Small businesses complicate their efforts in trying to uncover international business opportunities. Their own personal actions have far more impact on their success than relying on translators and looking for foreign joint venture partners.
The small actions you can take at home will have more immediate impact on your international business development than the services you can buy. Why is this? The more interaction you have in learning more about your foreign markets, the more you will be able to equate your acquired market knowledge with the products and services you sell.
Yes, you will probably end up needing the services from your target market. But the knowledge you can acquire from the countries where you would like to grow your business is priceless.
Sure translations are important. Adapting your sales materials to for a perfect cultural fit is important. But if you can start off from where you are, with what you have, you will learn a lot more in the process and you will make a better choice when seeking to get those foreign services.
Actions : If you already have some international clients or prospects :
- Develop those contacts further, so that you can learn more about those clients. – Call them up.
- Find the appropriate person to speak with.
- Talk to him.
- Ask him if he liked your products and why.
- Ask how he finds your products different to what he can buy locally.
- Ask him if he knows anyone else locally who could benefit from your product.
Actions : If you do not already have international clients and don’t know where to start:
- Which market do you think your product might sell well in?
- Or is there an international market that really attracts you?
- Choose a country and start researching.
- Google your competition in that country.
- Use Google Advance Search to set the country.
- Use automatic website translation software to read online.
- Get a feel for the market.
- Then pick up your phone, call your embassy in that country.
- Are there any other associations in that country for professionals from your country living there?
- Get on the phone and start talking to people.
- If you feel you are not getting anywhere, change your conversation style.
- Ask different questions.
You need to know as much as possible about each specific foreign market. Start off slowly, one country at a time. Make a concentrated effort to understand everyone’s opinion. You will begin to see a path to take.
Once you have a basic understanding of your foreign market. Create a localized website, in your target country. Start with a mirror image of your main website.
You will need to adapt your communication to local cultures. Ask for local market feedback. Depending on your target market you may be able to do this in your own language.
You may want to set up a landing page with a survey for locals in their own language. It would probably be a mistake to translate your entire main website before getting feedback from your target market. Keep any translations to a minimum in the first stage.
Think of the actions you can take to build relationships with these foreign clients. Do not be afraid of language barriers. Simply present yourself truthfully and show your eagerness to learn how to do business in their culture.
When people see your willingness to meet them on their territory, they will notice you. The more action you take, the more you will be visible and the faster you will open your new international markets.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: international business development
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