How To Prepare To Expand Your Small Business Into Europe

by Klaus on January 3, 2020

in Articles

If you’re a small business trying to grow, you might be focussing only on growing at home, but there are potential customers for your products and services all over the world. No matter what size your business, you can expand your business internationally into Europe to reach even more possible consumers and become even more successful. Growing into another country can help you to put your business in the path of a new set of customers and help you to grow your company into a whole new market. 

Do Some Serious Research

Any business owner that is considering expanding their business overseas will need to some research. You need to know about the country you’re thinking about expanding into and the market for your business in that country. You will need to know that there is a demand for the products and services that you offer. Do some research into the competition that is already operating in the new country in your market? Knowing about your competition and the other businesses already working in the country means that you can plan how you can compete. With your research, you can plan out what you can do differently to make sure that you and your business will stand out from the competition. 

Expanding into a new country is difficult, so you will need to make sure that you aren’t planning to grow into a country with a market that is already filled with businesses who are already offering a service or products that are very similar to what you business offers. 

Learn A Second Language

If you’re going to operate your business in a different country, then language barriers could be a challenge that you will need to overcome. Most business owners don’t speak a second language, and English isn’t automatically spoken by businesses in Europe as a primary language of trade. For some European markets, your customers may well prefer to deal with a business who will offer products and marketing materials in their own language. Being able to do this builds trust and gets your services in front of more pairs of eyes. 

If you’re thinking of growing your business into Europe, it could be a good idea to study the language of the country you’re aiming for. French and Spanish are widely spoken in Europe, so could be worth studying. You will also need to hire native speakers to work on your team, and create resources in other languages like translated marketing materials and spanish captioning on video marketing. 

Develop Technological Resources

Any business making plans to go international, whether into Europe or elsewhere, needs some technological resources in place to help them. These technological resources can be used to help you collaborate with an overseas partner. Use tools like this to help your communicate more effectively and keep in touch with a partner in another country. You can also save money on travel expenses, keep track of any shipments, manage paperwork more efficiently and keep on top of important business tasks. 

Learn International Business Principles

Running a business outside of your own country can be a real challenge, and is pretty different to running a business in your domestic market. Different countries will not only have the challenge of a language barrier, but there may also be different legal requirements to get to grips with, as well as different customs, rules and expectations to learn. If you miss these different customs, you could make mistakes that could jeopardise your business. 

If you are planning to go international with your business, you should consider taking the time to study for a business degree that has a focus on international business. Studies like this can help you to understand and better navigate international growth and different business markets. 

If you’re struggling, you can avoid embarrassment and other issues by bringing in a local mentor to advise on local expectations and customs. Some countries also have government programs set up specially to help entrepreneurs from other countries. 

Build Relationships

Any business needs to spend time on networking, and this is no different for any business planning to go international. You should use networking to connect with businesses both at home and abroad. 

At home, you should be networking with other businesses that have gone international themselves, as they may be able to offer insight and advice to help your own growth. You should also network in the country that you want to grow into in order to begin building contacts and finding information and help for when you get abroad. You will have to travel for this networking at some point, but you can start at home. Look into networking options that are available online, and start attending trade shoes at home that tend to attract forgeign businesses to start meeting new contacts. 

Get Focused

Being a small business can mean that you can’t jump at and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, whether at home or abroad. 

Try not to spread yourself too thin by leaping at everything that comes your way, and instead channel your focus and limited resources into a market that will give your a substantial customer base to work with. You should focus on a way to become more cost efficient, such as by finding less expensive labor and materials. Focus on your goals and a business friendly environment, and don’t chase every opportunity that crosses your path. 

Get Your Resources In Place As Soon As Possible

Many entrepreneurs trying to grow into the global market face the same problems. These issues are often caused by not having all their resources in place from the beginning. 

If you do run into any problems, for example an unreliable supplier who lets you down, without the proper resources arranged, you won’t have an alternative option to turn to to prevent delays and further issues. If you want to take your business international then you need to make plans for many different scenarios and have solutions in place to protect you if any problems do arise. 

Be Prepared For Paperwork

All countries have their own sets of regulations for businesses, and any entrepreneur hoping to go international with their business will find themselves spending a lot of type filling in all kinds of locally required paperwork. 

You should be prepared to manage all this paperwork in a manner that is well organised to help you out. Set up an organisational system that you can access easily when you need it, and which will help you to keep track of any contracts, forms or correspondence. You should hire a lawyer in the new country who has lots of experience in international business who can help you navigate the requirements. An attorney can help you to avoid any legal issues and confusion with the paperwork. 

If you are going to successfully expand your business into a new country, you could be getting your business ready for some serious growth and a major boost in profits. However, if your expansion is going to be successful, you will need to do your homework and get lots of research done. You’ll need to be armed with all the information you need to succeed. Do plenty of networking and get prepared to give your business the best chance. Find local contacts who can help you find local staff, your first customers and other resources that you will need in place. With some hard work, you can set your business up for new levels of success. 

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John Jersin January 8, 2020 at 20:00

Great article. From my time leading LinkedIn’s largest business unit, I can attest that the European market is not only huge, but can actually grow much faster than the markets you start in if you’re ready for it.

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