Taking your small business global is no easy feat. It requires lots of research, loans, connections and patience. Here are some tips from fellow women business owners who have already expanded their businesses overseas that will make your transition easier.
When it comes to taking your business global, there are three main things you must have: a support system, knowledge about yourself and networking skills. According to Annie Hart, personal coach, consultant and owner of “Stories Change the World,” taking your business overseas is tricky, but feasible. “Breaking technology barriers was probably the most difficult part,” says Annie of taking her business global. She began by using social media as a way to communicate with potential clients and make connections. Through this, she was able to expand her business to Europe and gain clients from Sweden, France and England.
As a personal coach and consultant, Annie feels that when expanding your business globally, you need to simply be yourself. “People try too hard,” she says. “Hone in on who you are in a simple and natural way.” This will help you brand yourself and make real connections with potential clients.
As for Penny Barr, M.D. and CEO of Barr Management Consultancy, she recommends conducting an in-depth study of the market and targeting who your competitors are. This will lend valuable insight as to whom you will be working with and against. By knowing the strengths of your competitors, you are better able to reformat your business so that you stand out among the others.
Barr also recommends The Ease of Doing Business Reports by The World Bank. In this report, economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1 to 183, with 1 being the easiest. A high ranking on the ease of doing business index means the regulatory environment is conducive to the operation of business.
The main thing that both Annie and Penny agree upon is the importance of having a support system and networks of colleagues who will offer advice to help you through your global expansion. Penny says, “the most important lesson that I’ve learned was to ensure that I had a well-experienced, knowledgeable contact in that market for advice when needed.”