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Taking your SME Worlwide

2nd November 2020 Print

During this turbulent time, many SMEs have taken the time to look at their business strategy and looked for ways to expand. Some have even consider reviewing their offering and take steps to start operating internationally. Knowing where to start can be tricky if global expansion is new to you, so to help you out, here are a few key considerations you may wish to make:

The Facilities

What facilities do you intend to have? This is particularly relevant if you’re planning to set up an additional HQ or base of operations in your chosen nation or nations. If this is the case, you should consider the same factors as you would domestically, so:

- Site and operational costs

- What the site has to offer in terms of functionality

- Accessibility for staff and customers

- Local demographics

- Proximity to other competitors 

The Staff

An international business also needs the right staff and it can be useful to have a mix of domestic staff you send overseas and new talent local to the country you’ve chosen. This can benefit you in two ways. 

- Firstly, the domestic staff can train new team members on the company values and can ensure the new HQ is operating within your expected guidelines.

- Secondly, local staff can provide useful insights into the customs and expectations of the country’s markets and potentially help make any language barriers easier to overcome. 

The Logistics

Another key consideration is how you plan to move your goods in and out of this country. Remember there are different rules on importing and exporting in different nations.

Brush up on these regulations – so you can be certain your goods can be shipped –and consider the likelihood of different exchange rates. These will vary depending on your location and you don’t want to over or underestimate your expenses, costs and profit margins as this can cause a variety of issues like delays or missed orders. 

There’s also the different time zones to consider as this can make communication between your business locations trickier, particularly if there’s a sizeable distance. Delegate the responsibility of communications to your overseas staff who will be more skilled in dealing with local aspects such as the currency and working hours. 

The Costs

With all this in mind, you could then be able to roughly cost up the price of your expansion and work out whether or not this is feasible with the budgets you have in mind. This can also inform you on whether or not you need to secure additional capital or funds to go global. 

A good tip here if you feel you lack the right expertise with this, is to hire a financial advisor or seek professional guidance to help ensure you make the right choices with your money. 

Bear in mind the above advice and also remember that you probably won’t see many quick wins with your expansion in its initial stages; being patient is key and eventually your overseas success will come over time.