As Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) kicks off (November 12-18), small business owners and entrepreneurs are taking the time to evaluate their businesses and plans for 2013. With close to 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, global expansion is one area that offers many unique business opportunities. But before putting plans into action, entrepreneurs may want to consider whether expanding their operations internationally is the best thing for them to do.
One significant benefit to global expansion is the ability to vastly expand their customer base and visibility. Global communication technology is on the rise, making it easier for an entrepreneur’s product or service to become available to a larger, more diverse body of consumers and businesses. In turn, small businesses can increase revenue by remarketing existing products that have greater customer appeal abroad. The size of a small business makes it more flexible and adaptable to new audiences.
Before looking overseas, entrepreneurs need to understand the challenges. Cultural, language and religious differences can often bring global growth to a quick halt. Using video conferencing to meet international partners and employees face-to-face can help them to avoid misunderstandings while establishing personal relationships to help facilitate communication and productivity. The BSOI DNA Assessment tool, created in partnership for GEW USA, is another useful resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs, predicting potential issues or challenges before they become a reality.
With limited assets and personnel, entrepreneurs need to take advantage of every free resource available. For example, if an entrepreneur wants to know which countries visit his or her company website the most, Google Analytics and Global Market Finder can easily determine who’s searching for the business and products around the world. Export.gov, recently launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers small businesses information, tools and programs for developing exporting activities abroad. For more insight on executing a successful global expansion, Forbes also offers a number of useful recommendations.
The key to taking a business global is having a smart strategy in place that takes into account expectations for success as well as the inevitable challenges. Global expansion can be tricky, but with the right information and tools, any entrepreneur can find their spot in the global marketplace.