Clearly Conveyed Communications is excited to welcome Sloan McKinney as the latest contributor to the CCC blog. You can learn more about the author at the end of this post.
Small businesses make the mistake too often in assuming that just because they’re small, international expansion will never be an option. It’s this kind of mindset that causes the troubles a lot of business owners have that prevent their company from growing. The fact of the matter is that reaching an international audience is much simpler than it was years ago — and we can all thank the Internet for that.
What many companies don’t realize is that the Internet isn’t obsolete; there’s really no conceivable way it can become obsolete. While small business owners lament slow sales or the difficulties of expanding their market to their friends on Facebook, they don’t realize that they have the technology to grow as a company. In fact…they’re using it.
The idea of expanding a business to reach a larger base is inherently desirable. But the want to make it work often outpaces the logical questions that need to be answered before going forward:
- Is there a demand for the product or service overseas?
- Does your company have the staff to handle the incoming demand for your company’s services?
- Does your company have the means to handle transitioning into a larger company?
- And lastly, does your company have the confidence to make the move?
These are all questions that need to be seriously considered before moving forward with anything.
Think Locally, Act Globally
It’s crucial that any business considering expansion first isolates what made them successful in the first place. There’s a reason why your company is doing well: what is it? Tie this in with the question about confidence. There’s a reason why you’re thinking about supplementing your business strategy, and it’s certainly not because you are struggling.
Once you’ve identified what makes expanding to new markets viable for your company, it’s time to consider if it is, in fact, viable to do so. Can your company support the move?
Time to Act
Alright, so you’ve answered all of the questions, and now you know it’s time to take the next step…which is what exactly? Easy: apply all of your answers to the previously stated questions to the new markets. Designate places you believe your business can be successful, and move. Start with niche advertising to get the ball rolling.
For example, if your company sells specialized toolboxes, advertise with a trade publication, and set up a booth at a trade show. It’s much more likely that experienced plumbers will purchase a hyper-specialized toolbox than a group of Boy Scouts.
Setting up a local phone number in the areas you are targeting is a good way to garner local business, because it will establish a local presence. It’s understandable why a consumer would patronize a local, established business over the upstart who just moved in…or isn’t even located in the immediate vicinity. A local phone number can be forwarded to an already established number, making it easier to manage calls, while still reaching a larger audience. It’s easy to implement, inexpensive, and a gesture to the locals in your new audience that you believe you have a product that they would like, and it’s a good one.
Expanding your operation is a justifiably daunting task. But with enough time, research, and patience, it can work for your business.
Today’s guest blogger is Sloan McKinney, who is honored to have had the opportunity to share her knowledge on international communications with CCC‘s audience. Her writing, which can be found on SmartVirtualPhoneNumber.com, also covers business globalization and technology.
“Think Outside The Box Concept” photo via Shutterstock
Thanks for the wonderful article, Sloan!