International Trade

Got global ambitions for your business? Here are five titbits for world domination

8 min read

25 August 2016

A digitally enabled global market, better access to funding and increased support for entrepreneurs is good news for growing businesses. But the reality of expanding to new places can also be littered with hidden challenges.

Image: Shutterstock

Knowing which markets to prioritise and the best way to market, sell and distribute your products or services is not easy. Add to that, different local laws, cultural factors and buyer behaviours and it can seem overwhelming. But don’t be put off.

A group of founder-friendly experts have come together to present Go-To-Market USA on September 6th 2016. This seminar explains why the US is the perfect market for UK companies wanting to expand and provides information on key issues including how to launch, protect and market your business in the US.

Ahead of the event we’ve summarised the five key things every business should do before they go global:

(1) Do your research

Talk to bodies such as UKTI and London & Partners and reach out to other entrepreneurs operating in similar markets. Be prepared to adapt to new markets. Key areas of research include: Tax, trade laws, IP, buying behaviours and logistics.

According to www.gov.uk: “Many lawsuits arise in the USA because of poorly drafted contracts. It is better to incur legal fees to prepare a well-drafted contract for the USA market that will help you avoid potential claims and lawsuits.”

I worked with Kelly Hoppen a few years ago. She believes it’s essential to really understand new markets, and can mean the difference between success and failure.

“The nuts and bolts of your business are just as important as your big sell so make sure you know it inside and out. Be clear on the logistics, it’s not enough to have an amazing idea, the key to success is how you execute it,” Hoppen said.

As a marketer, you need to understand:

· Your competitors
· What’s distinctive about your brand
· The gap in the market
· Your audience

“There are 28 million small businesses in America that account for 54% of all
U.S. sales and 55% of all available jobs,” the US Small Business Administration says.

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(2) Get professional advice

Entrepreneurs are fearless, tenacious, committed and hard working. But they aren’t the best person to do everything. If you’re planning on doing business overseas, consult advisers with a proven and relevant track record.

For businesses looking to enter the US, talk to Morrison Foerster which specialises in helping UK companies operating in the US and Moore Stephens which provides specialist business and tax advice.

Continue on the next page for details on how to invest more than just money in your brand to grow globally, as well as understanding how storytelling can help.

(3) Invest in your brand

Without a strong brand, your business is at risk. Your brand sets you apart from others and creates an emotional connection with your audience, so don’t be tricked into thinking it’s just a logo. In today’s digital market your brand needs to tell stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.

Your brand has a big job to do and will build value for your business if you play it right. You want your brand to be the brand of choice so be prepared to invest time, money and love to create experiences and content that connect.

Find customers, partners and influencers who will help spread your brand stories across different channels, make sure you stay part of the conversation and involve your fans in your evolution.

Take Uber: In five years it has grown into a global business operating in over 60 countries and is valued at $68bn. Not bad for a business with no vehicles and virtually no employees.

Martin Lindstrom, americanexpress.com, said: “Great brands appeal to all 5 senses and have to be powered up to deliver a full sensory and emotional experience.”

(4) Tell stories that make people react

Everyone loves a good story. Play on your brand personality and find ways to get people to interact with your brand. Bring your story telling to life through different content and formats like music, video, and imagery. Your brand stories should be entertaining, inspiring and educational.

As your business expands create fresh content without losing your authenticity and heritage. You’ll need global and local messaging. We call this “Glocal messaging” – it’s about being switched-on, responsive and current.

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(5) Connect the digital dots

Businesses that aren’t digital will be excluded from the global market within a few years, which means their longevity is limited.

According to BIS, 64 per cent of businesses have a website, but this doesn’t mean they are truly digitally connected. A website is no longer enough. Today, there are multiple channels and knowing which to prioritise requires real expertise. Each market uses channels differently and responds in different ways.

Social media can help grow your brand, by building a strong community of customers, advocates and fans. But it requires time, resources and creativity to maximise impact.

Your website is still your most valuable asset – a brand flagship where your audience will shop, get information, start a conversation or simply validate a referral. As a minimum, make sure your website:

· Is mobile responsive
· Integrates SEO and SEM so you can be found easily
· Updates information regularly
· Has updated content
· Links to your social media channels

“The projected total digital advertising spend in the US is expected to rise from $67bn in 2016 to $93bn in 2019,” reported Statista.com

Whilst helping businesses brand, market and sell their goods is my expertise, I find myself introducing and referring people to experts everyday. These 5 tips should get you ready to go-global but if you’ve still got questions or want advice on anything in this blog, drop me an email at: michelle@brandremedy.com

Michelle Roberts-Clarke is head of strategy & client development at Brand Remedy

For firms seeking global growth, the trend of digital export is one that should be grasped with two hands.