You’ve been running your business for a little while in the UK, and it’s going well. You’re keen to take the big step of operating on an international level, but you know that this requires some serious thought and planning. You also know that a business plan can be a great asset for any company that wants to grow, whether it’s just starting up or it’s been running for a while. So how can a business plan help you take your business global?
The first question you need to answer is which countries you would like to branch out into, and whether your target market there will be the same as in the UK. For example, your target market in another country may not be aware of the product or service you are offering. This may mean you need to spend more time educating potential customers and promoting the product, but it also means your business could be seen as highly innovative, giving you a great advantage.
Make sure you use your business plan to do plenty of research to find out whether there is a need for your product in the countries you are considering, and whether cultural differences will affect who your target market is. It may be that the first country you think of isn’t a good fit for your product, but part of your research will be finding out where in the world your target market is. Or, you may find that your product needs a little tweaking in order to fit in – for example, the name may need to changed, or a literal translation of the name or description might not work well in other languages.
Market research will be a very important part of planning when taking your company global. Before you invest too much time and money into the idea of international sales, find out whether your product will sell well in the targeted country. How many other companies are doing the same thing as you, how much are they charging, and are they seeing success? Make sure this is included in your business plan.
Writing a SWOT analysis for your business plan will form an important part of your research. How big is the market, what opportunities are there, and what pitfalls can you envision? What will your strengths and weaknesses be, particularly in comparison to competitors who are operating locally in the targeted country? You could also produce a gap analysis, researching local products and identifying any gaps in the market that aren’t currently filled by local companies.
Set yourself targets and goals for your new venture. How will you measure and monitor your success within this new market? Having short term and long term strategies will help you to measure your progress against both small and large objectives.
Will you set up a separate company or branch for your global operations? Consider what your business model will be and the implications of your new venture on your existing business and its finances.
How will the way your business operates abroad differ to selling at home? For example, consider the infrastructure of the country you are targeting, the roads, the reliability of delivery, supplies, utilities, and so on. There may also be some industry-specific or governmental regulations you will need to adhere to when operating overseas.
Your marketing plan will need to be tailored to suit the country you are targeting. Just because something works in the UK doesn’t mean it will be successful abroad. Remember to always take cultural differences into consideration – this applies to every aspect of your global move.
If you would like some help with writing a business plan that elevates your business to global status, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.