingency funds available to help you through the start-up phase.
3. Trademark your brand
It may seem like a significant upfront expense, but obtaining legal advice on trademarking your brand or logo and/or patenting your business idea is a worthwhile investment. It will prevent someone else copying you and turning your hard work into their profitable business.
4. Make careful selections
Select your business partners, local managers, suppliers and premises very carefully as they will all play a big part in determining the success of your business internationally. Take time to do your due diligence as you will need to have faith, confidence and trust in these people when you aren’t there to monitor operations.
5. Keep communication open
Once you have selected the people you will be working with, it’s important to let them do their job, while maintaining very open and clear lines of communication. Visit your overseas operations often so you can build those relationships and develop your understanding of the cultural differences.
You will also need to work hard to ensure every member of your Australian operations are making decisions based on your entire organisation – not just the local, Australian branch. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “out-of-sight, out-of-mind”.
6. Money matters
Ensure you back yourself by having a great finance team that combines local bookkeeping and accounting experts with your Australian-based finance team. They will all need to work together to ensure the financial health of your local and international operations. Knowing your numbers for each individual venture, as well as your overall business, will help you maintain expenses at a reasonable level and maximise your return on investment.
While you are setting up your international business and throughout the launch phase, careful management of your cash flow is vital. If you would like help, contact the team at Numeric Eight on 02 9437 1785 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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