When, How, and Why Go Global with Your Startup

Startups fail in shocking numbers and going global from the start might be the exact thing you need to avoid joining the sad statistic from Failory. Now is the best time for any business to go expand worldwide as the general globalization made communication and delivery simple. You also have access to technological innovations that allow even small businesses to produce enough cheap products to export. With such advantages, one really shouldn’t miss the chance to claim a market that might be more welcoming than the native one. Especially as it’s neither overly expensive nor too difficult to do.

Startups Going Global: When to Start?

They say the best place to start is the beginning and it’s definitely true for a startup going global. This business should be built with the international outreach in mind. In fact, you can enjoy the benefits of going global even before you start selling your products or services abroad. Your first ‘perk’ can come from hiring employees from different countries. Nearly any professional can work from home today, so distance isn’t an issue.

You can save a lot of money by hiring a remote team and foregoing office rent altogether. This will also make it easier to build a team that gets along great because your choice of candidates will be much bigger. There are also tax savings to consider as working with foreign freelancers can give one some significant breaks.

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Professor Vikas Shah,  CEO of Swiscot Group and Professor on MIT Sloan’s MBA Programme among others, said to ITUNews that the main reason why startups aren’t going global “is a lack of ambition”. This expert entrepreneur highlights how the majority of startup owners do not realize the opportunities they are missing on foreign markets. If you aren’t one of them, you should take that leap, but only if you prepare for it thoroughly.

Basic Success Tips for Startups Going Global

Localize instead of translating

One of the biggest mistakes that startups going global make is saving on localization and choosing to simply translate instead. Worse still, some businesses even don’t go that far, using Google Translate or other similar tools to translate their website, and possibly even product labels.

Despite the development of AI, translation tools are extremely inaccurate. They are more likely to turn your top-quality content optimized for content into some intelligible nonsense that to actually produce a worthy text.

In order to succeed, all startups going global should go multilingual as well. This starts with a website that needs to be reworked by local professionals and localized to accommodate relevant keywords. Ranking high on Google in non-English-speaking countries is easier, so such a basic SEO step alone will give you an advantage.

Basically, you should create several websites, each unique and localized for its specific audience. You can do this easily as multi-domain packages are offered by the majority of trustworthy cheap hosts.

Hire local talent to adapt your product and content to a new country. Look for someone who will be able to not only translate the text but also account for local cultural peculiarities to make your brand more attractive to the new market. For example, using purple in your brand’s color scheme will send out messages of ‘part of royalty’ in the Western World. However, in Thailand and Brazil people wear purple while in mourning, so this color has a negative connotation by default.

Considering things like this and finding ways to overcome such differences is what localization is about and it’s these details that can determine the success chances of the startups going global.

Research local regulations

Before expanding your business to any new country, you have to research the legalities of it thoroughly. This is necessary to both avoid prosecution for non-compliance and ensure that local customers get the quality of products they are accustomed to.

Your research must be highly detailed, from licensing to packaging regulations. As such information can be hard to find, it will be best to consult a professional with experience of this particular market. A consultation with an attorney won’t be amiss as well.

Choose markets by suitability, not by size

You might want to take over Europe but if your product is best-suited to strive in Asia, you will only set yourself up for a fail by turning to Europe first. When startups are going global they need to research potential target markets in detail and realistically evaluate them for potential.

Study global economic and trade reports to determine what the best market for your products can be. You should focus on smaller markets first as breaking into one of the big ones will require a big capital. Establishing yourself in several countries will provide you with the necessary money as well as strengthen your brand.

Establish mini-startups in your targeted countries

One of the biggest challenges for startups going global is lack of connection with their targeted foreign markets. If managing all your business remotely isn’t possible, you should consider hiring a manager for each location.

Once the business develops more, you’ll be able to progress to a complete office. For now, treat every manager like a mini-startup. They should run a ‘branch’ of your brand, but their task is to actually establish a legal business in their country. This means you’ll have to hire someone with experience of building businesses from scratch and provide them with proper support.

However, during your initial stages, you can start by hiring a PR/marketing manager only. The choice depends on the needs of your brand as well as your budget.

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