This is a Guest Post by Blaine Pike from OmniJoin.
So you have started your business and it’s doing well. It has grown from strength to strength and the time has now come to expand. The idea poses both great benefits and significant challenges. You recognize the opportunity of expanding beyond your domestic market and fulfilling orders or providing services to a wider geographic territory.
It is important in business to develop – no matter what size – so that you are at a competitive advantage. It can sometimes be a scary prospect, especially within the realities of today’s economic environment, however by creating a strategic process, ensuring activity is focused and manageable, young businesses can systematically approach expansion in a controlled way using the right tools (like social media and web conferencing) and advice (from both trusted friends and professional experts) to help you achieve your ambition.
Choosing the Right Path
If you are considering international expansion revisit your business plan, after all, it has got you this far. Evolve your plan to take new markets and geographic territories into account. Remember that your operations and marketing costs may increase if you are adapting products, services and collateral to suit a new language and culture.
There is a plethora of information that can help with this task. Once the right path is mapped out it is important for the business to refer back to it periodically to make sure that growth doesn’t take you away from the things that matter to your business and your customers.
Using Tech to your Advantage
The good news is that in today’s world you don’t need to invest in expensive international offices and recruit large teams to do business internationally.
Building and engaging with your target audience through online platforms such as social media sites, forums and email newsletters are all effective and accessible means to market a business internationally. Further investment into community activities like meet-ups or online workshops can also add a face-to-face element that is extremely valuable and provides a third dimension to your campaign. And using technology such as video calls and online meet-ups is now simpler than ever and can be used effectively to drive new customers and more business to you, even at a distance.
Considering relocating to your new market might sound like the best action, however, it may not be physically possible or financially advisable for young businesses. Engaging directly with new customers will always help grow business, but in a world where the online community is just as effective, managing employees and clients remotely is no longer a barrier.
By using simple yet powerful online communication software you can interview new employees, meet with potential suppliers and sign off deals with new clients without the expense and logistical hassle of travelling to them. Not only will this help you expand to places you thought were potentially out of reach, but it will also help the purse strings.
Expanding a start-up into a multi-national organisation can be an extremely exciting and yet scary prospect, but with the right attitude, good solid research and by taking advantage of technology such as OmniJoin, Brother’s web conferencing software to bring the world to you, it could be the move that fulfills your overseas ambitions.
About the Author
Blaine Pike is the community manager in the UK for OmniJoin, Brother’s brand new web conferencing service. Blaine blogs regularly about business efficiency, productivity tips and the latest trends in web conferencing technology for UK SMBs at www.wegettheanswers.co.uk. He also runs the @OmniJoinUK Twitter account, where he discusses the latest stories around web conferencing with the SMB community every day.