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Considerations for expanding your business across borders

By Mikaela Andersson

Similarities and Differences

How similar are your new global markets to your domestic market? This is a very important factor and will essentially determine whether the idea is even viable. The differences or similarities you face will, of course, depend on your product. Every country needs stationary, but not too many of them eat Yorkshire Pudding. This is also about cultural differences, how much disposable income the average person has and how receptive the population is to change and to new ideas.

What’s the competition like?

Whilst you may be ahead of the competition here at home, will you have a harder time competing in a new market? Is the market already saturated with dominant firms to which locals are loyal? Look into specific markets that not only want your product, but in which the competition is relatively low.

Tax Regulations

With more and more businesses trying to get out of paying tax at home or abroad with tax loopholes, don’t get caught up in the scandal and make sure that you operate completely above board. It might be wise to appoint an accountant within the new market or to engage someone at home with experience of international taxation relevant to the countries in which you are considering operating.

Will it Transfer?

There are a wide range of day to day practical elements in running a business. How will your domain transfer, do you need to buy new domains in each market or perhaps change to an all-encompassing .com? Does your website need a choice of languages or will you need new websites for each new country? What about your corporate entity, do you need to register in each new market? How about the marketing costs, how high will they be abroad and will you be able to use your existing marketing plan or will it need a complete overhaul for each market?

Financial Cost

Looking at all of the above points, how much will it cost you to expand abroad? Will you get this investment back quickly or will it take over 12 months to start seeing a profit? Is your business healthy enough to absorb the costs should this venture fail?

The last thing you want is to compromise or even lose a successful domestic business because you were too ambitious.

Starting to expand across borders is something that most successful business will consider at one stage or another. Whether it’s actually right for you will depend on a significant number of factors, those listed above being a starting point.