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5 Signs Your Business is Ripe for a Global Expansion

A business will go through all kinds of stages during its lifespan, and the hope is that it reaches a point where expansion isn’t just an idea to float around, rather it becomes necessary due to its continued success. But knowing when to expand is a fine line to walk. Expanding too early or too late can bring negative consequences, so it’s up to business owners to be aware of the signs, recognise them when they pop up, and analyse them appropriately.

If you’ve been thinking that maybe the time is right to expand your business in a global sense, then there’s no doubt you want to be sure you’re making the right move. To help you in that decision-making process, here’s a look at five signs that could mean the time is right, and global expansion is indeed warranted.

1. Your Overseas Online Sales Have Picked Up Substantially

A good indicator that it may be time to think about expansion is that your online sales from overseas have picked up substantially. It’s one thing to have healthy domestic online sales being, but once the international customers start flooding your site on a regular and consistent basis, you know the demand and interest is building.

Then again, maybe you don’t currently offer overseas shipment of goods, but you are starting to get a constant influx of emails and questions asking if it’s possible. This too can act as an excellent indicator that the time is right for expansion.

Of course, with that said, these signs have to be consistent. It cannot be that you have a couple of weeks of international customers showing interest, rather there is a sustained and growing interest that is taking place for weeks, and months. Tracking these requests will help you to determine if the time is right.

2. You Have a Plan in Place for Hiring Staff

Another huge consideration is staffing at your global location. How do you plan to staff the new branch/office? There’s a good chance you aren’t ready to move to the new location temporarily and conduct all the recruiting, hiring, and training in person, so you need to give thought as to how you’ll deal with it.

One route that can prove very helpful and successful is to team up with a local staffing agency. Take for example New Horizons, a Thailand EOR (employer of record). This company is able to hire staff in Thailand without you having to establish a local entity. What this means is that you can be fully staffed in a matter of days, not the usual weeks or months it can take to staff a global expansion. The faster the company is staffed, the faster it can start operations.

In Thailand, there are strict rules regarding how to incorporate a foreign business into the country, which can be confusing for outside entities/businesses. It’s wise to contact New Horizons as they have more information on EOR in this particular market.

Forging ahead with a global expansion project without any thought to staffing is bound to lead to disaster.

3. It Feels Like You Have Saturated the Domestic Market to Its Fullest

It’s also helpful to take a look at your domestic market and ask if the company has saturated it to the fullest. Has it reached as many corners and customers as possible? Is there any room left for expansion here at home? If you’ve grown as much as you possibly can domestically, then it may well be time to look outside your own country.

4. You Have Business Relationships in Place Overseas

Business relationships with overseas suppliers, vendors, and customers will also play a huge role. Do you have these relationships already in place? How solid are they? It may be that you need to hold off on expansion while you develop these relationships, do some research, and really build that foundation.

5. What About Branding and Marketing Overseas?

While it would be great to think you could just expand overseas and have an instant customer base, the reality is, that’s not likely to happen. What this means is that you also need to spend time developing an international marketing campaign that is able to target the exact market you are expanding in. This includes customer and competitor research so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

These are the steps that should be done well in advance of expansion, as they will help you to prepare and hit the ground running when you do open up internationally.

6. A Big Move When the Time is Right

Making the decision to expand your business internationally is a huge step, but when all the signs are right and you’ve done your research and preparation, it can also prove to be the best move for your company’s future.

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