For most entrepreneurs, global expansion and global domination are their primary goals.
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken with multiple growth marketers and international growth experts about basic mistakes they have made in the process of international expansion.
From these conversations, I decided to put together a list of the 6 tips for successful international expansion.
1. Fail Fast
Before you spend thousands of dollars on a market or opportunity you aren’t sure will work, it’s important that you spend small amounts of money to test the market.
One easy way to do so is to try different products and see how the market responds. Remember, you can change your products, but you can never change the market.
2. Pick Markets Wisely
Everyone jumps to a market like Silicon Valley because the press talks about the success of that market and its potential for future growth. But the reality of the situation is Silicon Valley might not be the right place for your startup.
Silicon Valley is great for particular types of businesses, namely technology-enabled ones. If you are starting a fashion line, picking a market such as New York is a much smarter decision.
3. Do One Thing at a Time
With limited resources and opportunities to succeed, it doesn’t make sense to spend the 12 hours a day you work doing five different activities.
Instead, the most successful marketers and businessmen spend their time doing one task extremely well instead of multiple tasks passably.
4. Pick Partners
Starting a business is hard and requires an understanding of multiple disciplines. Accounting, marketing, sales, and business development are only a few areas in which you’ll need to have expertise.
Most people do not have skill in all of those areas and need to have the help of others who do.
Similarly, if you are launching in a new country, it is very difficult to launch without having a clear partner. A partner can help you navigate aspects of the business with which you are unfamiliar, such as legal regulations.
5. Optimize for SEO
SEO is an important aspect of your business, not only for increasing the number of leads coming to your business, but also for increasing the search volume that comes to your website.
A tip for making sure you optimize for SEO in your new country of expansion is to make sure your website is translated into that country’s language. For example, if you are launching in France, having your homepage translated to French will give you a much higher SEO ranking than a page in English will.
6. Build for the Future with International Expansion
It’s very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of startup life and to make decisions that are illegal.
For example, if you expand into a new country, you might get caught up with bribing officials. However, realize that your company should be building for the next 10 years, not just the next three months. Doing something illegal, however much that decision helps you temporarily, could end up causing permanent damage to your company.
Your brand depends on the foundation that you build for it, not just how much more revenue you will get in the short-term.