Technological advancements have made it easier and more rewarding to take your small business to the global stage as opposed to confining it to the local market. That is without mentioning how most economies across Europe, Africa, and Asia have grown in the recent past, increasing your chances of succeeding overseas. If you haven’t done it yet, you need to consider the four Asian Tigers: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. They are among the places in the world where the business is booming, and whose markets are yet to get saturated.
Technology has broken every barrier that was previously hindering businesses from going global. The language barrier, difficulties in navigation, and unclear trade rules in different parts of the world are some barriers that the internet, in particular, has neutralized. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, among other social platforms, have also contributed immensely in making the world smaller and easier to understand. You can, for example, establish a client base in Asia and even find partners there through Facebook, without having to set foot in the continent.
Communication between different time zones, the flexibility to handle clients from different cultural backgrounds, and a host of other administrative challenges are now easier to address thanks to technology. But how else can you use technology as a tool to expand your business globally? Here are 4 ways how:
#1. Digital technology solves the challenges that come with geographical realities
You don’t need to go to Syria to know how politically tense the place is. You don’t need to visit Asia for you to consider the four Asian tigers as viable investment options for you. And neither do you need to traverse through Europe to understand the products the continent needs most. It is now possible to learn about all these things in the comfort of your home thanks to digital technology. That means that even before you visit a place to assess its suitability for business, you have a chance of touring it via the many digital platforms technology has birthed.
#2. Effective customer service
The roots of any customer interactions are anchored in understanding their cultural backgrounds and social preferences. You cannot, for example, take pork products to the Middle East and expect much business from it because, well, pork isn’t a Muslims’ thing. It is just like how you may have it rough when trying to sell winter trench coats along the equator. None of these ventures are entirely impossible but hey, there are better places to take those products for optimal results.
Without understanding where to take your products, what the target audience needs, and how best to present it to them, you may never succeed internationally. Thanks to social media and the internet, however, you are able to learn too much about an international market before experimenting with your products. Besides that, social media gives you the chance of interacting with your international customers at a personalized level. You can chat with an Australian customer via WhatsApp or Skype and by doing so, both parties understand the human face of the other party. It feels more like chatting with your local customers at your physical store. Make sure that you are reachable by your customers in all social media networks, since you can easily go viral, especially on Instagram. Also, do not forget to place your site in different local directories.
#3. Reduced overhead costs
Thanks to Google Translator and other translation tools, you don’t have to hire a translation company to translate your ads into the native languages of your international customers. On the other hand, you can track the progress of your overseas business from your head office back home, which saves you a lot in terms of travel costs, accommodation costs, and other logistics. What’s more, you don’t need to hire an additional manager to help you with your administrative duties because thanks to Google Analytics and other administrative tools, you will do just fine without any additional assistance.
#4. Storing and sharing data has never been easier
You don’t have to call your staff members working in international offices now and then for files and other important data. Technology has made it super easy to store data in the cloud so that whoever needs and is authorized to access it can conveniently do so at any time of the day. When sending memos and other communications abroad, you have emails and newsletters at your service. What’s more, you can control your data right in the comfort of your home, restricting who among your international staff members can access it. All these data management options make your job too easy and your chances to succeed so real.