If you're on the brink of deciding to take your Canadian business global, you're making a good move. Aimia Inc. recently released the results of a study that indicated that while only 20% of Canadian businesses are enthused about the possibility of going global, 90% of the businesses that have made the leap are extremely happy with the results.
Here is some advice Canadian business owners who are considering going global will want to consider.
Don't Get Worked Up About the Prospect
One of the main reasons so many Canadian business owners are hesitant about making the leap and going global is they're worried about how difficult the expansion will be. Yes, there are going to be some challenges, but most business owners find that as long as they approach going global with a calm and collected attitude, it's a fairly smooth process. The business owners who have successfully taken their company global advise handling it exactly the same way you would handle a domestic expansion.
One of the best ways to help predict and counter challenges that crop up while taking your business global is connecting with other international business leaders connected to your industry. It's okay to ask them to serve as a kind of mentor. Not only will they help you deal with the red tape and other issues you'll encounter, they'll also help you reach out to other important contacts.
In addition to connecting with a few mentors, do some heavy research on your competitors who have gone international. Explore the methods they used to determine why some gained a great deal of success on the global market while others struggled with the transition.
Communication has always been a challenge for Canadian businesses that have gone global. It's much harder to go to an office or plant to manage a problem when that office/plant is on the opposite side of the world. Luckily, technology has provided some great global communications program that eliminate many of the headaches business owners who took the global plunge in years past encountered. Today's communication apps provide global businesses with an opportunity to use text/audio messages, don't break down when cellular signals fail, and enable you to communicate directly with several people in different parts of the world at the same time.
Good apps for global business communication include:
- WhatsApp video
- Google Hangouts
All of these apps can be downloaded directly to your smartphone and tablet.
Before committing yourself to the global market, sit down and do extensive research about how your product will be received on the global market. This is also the time to explore is certain countries have regulations in place that would require you to revamp your product before selling it there. One example of this is a business that sells sauces. When they broke into the global market they learned the only way they could market their product in one country was by completely changing the products packaging. Knowing the restrictions in advance means deciding not to market in that particular country or revamping your product.
Check to See if NAFTA Restrictions Impact Your Industry
There have been some big changes in NAFT during the past year with more changes anticipated after Mexico's presidential election. While many smaller Canadian industries won't be impacted by the new trade restrictions, it's still a good idea to look at current and predicted future restrictions and determine if they create new hurdles for your business if you decide to take it global.