5 Tips for Expanding a Business Internationally in 2021
This article was written by Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief at Rehack
At some point, every business must expand or grow outside of its local and standard markets. This is the best way to bring on new clientele, and it's also imperative for remaining competitive and successful in today's landscape. Expanding internationally is the ultimate move, which leads to growing sales, diversifying investments, snagging new talent and seizing a place in the wider markets.
To say global expansion is a challenge is an understatement. Entering the playing field with a competitive advantage means knowing some solid tips for a successful expansion. Without further ado, here are five tips on how to expand your business internationally in 2021.
Unify Business Communications
It’s vital to be prepared before expanding into new territories. There needs to be a strong communication system and active channels for deploying unified messages. It’s not just about phone systems and more traditional forms of communication, but also digital collaboration initiatives. It encompasses everything from file sharing and collaborative document or project opportunities to messaging and videoconferencing.
How will the different arms of a business be united and coordinated? Here’s a scary insight: 46% of employees are unsure what they’re supposed to do after leaving a meeting. Imagine that on a global scale and with remote operations and communications at the forefront.
Preparing for the Inevitable
Even if the plan is to expand globally over the next few years, preparing for the eventual expansion is key to a successful experience. It’s not just business leaders that have to be ready for the new markets, opportunities and experiences — it’s the entire workforce.
Preparing beforehand requires building a secure, efficient operation that can be opened up to new regions much more successfully.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
Companies should have a business continuity plan designed for local operations, and that should extend to overseas locations.
Business continuity helps companies adapt and respond to risks and various unexpected events, not necessarily disasters or major accidents. For example, a plan generally includes managing processes, assets, human resources and business partners. There should be plans for dealing with data backups and restoring mission-critical information during a hardware failure or breach.
Continuity plans outline step-by-step what must be done to restore operations to normal and continue forward momentum, including what supplies are needed and how employees and personnel should proceed. It’s also important to incorporate global operations in the plan, such as remote warehouses, stores or management centers. Leaders should also get AI involved in risk management development as an added level of support or defense.
Build Data Management Solutions
Companies typically use a host of software platforms and applications to manage personnel, inventory and supplies. Data management involves connecting information from all those platforms and sources to create a more comprehensive picture of operations. That’s challenging to do with a local or midsize business and even more so when expanding to international operations.
The key is to build data management solutions before the expansion happens, whether the plan is to do so in-house or to outsource the work. Company leaders can also use the information to make more informed decisions, predict market events or trends, expand into new areas, and empower future operations.
Widening the Talent Pool
Understandably, 85% of CFOs and executives are interested in tapping into the global talent pool, which is also more cost-effective. Expansion makes that possible but also creates many new opportunities for growth across the entire company. For example, onboarding someone from a different market opens them up to opportunities at other locations. Personnel don’t need to be moved around due to remote employee and work technologies.
Opening up the talent pool to include new regions and professionals can go a long way in improving the productivity and power of a team. It’s always a smart idea to begin hunting before the expansion, just so the company is ready for the increase in responsibility.
Deploying AI at an Enterprise Level
Automation is key to smooth and efficient operations, and it becomes even more instrumental as a business expands. Executives can’t be everywhere at once, and neither can their management teams. At the heart of automation are artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cognitive neural networks. They ingest and feed on data, which allows technologies to react accordingly.
The purpose of enterprise-level AI is to streamline data analysis, decision-making and management. It stands on its own because of how it’s deployed at a much higher level. The biggest benefit it can provide for global operations is speedy and precise access to insights.