American companies have the good fortune of selling to a country of over 330 million people.
But it pays to look beyond borders for a company with grand ambitions. Because there are many exciting and emerging markets around the world that can help turn your company into a global success story.
Of course, international expansion isn’t for everyone, and it does offer some hurdles. So before you leap, read through our guide on growing your business internationally in 2022 and beyond.
Focus on Free Trade Areas
Some countries have free trade areas that remove financial barriers like tariffs. They also simplify non-financial barriers (such as harmonizing regulatory rules).
The EU is probably the best example globally. In the US, you’ll find trade easier within USMCA (the US, Mexico, and Canada; it replaced NAFTA in 2020).
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If you want to move beyond North America, focus on one trading bloc. That way, you can make the necessary legal and regulatory changes that will apply across that region.
Get Legal Help
You’ll want to ensure you have the necessary legal protections when operating internationally.
For example, let’s say you choose to manufacture your product outside the US as part of your international expansion.
In that case, you should make sure you fully protect your intellectual property and trade secrets within that country’s laws.
International business law is complex, so don’t try and tackle this alone. Hire a legal team with expertise in that region. They can ensure your business has the proper legal protections.
Find a Local Trading Partner
There is a lot to learn when operating in unfamiliar territory. You might face language barriers, local customs, and practical challenges such as logistics.
The fastest way to master a new country is to partner with a local business or entrepreneur who can operate as your trading partner in that region.
You could approach this as a permanent option or a temporary one to help you during the transition stage. Either way, it’s a smart management choice for a company that wants to sidestep common expansion issues.
You can also tap into specialist support for industries like finance or manufacturing.
Phase Your Expansion
History offers plenty of examples of companies that failed when they grew too fast. That’s a risk when expanding overseas. Don’t feel tempted to run before you can walk.
Even when you have a market ripe for expansion, hold back from world domination and carefully phase your business growth plans.
Prioritize your regional expansion plan. Don’t move into another territory until you’ve mastered your current expansion.
That will help you resolve problems as they go, instead of giving yourself multiple issues across multiple countries.
Get Government Advice
Finally, don’t be afraid to tap into existing support and advice from the US government. Remember, the government benefits from American companies expanding internationally. They want you to succeed.
Start by connecting with the ITA (International Trade Administration) for export advice.
Growing Your Business Internationally
Are you ready to think about growing your business internationally? Though it comes with challenges, it also offers potentially high rewards for the right company.
Take a browse through our startup spotlight section to read case studies from businesses that have successfully expanded their business.