Published On: Sat, Jul 4th, 2015

International Expansion: How Small Businesses Are Going Large and Loving It

With today’s global connectivity, it’s easier and much more profitable to expand internationally. Here are some ideas to get up and running with either an export business or an online international operation.

International Businesses

Exporting

Exporting is an unusually large industry. Almost anything can be exported, but you absolutely need to be on sure footing financially before you attempt to break out into foreign countries.

The U.S. government estimates that about two-thirds of the world’s commerce is to be had in foreign countries. Fortunately, there’s plenty of help out there. U.S. Export Assistance Centers make it relatively easy to get up and running as an export business.

The U.S. Commercial Service (International Trade Administration) also has a program to help connect you with foreign markets. Trade specialists do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, providing you with training, translation of promotional materials, and lead securitization.

They charge a nominal fee for services, and they can even help you become more independent by helping you with your marketing materials.

Importing

Importing is important for a business looking to lower costs. From outsourced goods to virtual workers, importing is the answer for many companies. Combining these business loans for bad credit with low-cost equipment and supplies from foreign countries means that a struggling small business finally has a chance against larger companies with deeper pockets.

Virtual workers are another import that many small businesses don’t take advantage of. If you run an online business, or you outsource a part of your business offsite, then a virtual worker from a foreign country could save you a lot on your labor costs.

This is because labor rates in other countries might be substantially lower than they are in the U.S. You won’t have to pay for health insurance, retirement contributions, and unemployment insurance or worker’s comp.

While it’s not always the best option, it’s an option many businesses should probably pursue, especially if you have a need for unskilled or low-skill computer work that can be done offsite.

Online International Businesses

These are really the Holy Grail of businesses because the overhead costs are low, and the yield potential is unlimited. With a marketplace of over 3 billion people, it’s as good as it gets.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Understand the limits of your business.

Do your research. Market research is one of the most important things you can do to minimize the risk of you going out of business. When you decide to “level up” and go international, market research becomes even more important.

Building a large online presence will consist of the right mix of content marketing, pay-per-click advertising, media placements, and old-fashioned linkbuilding.

Getting into foreign countries might also require the help of foreign marketing agencies – agencies that can help you push your brand into countries you otherwise wouldn’t be able to touch, translate your marketing materials into foreign languages, and act as a liaison between you and prospects who don’t speak English – bridging the language and cultural barrier while helping you earn sales.

Nathan Thompson is a financial consultant, working with businesses. He likes to share his business insights online. His articles are found mostly on business and finance websites.