Supply chain · 21 October 2016

Expanding overseas? There is no one-size-fits-all solution

international_expansion
Researching the markets you are planning to enter is key to international business success

Preparing and launching a business overseas is an exciting time for any company, but one that comes with inherent challenges. Here, David Poole discusses the importance of having an industry-specific approach before attempting to expand a business internationally.

With countries being more open to trading with one another – and technology allowing people, goods, money and ideas to move around the world faster and cheaper than ever before – there is a wealth of opportunities to be had when it comes to trading internationally.

For manufacturers, innovation is crucial to staying ahead of the competition, keeping buyers interested and maintaining market dominance.

On a smaller scale, companies selling specific products are also becoming more innovative, with the shrewder among them using the power of ecommerce to make their mark on a global customer base.

Speed to market is essential, with logistics playing an important part in supporting growing demand.

Today’s business owners require a transportation provider that not only delivers from A to B, but that is also a source of advice and knowledge which they can rely upon to understand both established and emerging markets, as well as the intricacies involved in shipping a product quickly and efficiently.

Five tips to aid expanding overseas

(1) Research is vital

Regulations and customs may differ from country to country, so researching the markets you are planning to enter is key to success. Technology has made it easy to discover more about different business cultures, so use the internet to your advantage.

Of course, if possible, it is always good to visit the place in question to help build key relationships with potential customers and distributors.

(2) Anticipate increased international demand

While ecommerce can make a product globally accessible in an instant, it also means that demand can sometimes outstrip supply, particularly in busy times of the year such as the run-up to Christmas.

When preparing your business for expanding overseas, ensure your supply is well-stocked and that your staff are fully prepared to cope with any sudden increase in orders.

(3) Get familiar with customs

Customs regulations can differ dramatically from country to country, so it is important to familiarise yourself with the requirements early on. Gaining advice in this area early on in the process could save you valuable time and money, allowing you to focus your efforts on growing your business.

(4) Prepare your supply chain for expanding overseas

Make sure you’ve established a robust route to market and a supply chain that can consistently deliver.

Taking advantage of your transportation provider’s range of tracking options will ensure greater awareness of any potential delays, allowing you to manage expectations about delivery times. This is an essential aspect of avoiding any potential disappointment and ensuring customer loyalty.

(5) Use technology to your advantage

In today’s global landscape, technological innovations are more and more required by small business owners in order to evolve their business models and effectively compete.

Now, more than ever, advances in technology are enabling smarter business interactions, with those who adapt quickly reaping the biggest rewards. From streamlining your order processing systems to creating optimised and efficient global supply chains, technology can facilitate the success of expanding overseas for your business.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to expanding overseas – make sure you stay up to date with the latest developments in your industry.

Armed with the up-to-date industry knowledge, I hope the above tips will help get your business off to a flying start.

David Poole is UK South sales managing director at FedEx Express.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

David Poole is managing director of sales, UK South at FedEx Express and FedEx UK. FedEx Express is the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to every US address, as well as more than 220 countries and territories. 

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