As businesses grow, so do the scale of challenges they face.
The rewards for overcoming these challenges – also grow exponentially.
It’s what makes business exciting, no matter how big or small you are.
One such exciting time in growth is when a business is set to establish an international foothold.
Taking a business to the global stage can feel like strapping it to a rocket.
Whether its: fresh markets and talent pools to tap into; or the consolidation of the business as a world-wide player. There’s lots of out there to get excited about.
But before the excitement. there are many key decisions to make sure that this rocket does what it’s supposed to do.
It’s important to get them all correct; as mistakes can be very costly (just ask Elon Musk!)
So, for businesses looking to make that move – what are the main things to consider before the big countdown?
1. Getting the details right
International expansion is all about the details.
Every single aspect of the move needs to be pored over to make sure that your launch is as successful as can be.
Things you should look closely at include:
- Setting up an international entity For many businesses expanding overseas, it makes sense to set up an international entity to manage their business in that jurisdiction. This offers inherent advantages by: operating in fluency with domestic law, situating the associated risk in the international entity rather than the business at home – and many others.
- Setting up your HR requirements Managing a comprehensive HR system is, itself, a challenging task. When a company begins to operate abroad a number of new considerations come into play. This includes things like: labour regulations, employee rights, benefits requirements and governmental stance.
- How to deal with paying employees, accounting, tax and financial compliance As with the above, different jurisdictions have different laws in place relating to financial compliance. Something as simple as having a payroll of employees, can become incredibly more complicated when transposed to a new country when all things are considered.
In each case, you’ll need to be up to date with the latest know-how to make sure that you don’t experience any last minute technical issues.
2. Keeping your key players in the game
People are what truly make businesses tick.
As a result, it’s no surprise when a business is set to expand into new territories; they earmark some of their best people to guide the process.
Having your key players in the game can be the difference between a good move and a runaway success.
For individuals the culture shock that comes with moving to a new country can be difficult as it is – and it’s something that they have to contend with alongside ensuring business success.
Things you might need to consider include:
- Making sure employees have accommodation and assistance with their move
- Helping top employees to adapt to their new local culture
- Finding schools for employees’ children who are along for the ride
There are many other such issues (some of which you might not pre-empt) that might impact your employees when a big move is in the offing.
It’s important to do everything you can to make sure that your key players are ready to make the jump!
3. IP can be a bridge
Intellectual property is perhaps at it’s most valuable when it comes to international expansion.
When a range of different things are all in flux behind the scenes (see above); intellectual property is perhaps what remains the most consistent.
Brands, inventions, creativity and designs – if well looked after – can present a familiar appearance in the fresh market enticing new customers and hires to jump aboard.
The key point here is that IP does need to be looked after in this process, and should be a serious consideration when a company enters into a new space.
Things to consider include:
- Making sure that your trade marks are registered in the new jurisdiction (and that translated versions are too!)
- Reviewing your business critical IP and creating the relevant structures to protect it in new territories (e.g trade secrets management)
- Setting up the relevant licensing agreements for using IP held at home, in the international entity
- And much more
The effort in doing so is worth it – as setting up a business abroad with an established trove of IP can seriously boost your growth.
How to Expand a Business Globally: Countdown
There are many things that come into play when a business expands beyond its original territory, and each of these challenges require both time, attention and know-how.
So for those companies dreaming of world-wide expansion and success – remember it’s important to keep your feet on the ground whilst you work it out.