President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., which provides highly accurate transcription and translation solutions.
Today’s world is strongly connected thanks to modern technology and infrastructure. Many successful businesses are going global to harness the massive purchasing power of international markets.
My team and I have worked with many renowned companies to help them expand their companies overseas via translation projects. This has allowed me to gain insight into their process and what works best for them. Through this experience, I’ve also seen that if you are considering joining the continuously growing number of organizations taking their operations overseas, you should develop a practical transition strategy before going global.
Why Venturing Overseas Can Make Sense
Conditions are ripe for many types of enterprises to thrive abroad, from retail and logistics to consumer services and manufacturing industries. The following are the key reasons you might consider expanding your business globally:
1. Growth potential: Non-English speaking territories hold promising international markets in which U.S.-based companies can successfully grow. As well, keep in mind that international ventures aren’t just for large conglomerates; even small and medium-sized enterprises can grow from engaging international customers more closely.
2. Increase revenue and profitability: Successfully capturing the attention of overseas audiences can present new revenue growth opportunities for your business. And, based on my observations, you don’t even have to target entire continents or billions of customers to achieve a significant difference in income.
3. Market and industry dominance: If you wish to conquer your industry and earn the recognition of a leader, you might need to follow your competitors abroad. However, venturing into international markets has its own set of challenges. An organization, such as a retail brand, might be well-known in its native market, but it will be virtually unknown when it expands to newer regions and would need to plan to introduce its brand and business strategically.
Four Tips For Breaking Into Overseas Markets
Some techniques to expand into lucrative international markets include:
1. Speak the language of your audience. Adopting a multi-lingual strategy can help make it easier to conquer foreign markets. Many internet users don’t read or speak English, so being able to serve these consumers should be a priority when you’re developing content for an overseas audience. After all, it’s difficult to market a product to audiences in a language they do not understand, and your promotional material, blogs and web content is more likely to convert if it’s delivered in the language of your consumers. The ability to understand information on your product has a big influence on consumers’ purchase decisions.
With this in mind, ensure you have a multi-lingual team in place. You’ll need a team to engage your audience in their local language. Your customer-facing teams, including sales representatives and support, should be able to communicate with local customers effectively.
2. Localize your brand. Besides translating content to local languages, you should be culturally sensitive when projecting your brand abroad. This helps to endear your company and products to targeted global audiences and enhance customer engagement. Remember that certain messaging, practices or images that work in the U.S. might have negative connotations in certain overseas cultures.
Some steps you can take to localize your brand include:
• Adapt your online articles, products or mobile applications for local or regional use.
• Adapt your presentations for local cultural nuances.
• Incorporate the right layouts, colors, shapes and other visual/ graphic attributes to match the local cultural context.
In some cases, the products, promotional publications and even website you present overseas may need to look entirely different.
3. Engage local professionals. Avoid the mistake of hiring only U.S.-based professionals, especially to work in physical offices overseas. Instead, consider bringing local experts on board. They can help interface with the local audiences as well as accelerate the learning curve for any team you’re sending from the U.S. Train the local professionals about company values and the core brand message that needs to be conveyed to prospects.
4. Research your overseas market. Be sure to research the local culture and unique market conditions, including relevant regulations. You can send a team on the ground to the various parts of the globe in your expansion plan. Besides dispatching a market observation team, have some of your best minds spend time with the locals to learn their culture and establish connections.
Overseas markets can hold significant growth potential for many types of businesses. However, it takes a proper transition strategy to successfully expand from a local to a global reach. Many big brands have established an impactful presence abroad, and so can you.