You’ve undoubtedly picked up on the talk in this space about taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by Brexit. As a British entrepreneur or business owner, now is the time to start a business, expand your existing business or polish your brand for global expansion.
It’s time for all Brands of Britain to confidently take their rightful places as global leaders and to build the brands that have been missing from the world.
This is a pivotal time in history…and in our lives. As Daniel Priestly has said so well,
“You were born to be alive while all this is happening.”
You have a choice; become part of the change movement or stay behind.
How will you respond? How will you evolve your brand strategy so that it’s not only fit for the global market, but appealing to international consumers? How will you find your ideal clients in other countries—the clients who may be more ideal than those within the EU? And how will you do it differently than any other?
These are all questions to answer as you begin to prepare your brand for global trade independence.
Go Global: Where to Start
This all sounds very exciting, and indeed it is. However, this magnitude of change can bring with it misgivings…and even fear.
The best way to quell fears is with information. Knowledge is power, and that’s why I’m taking the time to share these tips for getting started transforming your regional business to a global one:
- Dispense with the notion that small businesses don’t go global. In the past, businesses had to experience significant growth before they expanded into a global market. Now, thanks to the simplification of digital technology, any size business can be a global brand.
- Create a global broadcast strategy. What country or region will you target first? And to where will you expand when that catches on? Remember that the spray-and-pray method never works, and trying to win over the entire world at once falls under that classification.
- Purchase website URLs specific to your target regions. A .uk suffix will not be appropriate if your business is working outside the UK. Consider purchasing general suffixes (.com, .org, .biz) or purchase regionally specific ones. If you’re not certain in which direction your brand will be expanding, purchase them all.
- Research cultural faux-pas. A colour that has a positive connotation in the UK could have a negative one in another country. Meanings can be lost in translation. A business name or strapline could translate into something unrelated to your brand…or could be downright offensive. There will be currency exchanges and dual word meanings. Look into these things for the regions into which you plan to expand, so your brand can make the best impression.
- Know the consumer trends in your new intended markets. Customers in the UK may have been big on social media engagement; however, your new audience may prefer face-to-face interactions. This type of variable can apply to any number of scenarios, so speak to consumers, read regional publications...absorb as much information as possible about your new target audience.
- Will you export or set up manufacturing in the countries where you plan to do business? This is a huge consideration, and the shipping costs and logistics will be different for every brand. Do your homework, or your brand will be caught with its pants down. If you plan to set up shop in any foreign country, be sure to research and consider all HR, legal and tax implications before you do. If you plan to export, know the laws and regulations.
- Make travel considerations. You’ve probably learnt by now that people prefer to buy from people—not faceless corporations. This means that you will have to find ways to make your brand experience personal, even when you can’t be there in person. This might be through a representative, through telepresence or with an expanded travel budget. Surely, global trade independence makes this more challenging, but if you can do it better than the competition, you win.
- Start using web-based, cloud-based software now. This is one of the best ways to communicate and do business…even across borders.
- Set up a system for payment. Your accounts receivables department will take on a whole new hue when your company goes global. And invoice-and-check system may no longer be feasible. Check into services like PayPal, FX International, Moneybookers.com, Xoom.com and Western Union and decide on what you’ll use before that first transaction.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything required for going global. It is, however, a good start for getting your head in the game (and getting a jump on the competition).
If you’re looking for more advice on going global, contact the branding and marketing strategy experts at How to Build a Brand. Or, go straight to our B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp page and register for a boot camp near you—so you can get a jump on shining up your brand for its global debut! Whatever you decide, be sure to join our #BrandBritain group on Facebook.