In this digital era, connectivity is highly important for startups. We are so well connected these days on a global scale, that everything from translation, setting up accounts overseas and all-important travel, has never been so easy. We look at some of the important considerations to bear in mind when planning to expand your startup overseas.
Part of international expansion is knowing when your startup is ready to expand overseas. You may have noticed orders coming in from specific places overseas, which is a good indicator that your startup will be welcome in that region. Plan your expansion, leveraging business cloud technology, well and you will be guaranteed to success. Chances are if you’re innovative, adaptable and flexible, then you’ll already be a success in your original country, which lends well to upscaling and moving into overseas expansion.
Start With A Plan
Most things in life require a decent plan, in order to make them the best success they can be. Meticulous examination of the cultural conventions and market of the area you intend to expand to are a given, as well as an idea of how to market in that country. There are several other considerations, which we look at below.
Despite your best efforts at the planning stage, legality surrounding global expansion can be a bit of a minefield. What with the possibility of immigration, and legal issues varying from country to country, speaking to an expert at the planning stage and throughout will ensure everything is above board. Thankfully law firms such as Withers LLP have a team of specially trained consultants who have decades of experience in matters such as these.
Plan your UX
Expansion requires a UX strategy that considers the customer journey every step of the way and how this can be adapted considering the country/ies you are expanding to. A UX roadmap will look at all customer contact points and address the language and cultural barriers that may exist. Will you have social channels specific to that country? How will you handle translation? Make this part of your research and planning.
To be effective at communicating, marketing and essentially selling in another country you may need to consider having materials such as website and brochures translated. We live in an age where this is easily done using online software. But you should not be tempted to fall into this trap. You only need to look at translating one sentence to another and then back again to see how wrong the results of a basic translation can be. Spend a little time and money on getting a professional to do the job, and you will also be showing great respect to your new audience. As a startup, you will want to be careful how and where you spend your money and can likely rely on English for your social channels to begin with. Hiring bilingual staff can be a great way to ensure there is always someone on hand to answer queries in the new language.
Context and Culture
As well as the more obvious issue of getting your communications translated and in the correct language, you will need to find out something about the culture of the area you intend to expand to. Online shopping sites often use the symbol of the ‘thumbs up’ to indicate that you are ready or good to go, not knowing that this can be considered an insult in other, more Eastern, countries. Checking the cultural conventions of your chosen emerging market will help you avoid making any similar mistakes and accidentally upsetting potential customers.
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