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Should you expand interstate or overseas?

Thinking about taking your business overseas – or maybe into another state?

There are many things to consider before expanding internationally or interstate. It’s crucial to understand the full impact of expansion and whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. Plus, you’ll want to involve your key management and any other stakeholders to get their input and make sure everyone is on the same page before you proceed.

Here are four important steps to take prior to expanding your business to another region or country:

  1. Do your research
    Will your product or service sell in another market? Is there enough demand? Are there local competitors, and if so, what do you offer that they don’t? How long will it take you to break into the market, make your sales goals and make a profit? Before you take steps to expand, make sure you’ve done your homework. Just because your company is successful in one area of Australia doesn’t mean things will go well elsewhere or overseas. Do the necessary market research, create a separate business plan for expansion and put in the time needed to ensure you’re making the right decision.
  2. Follow – and respect – the rules
    Employment laws in other countries (and even some States) are often very different, and every government has different rules and regulations regarding imports. There are likely to be different laws regarding intellectual property, data, real estate and tax, too. The best thing to do is to find a good lawyer in both Australia and any international market(s) you’re considering well in advance to help you understand what’s required, what documentation you’ll need and much more.
  3. Prepare for language and cultural differences
    If you’re expanding to another area within Australia or New Zealand, you won’t have to worry about a different language – however, if you’re going overseas, you’ll need to have an organised plan for understanding and respecting language and cultural diversity. To really succeed in a foreign market, you and your employees will need to learn the new language or have trusted representatives in that country who have a grasp of business trends (and taboos) and can guide you. Make sure you know how promotion differs, too – bold marketing strategies that work in Australia may fall completely flat in other cultures.
  4. Find a knowledgeable accountant and a reputable transport specialist
    If you’re taking the plunge on expanding overseas, you don’t want to pinch pennies when it comes to finance or transport. You need to partner with professionals who specialise in international transactions, and preferably have some connections in the country where you’ll be. You might feel like you can’t afford to hire professional services when you’re spending a lot on expansion, but the truth is, you really can’t afford not to. Hiring the right people will save you time, money and hassle and help get you succeed much more quickly in your endeavours.

Need help in planning an overseas business expansion? Contact the experts at Accru Harris Orchard today.