What are the odds of hitting nirvana with your business when it comes to taking it global? In “17 tips to grow a global business,” I talked about what you need to do to grow your business beyond borders. Here, I offer you a slightly different twist — a variety of ways, a checklist if you will, for positioning your business for global success.
Positioning your business for global success
Listen to customers.
Determine the best marketing method and develop a campaign.
Reduce dependence on existing markets.
Find and expand into new geographical markets for an existing product.
Spot significant trends.
Redesign outdated logos, websites, blogs and other social media platforms.
Tool your website to easily handle international visitors.
Offer new services that complement your existing products.
Cross-fertilize your marketing efforts through a variety of industries or sectors.
Confront your company’s finances squarely.
Be the king or queen of accessibility.
Innovate to break free of the pack.
Excited? Great! Let’s take a closer look at each one of these global positioning tactics.
1. Listen to customers.
It’s important to get a pulse on what consumers are actually buying, when they’re buying it. Be on the lookout for analyst predictions because even though they may not always be right, you can still adjust accordingly and at the very least rethink your approach. Survey your current customers, keep tabs with tools like Google Trends, and do some social listening to determine what customers really want to buy in 2017.
2. Determine the best marketing method and develop a campaign.
From social media marketing to email marketing, you have many online tools at your disposal to help bring customers to your virtual door. Email campaigns, paid search, targeted social media campaigns and other online marketing strategies can help you target and keep in touch with customers in a sophisticated, albeit economical, fashion.
3. Reduce dependence on existing markets.
Protect your company against the risk of decline in any one market by diversifying. Try exporting, using the internet, and licensing or franchising your products, for example. Which leads me to my next point.
4. Find and expand into new geographical markets for an existing product.
This is the simplest and quickest strategy to grow your business into new markets, and it can be done via exports.
This market-entry strategy contributes to the revenue stream and profitability of an increasing number of enterprises.
5. Spot significant trends.
Trends like cloud computing, 3-D printing and mobile commerce have transformed the way we do business. Consider that eCommerce generated an estimated 8.7 percent of all retail spending worldwide in 2016, bringing in more than $1.9 trillion. eMarketer expects retail eCommerce sales to increase to more than $4 trillion in 2020 — making up 14.6 percent of total retail spending that year.
Then implement a collaborative plan that speaks to those trends in a way that generates new revenue streams.
6. Redesign outdated logos, websites, blogs and other social media platforms.
When the time is right, consider improving the look and feel of your online business presence. That’s likely to cement the first impression you’ll make in new international markets. Positioning for global success requires that your business’s digital identity is clean and representative. How?
- Make your website mobile-friendly to accommodate the growing smartphone market. Global mobile commerce comprises 34 percent of all eCommerce transactions worldwide — a number that’s predicted to increase by 31 percent in 2017.
- Audit the content on your website and blog by analyzing what worked best and making it even better.
- Refresh your social media accounts with new images, videos and copy that accurately reflects who you are, what you do, and what you can do for your customers. Here are some tips for reviewing your Pinterest boards.
- Take a critical look at your logo and other branding assets. Are you really happy with the way they’re positioning your company? Are they cohesive across all channels?
7. Tool your website to easily handle international visitors.
Selling a product or service overseas takes particular sensitivity to the values and concerns of overseas customers. International training — including language acquisition — is vital to building an optimal trade relationship in your target market. As co-founder of Byte Level Research, John Yunker says:
“In the information economy, information is power. In the translation economy, translation is power.”
Make visitors to your website feel at home no matter where they are located. Are you giving customers what they want in the language they want? Here are 10 best practices for globalizing your website.
8. Offer new services that complement your existing products in order to boost profits.
Say you sell technology services. Give your business a positioning edge by developing an app that all your customers can use that makes their work more efficient. At the same time, perhaps even educate your customers through an online training program on how to develop an app that they can offer to their customers so everyone grows.
9. Cross-fertilize your marketing efforts through a variety of industries or sectors.
For PR services, market coverage should pollinate over into a variety of sectors that you feel you can enter — from healthcare to entrepreneurship to agriculture — to reach new and appropriate buyers and to broaden the scope of your business activities.
10. Confront your company’s finances squarely.
As you tiptoe into overseas markets, you want your business to be sustainable over the long term. Assess your business’s overall financial fitness. Revisit the financial projections in your business plan to ensure they’re solid. Look for ways to reduce debt. Make friends with an accountant.
11. Be the king or queen of accessibility.
Positioning for success worldwide means making sure when your employees, customers, suppliers and colleagues need you, they get you. Nothing gets accomplished without constant communication. That means going back to your website or blog and eliminating an info@email address and adding a real person’s email address to address questions, concerns or raves about your company’s products or services.
12. Innovate to break free of the pack.
Global competition and an unpredictable economy have made growth all the more challenging these days. Yet to truly position your business for global success, you must make innovation a continuous process. Offer your customers something for which there are no direct competitors. What will it be? Take the time to think it through.
Once you have completed the above checklist, have your team review your answers for completeness. Then, modify your plan based on feedback.
In 2017, focus on what really matters — the people, the opportunity (as noted above), the big picture along with a call-to-action — and you are sure achieve spectacular global success this year and for years to come.