It’s about that time when companies begin thinking about improvements for the coming year. If you’re one such business owner or marketer whose goals include generating higher revenue, locking in customer loyalty, and bolstering brand awareness in 2014, then tapping into the global economy could be a fantastic New Year’s Resolution to make.

 

According to the National Foreign Trade Council’s global trade report, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S. For those casting an eye on the prospect of going global, now would be a great time to get a head start on turning this resolution into a reality. One is bound to encounter new challenges when deciding to venture into unfamiliar territory; however, a fully-baked plan will help increase the odds of overseas success.

 

Below are three tips for global expansion to help strengthen your approach as you begin moving beyond domestic borders in 2014:

 

Be Selective

 

When dipping into the international market for the first time, business owners should be more selective than hasty. Comb through a few strategic locations with characteristics that give your enterprise the best chance to succeed. This will likely require gathering pertinent information and data to help ease the transition into new boundaries. Some signs to look for in a potential new location include:

 

  • A growing middle class, which can be a great indicator of a consumer base that is ready to be built out. These areas are often full of professionals in their 20’s and 30’s who are beginning to making more money and looking to spend it.
  • A population advanced in self-service that could help your organization cut down on operational costs. As your company is building consistent revenue in a new location, limiting expenses is crucial.
  • Established businesses in the area that could offer beneficial partnership opportunities and promote your company to its existing clients.

 

Understand the Market and Culture

 

Understanding culture is crucial to becoming a successful global company, so as you investigate new markets, make sure to:

 

  • Be thorough with your research to determine whether there is a hunger for your particular product
  • Know exactly what demographics you intend to target
  • Educate your employees on the customs of the market you are entering
  • Familiarize yourself with the country’s business laws, and have local representation if at all possible
  • Consider localized product development and fulfillment
  • Strengthen existing e-commerce and marketing practices to reflect the local market

 

Remove Communication Barriers

 

As your company goes global, you’ll want to use every tool at your disposal to let people in the area know exactly what your company does and why they should take the time to learn more about you. Some easy ways of doing this include:

 

  • Engage with Social Media: Perhaps the best way for a company to achieve globalization is through virtual or digital mediums. Social media offers global business owners and marketers a free and customizable way to gauge various customer bases, including targeting, engaging, and advertising. Be sure to consider translation and to include links to social media for each localized website, as well.

 

  • Speak the Local Language: Whether through social media, e-mail correspondence, or a localized website, you need your potential customers to be able to understand clearly exactly what you can offer. You might want to consider hiring a bilingual communications resource to ensure your message is being heard precisely the way you intend.

 

  • Utilize Technology:  For example, provide a local or toll free telephone numbers to consumers across every country or region. Having to dial lengthy, confusing international numbers can dissuade customers from calling your company for service, product information, or to make a purchase.

 

These are just a few strategies that may be helpful if you decide to make your business global in the coming year. Moving into the international market can be daunting, but it also presents new and exciting opportunities for growth. However, before you make the leap, make sure you have a solid plan in place. If so, it should be a happy 2014 for your company.

 

What are some of your company’s New Year’s Resolutions? Please share in the comments section below.