For many businesses, taking the leap and expanding internationally can seem extremely daunting. And no wonder. Expense is the first thing that crosses business owners’ minds as well as complications surrounding local rules and regulations.
However, the ambitious will always find a way. One strategy to increase your chances of business success overseas is to offer your potential new customers a way of contacting you that doesn’t cost them any money.
A tried and tested way of reaching out to customers in overseas markets is establishing a toll-free local number. This allows you to discover whether your business’s products or services will appeal to other areas of the world.
Once you’ve established that your business can compete in overseas markets, you can venture further and dip more than just your toe into the water. Here are 5 tips to help expand your business overseas:
1 Understand your market
It’s key to ask if your offering will work in markets outside the UK. Will your business have the same impact overseas as it does in the UK? Do people need and will they want to use your product and service? These are all key questions that market research can answer.
2 Manage risk
If you want to proceed into an unknown market, make sure that you plan ahead. Managing risk is very important, don’t go in half-hearted if you’re sure that you want to make a go of things. Do your research and make sure if it’s realistic for you to scale your business. This may sound obvious, but in fact it’s easy to be overly-optimistic.
3 Upgrade your budget
Bigger marketing budgets will be needed when you go international, as you’re opening yourself up to a larger audience. Make sure you understand what’s involved and that you look closely at what other competitors have done in order to get market share. What kind of advertising works in your local market
and will you have to invest in digital or offline marketing? A combination of both is usually best. As well as this, you may need extra financing – in which case a supportive bank with local reach should be able to help you expand into certain areas.
4 Build trust
Using a local toll-free number is an excellent way to build trust, primarily because customers will feel that your company is reliable and dependable, offering great customer service. Once you move into the market, you have to offer a consistently high standard of service to keep customers coming back. Hiring call centre operatives who can speak the local lingo is a good plan – even just one extra person in a UK-based office who will answer local calls could massively assist in this way.
5 Local employees
Scoping out the local talent and building a great team overseas is very important, and cannot be rushed. You can do this over time, taking regular trips abroad to find out about the market you want to conquer, and the type of people you need to help you do this.
When it comes to expanding your offering overseas you can test the market cheaply and effectively by using a toll-free phone number. There are many problems that can arise if you build your business internationally and you’re unprepared, so make sure you keep ahead of the game. Contact our friendly team for more information. We can advise you how to route the calls to your international toll-free number to a UK landline or mobile.
IMAGE: Shanghai skyline