If everybody had a secret recipe on how to build a business, there probably wouldn’t be any more room for businesses today. Apparently there’s no such thing as a secret recipe, so every business starter has to carry its own struggle of setting up a business. And if building a business weren’t complicated enough, going international spices the whole matter up.

Nowadays we can witness the globalization of a lot of companies and businesses. Staying local undermines several business owners’ ambitions, hence the discussions around getting international become more and more widespread.

Whether you want to build an international business from scratch or go international with your existing business, there are a lot of things you have to consider before initiating the process. It’s a good idea to review some of them which are considered to be among the most important.

1. Do some market research of your target audience. That’s applicable even when you want to start a local business, why shouldn’t it be across-the-board for going international? It’s crucial to know if people in your target market are interested in what you’re about to offer them, so you don’t start a huge movement that doesn’t pay off. One way to find out what your audience wants is to run online surveys which you can build for example with this tool. It’s also helpful to find out who the market leaders of your industry are in your target countries, in order to know who you’re competing with.

2. Related to the first idea, try to get to know your audience from a more cultural point of view. Do they have certain values that interfere with your product or with your company vision? Does a certain color of your product have negative connotations for them? (For example, while white symbolizes purity and is used a lot in the advertising zone of many European countries, in China it’s the color people wear at funerals). By acknowledging cultural differences, you avoid trying to sell something that doesn’t appeal to foreign customers, or even worse, scares them off.

3. Set up a good website. When you are new on a foreign market, it’s very important people can easily find you and look up more information about your business. If they get convinced by what you’re showing them, they’re more likely to try your products. Furthermore, offer them an efficient contact method by all means. For example, a contact form on your website could enhance the communication process between you and your customer.

4. Be multilingual. That’s absolutely necessary if you want to go international, as people are more willing to pay attention to those businesses which approach them in their native language or at least in a language they master well. As you are fresh on the market, you might consider laying down a bit more effort on the language aspect, because customers will find translating your service too complicated if you’re not an authority.

5. Make sure your name doesn’t mean something else for customers from your target audience and thus holds them back from achieving your product. A popular example on this matter is given by the car model Chevy Nova, which was an unsuccess on the Spanish market, because “no va” means “won’t work” in Spanish. And how would buy a car that doesn’t work?

6. Have a good ordering process set up. If you are selling products and plan on being international, you need a simple solution for ordering, paying and shipping your products to your customers. As simpler the process, as likelier to monetize the order from your client. For example, using an online order form with payment integration and SSL encryption, such as the one from 123ContactForm, can ease up the buying process and bring you a satisfied customer. In order to be fully prepared, also make sure you have a reliable shipping service provider who estimates shipping dates correctly, or else you’ll lose credibility in your clients’ eyes.

7. Last but not least, after following the above steps, don’t forget to listen and adapt constantly to your target market. Even if they succeed when launching, many businesses fail because they’re not able to adapt to the core market. Run feedback surveys, observe your sales volume and listen to your customers’ voice, that should help you grow your business.

Although going international with your business might seem overwhelming, take it one step at a time. After all, most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying where seemed no hope at all, as Dale Carnegie says.

image source: ddpavumba/freedigitalphotos.net

About the author Sabina Stoiciu writes for 123ContactForm, the online form and survey builder which helps businesses create professional forms without requiring coding skills – try it for free. Sabina enjoys blogging, photography, traveling and finding ways of gathering and sharing relevant business knowledge.