There are 195 countries in the world. That means 194 opportunities for expansion. Even if you are running a small business, you should consider making it global. Remember, it’s not the big that eat the small – it’s the fast that eat the slow.
Here are four steps for successful global growth.
Step 1 – A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step
Even if you plan to conquer the world, you should start with a single step towards your goal. A neighboring country is a great way to do that. The main advantage is that neighboring countries are often similar to your country, therefore, it is easier to understand their local market. Another advantage is that you can win people’s trust with the idea that your brand is ‘almost’ local since it is from a nearby country.
In FutureBrand’s research, “The value of Country of Origin”, consumers were asked to rank the importance of origin when it comes to their purchase decisions. Country of Origin, Country of Design and Country of Manufacture were ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively after ‘Safety’, which was positioned at number 1.
Step 2 – Localize Your Business’ Social Media Page
If you already have your business’ Facebook page, you don’t need to create a new one for expansion, you should simply update it. It’s possible to have specialized versions of the Facebook page for different regions and if you have the resources, you can translate the content into different languages.
Having said that, English is also widely accepted since almost half of all Facebook users (1.1 billion people) speak it. The second most popular language on Facebook is Spanish, at 310 million, followed by Indonesian at 170 million, and Arabic and Portuguese, at 150 million each.
Step 3 – Boost Your Website Into Global Level
People might discover your business through social media, but it’s likely that they’ll go directly to your site if the interest is there. Website speed should be your top priority or else you risk losing out on a potential customer. There is a rough calculation that the US economy loses around $500 million a year due to slow websites. One of the leading web hosting companies in the industry, Hostinger warns that approximately 25% of people abandon a website if it loads longer than 4 seconds.
Your website might load at a different pace for people in different countries, so even if your website loads fast on your own computer, you can’t be sure that it’s the same for everybody around the globe. With the right web hosting provider, you will ensure that your website runs at optimal speed in the countries you are planning to expand to.
Step 4 – Get the Locals On Board
Getting all the necessary local information can be a time-consuming task. You can use a shortcut and reach out to the local Small Business Association. They might help to get in touch with the counselor and other business owners. Having prior consultation with local industry leaders will help you eliminate any risks you may run into otherwise.
The author of “Selling to China: A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses”, Stanley Chao, recommends relying on expert help. He warns that: “It can be particularly tough for smaller businesses because they have likely been doing everything on their own up to this point.”, so there is really no shame in asking for insights.
Don’t Assume You Have To Be Big To Go Global
Since it’s not the big that eats the small – it’s the fast that eats the slow, you can go global despite the size of your business. The trick is to do your homework well in advance. Make sure that your business is present across multiple social media channels to create a buzz about your brand. Moreover, ensure that you have a fast-loading website to retain the attention of the user. If you need to check your website speed, there are speed test tools, recommended by Hostinger. In a global market, your first interaction happens online. Make it count!