There are phases in the lifecycle of a new business. The initial planning stage lets you face the challenges to come with confidence, and helps you persuade banks and investors you’re a reliable prospect, when you come to the next stage: securing funding.
With your funding in place, the next stage of your business’ life is to launch for the public, and try to establish a foothold in the market, with enough loyal customers that you can sustain your day to day running costs on your revenue. Future funding rounds may be necessary if you want to develop or expand, but standing your business on its own two feet is the successful conclusion of the early stage of your business’ life.
What follows is expansion. To avoid being swamped by competitors you need to make sure you have an eye on the future, and that you have plans in place to develop and grow your business. One of the ways you can look for new customers is to try and break into international markets. It gives you the potential for huge gains, but also has big risks and it’s this subject we’re looking at today.
If you’re trying to establish a base in a market far from home, the most important thing you can do is prepare: knowing the territory you’re planning to move into is absolutely vital. Market research firms can help you with international research so you can understand how best to target your customers in this new country. You can’t expect exactly the same campaigns to have the same results across the world, and investing in the knowledge you need to adapt to this international audience could save you from far greater losses later.
You also need to understand the legal and financial obligations your new market places on you: if you’re relying on shipping in physical products then you need to research the fees and duties you are liable for – if you don’t factor this into your budgeting you could find the extra cost is the thing that overbalances your expansion attempts.
Expansion is always costly, and never more so than when the area you’re trying to expand into is in a different part of the world. You need to make sure you have the capacity to subsidise this expansion attempt until it’s established, and, like your original business, be able to pay for itself in revenue. If you don’t budget properly, and ensure you have the financial reserves or investors ready to fund it for the months or years until your new venture can start to repay you, then the cost could not just endanger your expansion but also drive your original business into the red!