Nicole Sahin, CEO and Founder, Globalization Partners
Expanding your operation into a new region can be risky, and oftentimes a little daunting. But it can also be exciting, and if the right due diligence in terms of planning and preparation has taken place, it can be an important stepping stone to increased revenue and profitability.
The critical role that people play within a business is well-documented. And nowhere is this more critical than your first hire in a new territory. Not only is this person the external face of your organisation in a new region with a huge responsibility to ensure operations get off to a strong start, in the start-up phase he or she must be prepared to wear many hats from making the coffee to securing strategic deals. This takes a certain character.
Without doubt, there is a huge pressure on this individual, and there will likely be many unforeseen hurdles to overcome. But my six tried-and-tested steps below, should help mitigate some of the challenges and lead the way to making a confident start.
- Understand The Market
A critical element of the planning and preparation, it is the importance of learning everything about the new territory in order to assess its suitability. There is an array of expertise and online resources to help. For example, GlobalPedia provides up to date and thorough information on country-specific laws, compliance, payroll and business protocols.
- Know Your Competitors
Assess the competitive landscape and learn what practices are most successful. Understand what services or products rival businesses provide. Study their marketing strategies and make sure you really understand the region. Use this knowledge to create a local go to market strategy that differentiates your business and establishes a local presence.
- Find Your Fit
You need to figure out where exactly your business fits into the local market. Are you bringing a market-changing disruptive product or service to the region, or introducing a sought-after product that will change lives? Knowing who you are, how you differ from competitors, and how you can benefit the market, is an absolute paramount.
- Develop a Local Approach
What works for your head office’s region may be totally inappropriate for this new territory. The local market strategy must take into account a number of factors: how well-known is your brand; what local challenge is your product or service addressing; what will your business bring to this new area? Marketing the company correctly is important when expanding into new regions, so the local market knows exactly who you are and what you do. Creating a strong local presence will help drive sales and boost business quickly.
- Build Your Dream Team
The first person in a new region also often has the responsibility to create a well-balanced team. It is beneficial to employ local talent with the cultural expertise needed to succeed. These should be experienced professionals who will be able to hit the ground running. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and recruitment websites are good places to identify local talent.
- Leave Legal To The Experts
Years ago, a company would require a large investment if they wished to secure presence in another country. However, today they are able to access other regions quickly and easily through an employer of record. This eases the stresses of international expansion, and minimises the associated risks, as the employer of record handles the employees’ legal, HR and tax needs. This enables the company to focus on winning over the new region.
International expansion need not be daunting. These first steps are crucial ones – but doing the research, focusing on strategy and building a diverse and balanced team, gives business the best chance of local success. And by removing added stressors like complicated legal matters, the local dream team can concentrate on the task at hand and confidently deliver on a local strategy that will ultimately grow the business.
Nicole Sahin, CEO and Founder at Globalization Partners
Nicole Sahin’s mission is to eliminate barriers to doing business internationally and building global teams. As founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, she is recognised for having created an innovative solution that enables companies to hire great talent anywhere in the world, without the complexity of setting up foreign branch offices or subsidiaries. Businesses are able to leapfrog over the legal, HR and tax complexities without having to figure out “how” to do business in a foreign country, while getting all the benefits of a global team.