Things to consider before expanding your business abroad

Expanding a business so that it has the capacity to go global is always an exciting step. Going global opens up a variety of new markets, as well as millions of new potential customers. However, going abroad isn’t always as easy as it sounds, and there are a number of hurdles to overcome and plans to put in place. 

shutterstock_235401655The language barrier

This may sound simple, but if you expand your business so that you can deliver to places outside the UK, it’s more than likely you’ll have to communicate with non-English speaking customers and businesses. As such, you’ll have to ensure that you employ someone (or have the resources to talk to someone) who can communicate in the customer’s language.

As a result, it’s wise to only expand in stages, ensuring that you have a number of options covered. If you expand to the whole world at once, it’s likely you’ll encounter numerous problems. Instead, have a phased roll out, starting with mainland Europe and then moving further afield when you’ve mastered the teething issues. 

Import and export rules 

In addition, depending on whether or not you’re sending goods abroad, you’ll have to be aware of the country’s importing and exporting rules. Many items are banned in some countries, while other countries have unusual banned goods.

To ensure that you don’t fall foul of legislation, ensure that you know it in detail. Generally speaking, the rules are the same for most EU countries, but they do vary greatly the further afield that you travel. The Government’s website goes through the legislation in great detail so you can be certain you’re doing the right thing. There’s a secondary website specifically for exporting, too.

Logistics

Finally, going global is complex, so you’ll have to think about the logistical challenges that it represents:

  • How will you handle exchange rates when people are ordering from abroad?
  • How expensive will postage and packaging be for each country you deliver to?
  • How long will items take to reach your customers?
  • How will you communicate with customers in a different language so they know where their goods are?

Most parcel delivery companies deliver to mainland European countries, but be certain that yours does, and also that you know the costs involved. Companies such as Parcel2Go will tell you via their online calculators.

Once you’ve considered all these factors, it might be time to take your business global.