Did you know that there are new markets just waiting for your product or service to come to them? The catch is that they might not be within the U.S. border. This semester I had the opportunity to listen to first-hand accounts of how entrepreneurs are entering new markets all around the world. Through extensive research and the creation of my own international expansion plan, I have learned that there are many factors that should be considered when expanding abroad.
First, you must choose a country that you think might contain the right type of customers. If you already have an operational business in the U.S., then you want to find customers similar to the ones that are already buying your product or service. To find these customers you can start by using sites like the U.S. Embassy and the C.I.A. Factbook. These sites will provide you with general information that will allow you to start getting a feel for the type of customers that could be there and the needs that they might have.
Once some countries get on your list you want to start getting connected to people that live there. Thankfully, Facebook and LinkedIn have made it possible for these types of connections to be made relatively easily. Just imagine having to find a potential customer or business partner in the past without any internet. LinkedIn in particular gives you lots of information about a person before you even reach out to them. You can also look through the profiles of people you are already connected with to see if they have any ties to the country you are interested in doing business with, this will give you the benefit of having a warm introduction to the person you want to get connected with. Strategically I think that it is best to connect with individuals that are already well-connected with institutions such as universities and well-established corporations. Universities enable you to get connected with faculty and even students that would be able to help you do research on the problem you are trying to solve and the market you want to target.
In addition to gathering lots of data about the customer you will be trying to reach, there are four main categories of data that you should be striving to collect. These categories are political, economic, sociocultural, and technological, otherwise known as a PEST analysis. Within the PEST analysis you could ask questions such as:
How politically stable is the country?
What relationship do they have with the United States?
Do your target customers have the buying power necessary to purchase your product or service?
Are they potentially entering an economic downturn any time soon?
How do people in this market view products from companies based in the United States?
Culturally how do they view the problem your company will be trying to solve for them?
Are the universities working on developing any innovative technology?
Compared to the U.S. are they more or less advanced?
The development of your business in another country could be a very lucrative opportunity that solves many other people’s pain points. If you have done your research and have a team that is ready to take on the challenge, then the probability that your company succeeds in this venture will be greatly increased. Good luck expanding abroad!
About the Author
Brian Garrido is currently studying finance and entrepreneurship at UNLV, while aspiring to create his own business. He plans on going to graduate school to continue his education, and is always on the lookout for interesting ways to help out his community.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.