One of the most popular strategies for business growth is finding new customers for your products and services. Your current marketplace may already be saturated with similar products or entrenched competitors. International markets provide vast opportunities – and risks – for companies looking to grow. It’s important to create a detailed plan and identify obstacles that could hold you back.

Here are three common problem areas that could negatively impact your company’s plan to expand:

 

1.  Product Development and Fulfillment

 

Product development is no small feat, and it all starts with proper market research. Do your homework to learn what your international competitors are currently offering. Employ a plan that strategically positions you in the marketplace based on the unique selling proposition of your products. If you are looking to export or fulfill your products overseas, you may need to look at expanding your supply chain and evaluating methods and cost of delivery. You may also need to look at partnering with a local vendor to help you navigate the waters of entering a new market. Regulatory and legal guidance is also recommended to make sure that products meet local standards.

 

2.  Currency Exchange Rates and Taxes

 

There are approximately 182 circulating currencies worldwide and wide disparities in taxation laws. Therefore, it is vital that you thoroughly assess your currency and payment strategies to avoid any international payment risks. You may need to get some additional expertise to help design your ecommerce strategy and create an easy and effective way for your customer to pay you.

 

3.  Cultural Challenges

 
New research from IDC commissioned by professional services company TMF group shows that the cultural challenges associated with global expansion are now greater than ever. These challenges include: hiring and training staff in new regions of the world, adapting to new laws and business cultures, and finding ways to make it easy for global customers to reach you with services such as international toll free numbers. It’s vital to keep these cultural understandings top of mind when planning your international expansion.