If you’re feeling the pinch of a slow economy like many South African entrepreneurs are at the moment, you might have thought about looking abroad to find new markets for your products and services.
With emerging economies growing fast and some developed countries recovering from the great recession, consumers in countries like Australia, Germany, India, Brazil, China, Singapore, and parts of Eastern Europe are starting to flex their spending muscles – these could be some of your new clients if you manage to go global with your business, but how can you achieve this?
Does your business have global potential?
When we think of global businesses, large corporations with skyscraper offices come to mind – but a business with just a handful of staff can go global too, as long as the product or service on offer is competitive, well-priced, and able to be delivered reliably to customers abroad.
When you assess your business to see whether it could go global, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a market overseas for my products and services?
- Can I reliably and affordably produce enough products to sell overseas?
- Are my products and services legal in the countries I want to expand into?
- Have my products and services been successful in South Africa?
- Have overseas customers already expressed an interest in my business?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, your business may have the potential to go global. However, taking that potential and making your business successful overseas will require a lot of careful planning, research, and partnerships in order to be successful.
The qualities of successful global companies
From large corporations like Toyota and Apple to small businesses that specialise in exporting small manufacturing components or fashion items, most successful global businesses have a few things in common.
- They started small – as large as any global business may be today, it probably started out with one dedicated entrepreneur, dreaming big and working hard.
- The achieved success in their home markets – succeeding in your home market is a good indication that your business may do well overseas.
- They did their homework – before leaping into a foreign market you need to understand how it works, making it essential to do your research.
- They knew how to compete – nobody likes a newcomer who has their eyes set on taking away market share, and in order to succeed overseas you’ll need to be smarter, faster, and offer more value than your competitors.