3 Ways Small Businesses can Compete in Global Markets
It may be a small world, but for small businesses, tapping in to global markets can mean big profit potentials and a major boost to their overall growth. Still, it’s not easy to get involved in a global dialogue if you don’t know where to start, and a business that must carefully allocate its assets due to cash flow constraints, bad credit or simple prudence might be hesitant to throw their hat in to the ring without first carefully considering their positions and capabilities. That being said, there are many strategies that can lead to overseas awareness of a business, most of them based on strong organizational competency as well as a good foundation of communication skills. Here are a few ideas that small business owners can try in order to expand the borders of their businesses.
Create brand awareness among global influencers. Small businesses will often lack the ability to create vast artificial reach through large marketing budgets, but they can still ably compete by spending m0re time targeting their message to those who are the most likely to share. Businesses that are trying to go global also often engage in re-branding in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, however they should avoid the many common mistakes that can take a re-branding campaign and actually turn it into a setback. The best place to begin creating a targeting strategy is the historical data associated with sales and buzz as well as the innate branding within the foundation of the original business plan. From there, a solid base for global outreach can be established. When key local demographics are secured, they can serve as building blocks outwards to a wider, yet still targeted network of influencers.
Diversify the networks and listing sites that the business is on. A global audience will not always be found on the same networks as an American one. While certain networks, such as Facebook have a strong international user base, there are many sites that are popular in target countries that bear investigating for a brand trying to break into new markets. Perform market research to determine if it is worth investing in parallel social and ad networks in other countries. The great thing about claiming foreign listings is that they are often free, and some can be monitored from CRM suites, allowing for the expansion of a digital presence to be made relatively simple and easy to standardize.
Create face to face networks that carry your message overseas. The importance of person to person communication in business is great, but in particular for small businesses that are trying to straddle continental divides, the time that they invest in strengthening bonds with foreign partners is essential for building a healthy base for word of mouth referrals. Word of mouth is one of the major contributors to the growth of a small business, so ensuring that business partners who are in your local area take a positive report back with them overseas is essential. Staying in touch with these connections via services such as linkedin and following up with pertinent information in order to make sure the relationship moves forward and that expectations are met is of the utmost importance.
Photo Credit to Kenneth Lu on Flickr