One of the most important decisions a business owner can make is to increase the number of regions they serve. Due to the vast reach of business on the internet, expanding a business to include the international markets is both imperative and inevitable. There are a few essential steps your business needs to take before going international. The following are five of the most important things you can do, as a small business owner, to prepare for serving the international market.
Design and Implement an International Marketing Plan
As with any marketing plan, a basic design of advertising, promotion and sales for international business is crucial. Much of the costs related to international marketing can be reduced through the use of online communication, through email and interactive business websites.
International business transactions may need to be done through electronic letters of credit and through a foreign exchange bank to receive payment for any goods imported and exported. Extending credit lines internationally requires more security to avoid financial breaches that can occur through electronic transmissions.
Identify International Target Markets
It’s important to coordinate your advertising efforts with the most relevant international customers in non-domestic target markets. A new business going international may need to link target markets to nearest shipping access routes by air or sea. Generally, most introductions of a new start-up business internationally can begin online. Eventually, it will be necessary to meet with customers at the business location or the customer’s location if a business contract or proposal requires legal documentation before business can be transacted.
Understand Shipping and Receiving
If goods are to be shipped or received, it’s important to understand all international shipping terms for hazardous and non-hazardous materials. A Concord crating specialist from Pack-All International says that, since safety regulations for imported and exported goods vary by country, it’s important to find a shipping service that can meet all your international shipping needs.
Study Currency and Exchange rates
While the Euro is widely accepted in most of Europe, it isn’t in certain Scandinavian countries, the Middle East and Far Eastern countries. Canada is fairly flexible regarding currency. Also, it’s important to be vigilant of exchange rates for currency when transacting international business.
Understand International VAT and Other International Taxes and Fees
In most countries, VAT and other international taxes and fees are imposed on goods imported and exported. Study these and understand the variables.
Going international with your business can open it up to new opportunities, markets, and profits. While taking on international customers may seem intimidating, the rewards you stand to gain from doing so are too great to ignore.