Are We There Yet? - Careful globalization navigation
Global expansion is all the rage. We are fortunate to live in a global economy and internet is now available as far away as Africa. E-commerce is improving day by day and everyone is looking to get a piece of the international commerce pie.
When we are trying to reach our foreign consumers, we carefully evaluate our ROI (return on investment) but unfortunately, we tend to overlook some important things. Let’s discuss.
No matter the size of your organization, the cost of doing business is priority and that makes you careful when making decisions regarding expansion. You don’t spend money you don’t absolutely have to. This is smart.
Due to these smart decisions, we often see companies start with generic language websites. The languages are carefully chosen for the most bang for their buck but they are not country specific. That isn’t a horrible thing and has the least amount of risk and effort. However, when you grow, you start to see the advantages to gearing your messaging to the specific market and here is where we open the can of worms from a localization and legal perspective.
I don’t anticipate someone completely granularly localizing to every single customer on the planet, especially when they wouldn’t buy your product. I do expect you to protect yourself and be as prepared as possible during your expansion.
There are so many variables: in-house vs. vendor support, languages, imagery, compliance…it can make your head explode.
My advice is to have someone on your side who will always be looking to the future. It is important to remain flexible. The specific work that I do is tailored to your specific growth pace. It is all about risk versus reward.
Here are four things that are helpful to consider:
Avoid Hard Wiring – if your website and internal systems break every time you make an adjustment that is bad business and poor planning. Expect to grow and have a positive attitude towards the success of your organization. You already did great research. However, your technology must remain nimble. You will need to make fast changes to keep up with your customers.
The Human Element – studies are proving that people still want to feel cared about. I take special care to insure you do not insult your customers. I also focus on your international employees and vendors as well. They need to be connected to the main headquarters and the overall vision. These are your ambassadors who represent you and if your communication is diluted or if there isn’t confidence in the brand, there is no way to succeed.
Timing – If you have remained nimble and your communication is clear, then you are able to react quickly. You have heard the term “strike while the iron is hot.” If there is a demand and your customers can get something similar or somehow obtain your product without purchasing it, they will. The real competitor is TIME. This is the new normal. If customers want something and they know it exists, they will not wait.
Downstream Effects/No Afterthoughts – you need people to foresee how the changes made internally will have on your expansion. You can stay focused on the overall project and know that there are people anticipating the adjustments required and where the potential risks are.
Effective globalization consulting will help you to realize your goals without losing site of your vision and your budget. Please check out my website for more info on how you can protect your organization while you expand your reach and operations.