Question: What’s one thing I should keep in mind when taking my small business global?
Translate Everything Carefully
"Moving your product to the U.K. from the U.S. seems easy enough, but when you start dealing with different languages and character sets, you'll have to be sure that you're not leaving out any words, sentences or other key information. You also have to take symbols and accents on letters into account. None of this is ever as simple as it seems, so get ahead of it. "
Make Sure You've Explored All National Opportunities
"Particularly in the manufacturing world where the logistics of selling internationally has a major impact on your bottom line, it's often better to focus your growth in your local and national market and grow your small business into a medium-sized business before you go global."
Hire a Legal Team
"I work frequently with overseas investors and entrepreneurs, and the biggest challenges they encounter are almost always legal in nature. The fact is that if you’re doing business anywhere but your home country, there will be certain laws you’re not aware of and certain processes you don’t understand. Having a lawyer (or two) on staff is critical, especially in the early stages."
Don't Forget Your Core Values
"When I see companies taking their business global, they often compromise the original core values of the company that current customers love and adore. The original core customer group is still the main driver for the company, and if you forget that, your company may not succeed."
Train Your Employees on Cultural Business Norms
"Clients can easily see when your staff sincerely attempted to learn their country’s cultural norms and when they didn't. Most clients will greatly appreciate the effort, as they know that learning cultural differences is not easy. For example, a South American businessman may have a loose definition of timeliness when arriving for a meeting, while a German businessman may value punctuality. Being on time can make or break a relationship."