Want to take your business to an international level? It’s a fact that we live in an increasingly globalised world, it’s becoming more and more important for firms to start at least thinking about whether or not going global is an option for them.
Whether your firm is looking to enter new markets in the manufacturing or service sectors or whether you’re hoping to open up a pinpointed, precise knowledge-based business in a foreign university or college, there are many reasons why you might want to take advantage of globalisation.
But what do you need to think about in order to do it well? This article will explore everything from visits, to foreign exchange transactions.
1. Do your market research before you take your business to an international level
The first thing to note is that running a successful business in South Africa does not necessarily mean that you’ll be able to run the same sort of business with the same degree of success in any other part of the world. That’s because each economy has its own distinctive conditions which make certain businesses successful there and others not.
The first thing to look for when considering an expansion to a new country is the regulatory landscape. Does the country have a tax regime which favours one type of industry over another, for example?
Does the government there support certain sectors through grants? The most obvious consequence of this could be that you’d be eligible or ineligible for certain benefits. But an indirect consequence could be that other sectors may be more privileged than yours in the new country – which is harder to uncover, but could stymie your expansion plans from day one.
Next up, you’ll need to check what the labour market is like. If you employ people with certain technical skills, it’s easy enough to find out whether or not there will be a sufficient range of qualified people for your firm’s needs.
A specialist recruiter or analyst will be able to help you with that, and there are also often facts and figures on the internet. And if you employ people with general or non-specific skills, it’s worth looking at how many students leave school with basic qualifications, what those qualifications are, and more.
2. Think about money
In order to get your international business show on the road, it’s going to be necessary to get some money moved overseas. This could be for one of many costs.It could, for example, be for start-up costs like putting down a deposit on a physical site, while it could be to pay early wages to staff before the expanded site can start bringing in its own revenue stream.
The problem, however, is that it’s difficult to know when the right time is to strike when it comes to making international transfers. Foreign exchange prices can fluctuate a lot, and if you have a significant amount of cash then its value can be reduced if you convert it into a currency that has – at that time – an unfavourable exchange rate with the one you’re converting it from.
It’s worth looking into a nostro account as a way of keeping down fees, anddoing your research into when the forex markets are most in your favour is also wise.
3. Make a visit
Before making the final decision about whether or not to take your business to an international level, it’s worth ensuring that you pay a visit to the country in question in order to ensure that you get to know the environment there and to make an instinctive, confirmatory decision, that the expansion move is the right one.
While the internet age can sometimes create the illusion that all information can be discovered online, there’s no substitute for visiting a place yourself and seeing what the nature of the place is. Ideally, a visit would occur several times over the course of the potential expansion process, giving you sufficient time to see where your sites might be once you expand there and perhaps even visiting the sites of competitors or associates.
Taking a private business from South Africa to the international stage can be a daunting prospect. Everything from foreign exchange transactions to market research will need to be thought about, and it may well be that your current plans could change once you’ve got to grips with these other requirements.
But one thing is for certain; by making the most of the internet and its resources as well as specialist help and even a visit or two, you can make the most informed decision possible about your international expansion.
Do you agree with my tips to take your business to an international level? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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