5 Key Steps to the Expansion of your Business

By Fiona Hotston Moore – partner, Ensors Chartered Accountants

Globalisation of businesses can be traced back to the Roman Empire. Businesses of all sizes can expand into the global market and I have seen many family businesses grow their footprint and profits by expanding internationally.

However, whilst the rewards can be great, taking your business into international markets is probably one of the most challenging steps you may take and is not for the faint hearted.

So, here are my five steps for success:

1. Undertake “Deep Dive” due diligence: The due diligence will need to take into consideration the following:

    • A SWOT analysis of your product against the
local market

    • An assessment of local demand for your product

    • Any adjustments that need to be made to your product. For instance, to enable it to comply with regulations and packaging

TOP TIP: Engage help from experts. Small businesses are understandably reluctant to engage professionals, but to enter new markets successfully it is essential to get the right support from the start.

2. Develop a business plan: Each market has its own challenges due to local government, economics, culture, language, time zones etc. You will need to consider the different avenues to sell internationally. Options include a local distributor, online selling, establishment of a local branch or subsidiary, setting up a sales office, acquisition of a local business or a franchise.

TOP TIP: Define your short, medium and long-term
goals, objectives and success metrics and be prepared to change direction.

3. Setting up the right partners and team: Ideally you will need support from an individual who knows the local market. This could be a business mentor, or you could employ a local manager or interim manager. You could collaborate with a local business or engage a local distributor. If the new market has a different language you will ideally need someone with bi-lingual skills.

TOP TIP: The most important thing to consider is whether you feel you can trust the local partner to both drive your business forward locally and to look after the
business interests.

4. Implement the right infrastructure: Having ascertained what management you will have locally, you will need to select and document what decisions can be made locally. You will need to determine appropriate IT and communications as well as financial and operational reporting. Data security and compliance becomes even more complex across jurisdictions.

TOP TIP: Develop local IT that is compatible and integrated with your domestic systems from the start. Consider outsourcing accounting functions.

5.  Review the legal and commercial risks: Some countries are more litigious than others and may be particularly challenging environments for overseas businesses to operate within. Local governments can insist on onerous local legal registrations. Local contracts will also be required. Immigration and customs will need to be considered.

TOP TIP: Be prepared for the unexpected obstacles and be ready to adapt your product and your business model.

Finally, enjoy the journey!

Fiona Hotston Moore is a Corporate Finance & Forensics Partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants.
E: Fiona.hotstonmoore@ensors.co.uk or visit ensors.co.uk T: 01473 220034 Twitter @hotstonmoore

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