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Many business people dream big and see possibilities where others do not. That's how they got into business to begin with. So it's natural for you to want to expand and to have grand visions of your business abroad.
But in between vision and execution, there are many steps, and that applies to starting a business at home. So when you want to take that idea out into the greater world, it means much more work. Here are five tips, adapted from Entrepreneur.
1. Learn What Locals Need: Whatever your product, you will have to tailor sales and marketing to a local audience, which means getting to know locals and their needs. Ideally you can find a mentor and investor who is interested in making your idea work and knows what it takes to attract a clientele in this new (for you) location.
2. Learn the Language: Sure, lots of people -- and especially business people -- speak English all around the world. But as you well know from doing business at home, communication is a subtle and intricate thing, going beyond the mere exchange of words. The better you understand the people who make up your new market and their preoccupations, the better your chances of business success. Learning the language is one key step to understanding a culture.
3. Live Like Locals: Just as speaking a language gives you insight on a people, so does living like them. You may think you can imagine life in a densely packed Asian capital, but actually living in a Tokyo studio, say, will truly teach you. When you have to fold your mattress every morning and put it in the closet, for example, your more expansive American notions of space will change and you'll know your new market more intimately.
4. Study the Competition: Just as you would at home, conduct market research, and know who you are competing with, as well as what has happened to past entrants in this market.
5. Build a New Network: Before you make any big moves, start connecting digitally and at conferences with people who share your interests and who are already at work in the market you seek to join.
It is critical to get legal guidance before venturing into business abroad. Before you go global, find a lawyer who can help you navigate the numerous regulatory issues involved in export and expansion.
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