Five Tips for Small Business to Going Global
By Bonnie Voldeng, Director of Marketing at FedEx Services
In today’s fast paced world, consumers are buying less in-person and more online at the push of a button. E-commerce has shaped the shopping experience, making the process faster and more efficient. The transformation not only influences consumers, but greatly affects businesses, specifically small businesses. In the blink of an eye, small businesses can go from domestic to international overnight.
According to the Small Business Administration, less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export and according to a study by the Institute for International Economics, U.S. companies that export not only grow faster, but are nearly 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies.
By preparing your business to go global, you will position yourself in a way that puts you a step ahead. The following five tips can be used to plan for going global.
Be prepared to fulfill shipments…quickly.
Having demand from customers near and far is promising, but if you cannot get products to them, and in a timely and cost effective manner, you run the risk of damaging relations. To avoid this, speak to your logistics provider about accommodating your growing customer base, as they’ll be able to help you build a strong and healthy supply chain to ensure your products get from A to B without delay.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew – focus on one country at a time.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but focusing on one country for starters will ensure your domestic business is kept in order. There’s plenty of time to conquer the rest of the world! You need to speak to your logistics provider to gain their insight into prospective countries, as they can offer guidance on your product’s suitability to a particular market. They’re on site and on the ground, they can identify what’s trending and as economies wax and wane, they can help you determine which countries offer the best opportunities.
Know your market and be able to adapt to their customs and regulations.
You need to be somewhat knowledgeable about how customs is handled in the countries you’re doing business in. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the rules and regulations of a foreign country, you’re not alone. The surge of new exporters has also meant a surge of people looking for export guidance. Luckily, resources are available, and that makes it easier than ever to find answers. You can get information on regulatory requirements and export compliance for overseas markets on export.gov.
Evolve your business to sustain international success.
The global marketplace is constantly evolving and so it’s wise to continue developing your business to stay ahead. To grow and develop further, put in place clear milestones such as sales targets and invest in training and development for your staff. Ensure you have an overall objective and time-frame you want to achieve that in and then implement smaller targets to get you one step closer. Don’t lose sight of the overall plan but use easily digestible goals to make sure your business growth stays on track. Flexibility and being able to quickly and effectively adapt to the evolving market is crucial. By utilizing technology and ensuring your growing workforce is fully trained you’ll be able to respond quickly to growing demand and go where your customers are.
Social media can catapult business growth globally.
Having a strong presence on social media is a must if you’re becoming a global company. Making the decision to be an online brand can be a defining moment for sales. Social media provides small businesses with an ideal platform that does not require a six figure marketing budget. One of the great benefits of social media is that you can target specific areas of the world and tailor those messages to new potential customers.
The cost of doing business internationally has never been lower, thanks to today’s technological advancements and Free Trade Agreements, which is great considering 96% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. FedEx promotes growth through business by providing its small business customers with a Small Business Consultant who can discuss their needs and help a small business find the best solutions to meet their global business objectives and maximizing their savings and rewards. The company ships to over 200 countries and territories.
The exponential growth of e-commerce in the last few years has changed the way the world shops and the way businesses operate. A quick search, a few keystrokes, and suddenly, goods from around the world are literally at your fingertips. It’s never been a better time for small businesses to go global, but smart growth around the globe begins with smart decisions here at home.
Photo Credit: Fed Ex