Innovation

International Business Expansion: Make 2018 Your Year

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Victoria Doherty

Reading time: 5 minutes

Here at blubolt we recognise the huge importance of international business and the range of advantages it brings. Not just to business owners, but to all of us.

It’s a fact that business is going global. Have you been thinking of taking your e-commerce endeavours beyond the home market this year? Then read on to find out how the move could benefit you.

When we think of international business we immediately have an image of the Amazons, Apples and Googles of the world. The real the truth is that there are many other international business success stories about companies that have come into their own by expanding globally.

A great example is the online marketplace Etsy, where people can come to buy and sell unique handmade goods. What started out as a small-scale US venture recently reported a 33% revenue growth. This growth is no small part due to the company’s leap into the global marketplace. On that note, take a look at these three content marketing techniques from Etsy for some useful tips in improving your content before a potential moved abroad.

In simple terms this success is because wider expansion means a wider reach. The more people you reach, evidently the more you sell. Tapping into new markets and advertising to more audiences not only gives you increased growth opportunities however, but also a fresh, global image for your company.

The online marketplace is a global scene, and it’s time to exploit it.

A marketplace in China showing a diverse crowd of shoppers browsing the products, available thanks to international business.

What are the benefits of international business?

The most obvious benefit of global expansion is the access to new audiences and markets for your products or services. There could be many untapped opportunities in markets that have had no previous exposure to what you offer. This could mean potentially huge revenue and growth opportunities for your business.

It may be that the home market is already oversaturated with what you’re offering. This signals that it’s time to increase the scope of your endeavours. Through proper research you may also discover that there are fewer or no competitors in your sector overseas, meaning even greater opportunities.

Remaining on your home turf could also leave you behind your competitors.

Both UK exports and imports are on the rise as more and more businesses of all sizes recognise the importance of international business. In 2015 The National Office for Statistics released a report showing an increase of 2.9% in UK exports of goods and services, from £119.7 million to £123.2 million. This means that UK business owners are realising there are opportunities overseas, and for good reason.

Imagine this in terms of limiting your target audience to just one demographic. By doing so you ignore all the other people that may be interested in what you have to offer. The outcome of this situation would be similar. Your competitors would pick up all the customers you were missing out on by not addressing their needs.

An atlas poster showing pins on various global locations to highlight the importance and reach of international business.

Companies with a wider international reach also have a more multicultural approach to business, which can increase a client’s trust. To establish that you are willing and able to trade with people all around the world is to showcase your company’s cultural and linguistic capabilities. It also demonstrates that you recognise a variety of audiences from different backgrounds.

Financial security in an uncertain market

It’s important to think about international business expansion in terms of security. By crossing into new territories you reduce the impact of any fluctuations in the UK market and economy which could leave your business open to threat. With international business operations you always have other channels of revenue to rely and focus on should circumstances change.

Going global can also give you the opportunity to source cheaper materials and resources needed to make your products. This comes about through having access to different markets where the raw materials are on offer. Having cheaper resources means a greater competitive edge in your home market as you can offer the same lines but at lower prices than your competitors, which also translates into increased revenues.

Should I expand my business internationally?

International expansion could well be the next step in your business plan. If so, there are certain key questions to ask yourself and internal evaluations to undertake.

The first and most important question to consider is: do you have firm foundations in the UK to enable stable overseas growth? Perhaps identify any areas of your business where you’re not feeling particularly confident. It may be wise to focus on those first before expanding your reach. Failure to do so might mean unstable initial operations in a new country.

A signpost showing directions to different international locations, highlighting the nature of modern day global business.

The second is: do you have the linguistic and cultural capabilities? We’re not talking Google Translate here. It takes time, effort and investment to prepare a business for internationalisation. This of course rises based on how far you plan to extend your reach.

It’s not advisable to rely on an employee with GCSE French to prepare your content for the French market. Nor on machine translation, for that matter. You need professional translation solutions to ensure that you’re taken seriously. If in doubt, take a look at this list of rather embarrassing marketing translation blunders that you’ll most certainly want to avoid! Grammatical and linguistic errors in your content can seriously undermine the credibility of your company and could mean you lose customers before you’ve even gained them.

Did you answer  yes to the first two questions? Then you now must then ask yourself: have I done my research? Is there a gap in the market for my product in a specific location overseas? Will I have any competitors? What are my opportunities for growth? Spend time reflecting on and answering these questions to get a clear image of where your launch abroad would be likely to take you, and if your business is ready for the challenge.

We covered these and other possible challenges to consider with global expansion in our previous article.

Don’t get lost in translation

Professional translation solutions will also ensure that your brand’s message is properly communicated. That’s where transcreation comes in.

Transcreation involves the adaptation of a message from one language into another while maintaining the intended tone and style above all. Your marketing content and tactics are likely to require considerable tweaking for launch in a new country. For this reason it’s essential to re-think and re-align your marketing strategy before launching any new releases or campaigns overseas. Also, transcreation is actually great for SEO, too.

Similarly you must also ensure that your business model itself translates well in the target country and culture. Each market has its own unique requirements, needs, and boundaries. It’s important to thoroughly research these before expansion, or seek appropriate professional advice.

Finally, if you’re already feeling confident about your multilingual exploits, have you thought about how you to optimise your SEO and content for new territories? Remember that Google doesn’t take kindly to duplicated content, which it can recognise even in translations. Take at look at Yoast’s guide to multilingual SEO for some excellent tips on how to target specific audiences in specific countries.

What’s the next step?

Well, the world is very much your oyster. So the real question is, which country first?

It may be wise to expand into the country that you feel most comfortable or familiar with. That is, one where you can easily conduct (or have already conducted) market research and be certain that there is a demand for what you’re offering.

Next, you need to source the right translation and/or language support partner. This can’t be stressed enough to properly convey your branding and intended message. It’s also essential to ensure your company’s brand are not lost in the sea of cultural differences. That is, they must be culture appropriate. A professional translation provider can advise you on this.

Expanding overseas will teach you how to better compete and grow. These are two key factors to boost your business operations not just abroad, but also here in the UK.

We firmly believe in internationalisation here at blubolt. It’s why one of the key features of our bluCommerce platform is the ability to sell in multiple currencies and to create language and country-specific websites to take you international.

Get in touch with us today to discuss expanding your reach with a platform tailored to your international e-commerce goals.

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