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Going From Local To Global


Globalization is considered the end-all be-all of success for an American company. If you can get to a point where you’ve dominated your local market, expanded to other cities, and exploded in popularity on the web, then why not explore opportunities in hungry markets like China, India, South America, Mexico, Canada and Europe?


Getting Started

As you well know, market research is vital before making any major moves. A good place to start is the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library, where you can access over 100,000 market reports, websites, events and trade directory listings. The Country Commercial Guides provides a comprehensive view of each country’s commercial markets to help you identify opportunities for exportation. These guides are provided free of charge. Another avenue would be to work with a consulting firm in your country of interest if you require further information.    


Don’t Get Tangled Up In Red Tape

Remember that legal issues and laws vary from place to place. Read up on all Import and Manufacturing Laws to ensure you can actually deliver your product to the marketplace. Be sure you abide by local laws for construction, use of chemicals, disposal of goods, advertising, ingredients listing, packaging, and labeling. NAFTA makes it easy for you to do business in Mexico or Canada, but if you want to export to Europe, you’ll need to file for a Community Trade Mark.


Consider Different Methods of International Expansion

There’s more than one way to sell overseas. You can open an overseas retail location if you’ve really, really done your homework. If you want to provide an ownership incentive for local citizens to earn capital, you can try offering your business as a franchise business opportunity. If you lack upfront money and want a low-cost / low-risk way of expanding, you may want to license your product and find an overseas partner who will buy your products to sell as their own in exchange for royalty payments. Form an alliance with someone selling a complementary product overseas and work out a fair deal to cross-promote each other’s items; you can sell to their customers and they can sell to yours, so it’s a win-win situation. Broker a deal with a foreign distributor or retailer who will sell your products.   


Think Local

Many a company has made the error of taking a blanket approach to marketing their goods, whether it’s within America or overseas. Instead, you should think of ways to customize your approach for the companies you plan to export to. Be sure your website can be translated into different languages and consider registering foreign domain names like .nl for the Netherlands or .nz for New Zealand. Consider taking new approaches to pricing, packaging, payment terms, marketing mediums and ads. For instance, Coca-Cola Company tailored their product offerings to the Japanese market by offering canned coffee and selling their products in vending machines that used facial recognition software. Similarly, when Japanese company Kikkoman wanted to market their soy sauce in America, they knew they needed to create awareness that soy sauce could be a versatile condiment, so – instead of narrowly focusing their campaign on Japanese Americans – they opted to do grocery store sampling promotions to spread the word. Both companies enjoy huge market share in their overseas markets due to their ability to conform to the rules of the new countries.  


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