How to take your company global

Going global.

How to take your company global

Whether you are looking for new markets and a broader customer base, or interested in accessing new production and distribution channels, expanding your operations internationally offers exciting opportunities.

Smaller home-based business owners tend to actually move into international markets more quickly than women who are growing a more traditional company. This may be due to the nature of online retailing tools and platforms such as Etsy, eBay, and Amazon, where the ability to buy and sell across international borders is baked in from the start, and easy access to retailers and buyers in other countries makes the benefits immediately obvious.

Service providers may also find themselves transitioning to being global companies quite naturally and quickly, since new clients can easily find you online, and even personal referrals are unlikely to be stopped by something as arbitrary as a border.

However, operating as an international company has its own challenges. You need to have a strong grasp of tax matters as they pertain to importing, exporting, currency conversions and your obligations around income or salaries. Freelancer or sales platforms can provide some support, but you still need to do some research or hire a financial expert in global business transactions to advise you.

If you are making a product in small batches and selling it online, then your approach to growing your business internationally is going to necessarily be different than if you have scaled up to a multi-team or even multi-site operation. Your main concerns will be pricing appropriately to market(s), collecting and remitting correct taxes based on both sending and receiving jurisdictions, and following regulations around shipping, particularly if you deal in a sensitive product such as edibles.

Larger companies may have more complex challenges to solve. You may want to investigate suppliers from outside the country or move some or all of your production overseas. This could help reduce transport times, costs and environmental impacts, or simply be cheaper due to a more favourable exchange rate. For service providers, you might find that employing remote staff allows you to extend the hours of service for your customers in other time zones. You might even go so far as to open an office, production facility or distribution centre in another country.

Depending on foreign-owned business regulations in your new location, this could be a very simple procedure or a significant challenge. One effective approach is forming a partnership with an established business in that location, rather than expanding under your own brand.

Another significant consideration is transactions across currencies. There can be quite a lot of fluctuation in the markets and variance between different transaction facilitators. It is very important to compare international exchange rates, especially when it comes to the larger transactions such as supply ordering, wholesaling, real estate purchasing or employee pay. Comparing rates to reduce your fees as much as possible can increase your margins and make operating as an international business more profitable.

Global companies benefit from larger markets, broader supply chains, and favourable exchange rates. Expand your business by looking beyond the borders and increase profitability and reach today.

Poppy Watt