If your tech startup has had great success domestically, you may be eyeing international markets as the next step in your growth process. However, when you contemplate reaching a global audience with your product, there are some factors you must consider to make going global truly advantageous.
Factor Number One: Timing
Before embarking on any business expansion, the first thing you must do is carefully examine your current situation and your desired situation. For instance, if your domestic operations leave significant room for improvement, you may want to consider getting your business processes in order at home before going global.
If, on the other hand, your domestic revenues are in line with your expectations and your business processes are streamlined and efficient, it may be a good time to consider international expansion.
Factor Number Two: Location
In which countries should you focus your expansion efforts? You can determine this in a number of ways. An easy way to find where your products are already doing well is to review the analytics from your website and/or your relationship management system.
Entrepreneur's "Going Global: How to Prepare to Take Over the World" advises: "Pull a report in your financial system or customer relationship management system (CRM) to group your customers by country and then sort the list. You'll quickly be able to identify the top countries where you're already doing a significant amount of business. Don't fight this trend. If you've got traction, run with it ... Tap into the vast data found in your website-analytics program. Google Analytics helps you answer the difficult questions about your visitors, their behavior on your website, and the ROI on your online-marketing efforts. By using Google Analytics (or a similar program), you'll learn which countries are sending you the most web traffic."
Factor Number Three: Local Customs
Once you have determined your target countries, it is time to do some major research. Forbes' "A 5 Step Primer for Entering an International Market" highlights some important considerations in the research phase of your expansion project. The first of these is local customs.
Conducting business in a foreign land can be fraught with both minor and major challenges. For instance, something as simple as tailoring meetings around the correct time zones and using proper etiquette for business greetings can be the difference between success and failure.
Familiarizing yourself with local customs may include traveling to your target countries and making connections with key people who will serve as the local face of your organization in that country. To ensure clear communication, you may find it useful to work with professional language service providers at this stage of the process.
Factor Number Four: The Competition
When considering the competition in international markets, you must include both local competition and other international companies that are operating in your target countries. Researching pricing, obstacles your competitors have faced, and similar operation issues will provide valuable information about how to best position your brand in the marketplace.
Factor Number Five: Legal Issues
Every country comes with its special brand of bureaucratic red tape. Special legal areas to investigate thoroughly include the local regulations regarding labor laws, IP rights, and e-commerce.
The Forbes article recommends: "Have local representation if possible, someone who can help you navigate any unforeseen obstacles and explain all contract provisions and terminology. Know and understand the laws and legalese of the jurisdiction that governs your contract before it becomes legally binding."
A language support professional with expertise in legal translation and interpretation can help you comprehend the nuances of language in contracts, legal regulations, and correspondence with government officials or legal representatives in your target countries.
Factor Number Six: Brand Positioning
Just as focus groups in your home country help you tweak your product and your marketing message appropriately for a domestic audience, utilizing focus groups in your target countries yields valuable information about brand positioning and marketing internationally.
The Forbes article observes: "Understanding each country's culture means you have to find ways to reach what would otherwise be the same demographic but in a different location. A new approach may be needed to make your product or service suitable to the needs and expectations of the potential foreign market and its culture. Studying these countries, including their professional and personal customs, will ensure that you conduct yourself in a respectful way."
Factor Number Seven: Addressing the Language Barrier
Expanding into international markets involves finding appropriate language support. Apps can be a particular area of concern. Mashable's "How to Launch Your App in an International Market" lists several areas in which professional language support providers can assist you in making your app available globally.
Your app market description: Even internationals who have proficiency in English may not be finding your app because they may be searching in their native language. Translating your app market description and optimizing it based on local language and cultural requirements may give you an immediate surge in international interest in your product.
Localizing your app itself: Localization of your app helps it to jump the language hurdle. More than a line by line translation, localization captures the flavor of local culture and customs, making your app more appealing to a foreign audience. A professional language service provider will address such items in your app as:
End user license agreement
Marketing and support: Another important area in which language support services are necessary is in the marketing of your products. Just as your app needs to be localized to appeal to an international audience, your marketing materials and support services must also be appealing and accessible to that audience.
Marketing materials include direct marketing approaches such as brochures and television advertisements as well as inbound marketing such as your website, email campaigns, and social media messaging.
Providing marketing materials in multiple languages, as well as customer support services in those languages, ensures that your international audience has access to all the features and benefits of your product or service and helps you achieve a better ROI for your international expansion.
Putting It All Together
Taking your tech startup global can be a rewarding and profitable venture. With careful planning and forethought, you can successfully expand into international markets. Clearly defining your objectives for expansion is key.
Taking into account the timing of your expansion and the countries you are targeting will help you focus your efforts more clearly. Then, researching issues such as local customs, competitors, and legal issues will keep you on track as you expand.
Utilizing skilled, professional language service providers, you can develop your product for international markets successfully. With translation, interpretation, and localization services, you can be certain that your brand positioning is on point, and your marketing message is loud and clear in international markets.
When you are ready to take your tech startup global, contact us to discuss your language support needs. We will gladly work with you to facilitate a smooth expansion project on an international scale.