Going Global Has Never Been Easier
(Part 1 of 2; Read Part Two now)
It used to be that only huge corporations could be global players. Ha! Those days are long gone. Today, any freelance business can be an international player. Not only have there been incredible technological innovations that have revolutionized business (computers, printers, the Net, etc.), but equally, huge new markets have been opened that were never available before (China, India, virtual.)
That said, starting and succeeding internationally, while much easier than ever before, nevertheless poses a variety of challenges you will not face here at home.
Taking Stock of Cultural Differences Before Going Global
Begin with just the cultural differences. Needless to say, business is conducted differently in different parts of the world. Customs that we take for granted may be entirely missing in the region where you may want to do business, and vice versa. Things they find vital may be unknown to you, and not knowing may be the difference between deal or no deal.
So you have to begin by learning more about business in your desired country.
• There are plenty of websites that offer international travelers tips on doing business in different countries and regions. Start there. It cannot be stressed enough how even the slightest misunderstanding can have severe ramifications that could torpedo any possible deal.
• Speak with anyone you know from a host country where you plan on doing business and get their take. That is the sort of “insider info” that can not only warn you of any potential landmines, but similarly, let you know what will play and what to expect.
Next, once you know what is expected of you, you have to get your website ready for international sales. Surf to other websites that are selling internationally and see what they offer, how they do business, and what practices you may need to adopt.
Questions to Consider When Preparing Your Website for International Business
• Do you need to have your site in more than one language? And if so, what do you need to consider as you translate your offerings for an international audience?
• What sorts of terms do you need to consider for international transactions? Will your sales be in dollars, and does the country in question even conduct business in dollars? If you are going to accept international currency, you have to have a merchant solution that accepts that kind of currency, and you better be sure that the conversion rate works out for you.
Find International Customers for Your Self-Employed Business
Finding customers is always an issue, no matter where you do business.
A good place to start is with online advertising, and if you are going to be relying on your website to generate leads, then you also have to figure out where people in the new country go to search for information. Although search ads are not the only way to generate leads, they are a main one, and different regions rely on different search engines. Google, Yahoo, and Facebook are not the only games in town. Many countries have home-grown solutions that you need to discover.
Once you have your site ready and get people to visit, and once they start to buy, then the question is: How do you ship internationally, what sorts of regulations do you need to be aware of, and what other major considerations should you consider?
To answer that, read part 2 of this article now!