Tips from Ebraheem Al Samadi, CEO of Al Samadi Group and Forever Rose London
For many business owners there comes a time when they start thinking about expanding their company or brand internationally. In fact, a study by USForex showed that 58 percent of small businesses already have international customers, while 72 percent of companies have plans to grow internationally. After you’ve built a loyal national customer base, expanding internationally might be the next step to keep your business growing. Becoming a global company is an impressive accomplishment, but ahead of taking the leap, it is important to be prepared for international expansion coming with its own unique set of obstacles. Going global can be a daunting and stressful time for everyone involved, yet if executed in an educated and strategic manner the end result will be incredibly rewarding both financially and personally, and can deliver great benefits to the overall value and profit margins of your company.
Having successfully launched a network of over eight stores and two cafes, regional and internationally, since 2014, I reached out to Ebraheem Al Samadi, CEO of Al Samadi Group and Forever Rose London, to provides his top tips to successfully take your business international, my first in a series of posts featuring inspiring entrepreneurs in the region and beyond:
Research your target consumer
Having established yourself in one region, you will know who is most likely to buy what you sell. However, you may find moving into a new market that your products or services are more popular with another type of consumer. Conduct in-depth research into consumer habits in the region you plan to move into before launching your brand. This way you will be able to develop a plan to attract the right consumers rather than trying to sell to a generic audience.
Know the local competition
Knowing the competition is essential for any company moving into new territory. Understand what other brands in your sector have done, comparing if products are similar to yours and what will make your company stand out. If you have time, visit their stores or use their services in order to compare offerings. Providing a service or product that is different from what is already available will give your company a head-start in the new region.
Understand the legal system
Rules and regulations concerning businesses will vary in every country, so make sure that you are aware of all the laws that pertain to your company. These could include tax regulations, laws regarding imports and exports, and even employee rights to name a few. In order to stay clear of any problematic legal situations, sit down with a lawyer and go through the ins and outs of setting up your international leg.
Hire the right team
Having the right people to support your brand as you venture into a new market is essential. As a boss, you need to be able to trust the people around you and work cooperatively towards the successful launch of your company. Make sure that the people you hire are willing to work hard and become experts on the new market that the company is setting foot in. Making this move is a huge task and you will need the extra help, so choose wisely!
Create an international strategy
Although you may have already created an overall brand strategy for your business, it is important to develop one specific to the new market. Include research about consumers, competitors and other important factors, such as potential store locations and your international marketing strategy. This document will help plan the big move before it happens, allowing you to be prepared for any situation which may arise.