With its well-deserved reputation for expense, trouble, and inconvenience, international expansion is a scary concept for most small businesses owners. When combined with the right expansion plan, however, global growth can now be affordable for almost anyone, on any budget–and your business may not even have to relocate. Impossible? It used to be, but recent advances in telecommunications have opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for ambitious entrepreneurs. Read on to discover how to expand internationally on a small business budget, and why expansion is the right choice for you.
Expanding internationally is one of the best ways to gain recognition for your brand. If you think that your service or product is too insignificant to market on a world scale, you’re underselling yourself, and the truth may well be the exact opposite. It is often the case that small businesses competing against major box stores and popular U.S. name brands can find their niche in the global market. For example, businesses selling green products have only a small earth-friendly clientele in the U.S., but the go-green trend in Europe offers a prime market opportunity for U.S. green business go-getters. Even China is now undergoing a green revolution, with 81% of consumers willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly product. Take a moment to think about the potential of your product. Is is getting the appreciation it deserves? Is it really suited to the U.S. market, or is there a niche for it somewhere else in the world? Don’t let international borders limit your expansion. It may well be that the key to your success lies beyond your horizons.
So you think that your business can achieve international success, but you’re worried that such a major enterprise will prove out of the reach of your small business budget? Well, put your worries away, because it’s actually possible to gain international customers without opening an international store front. How? The key lies in modern communications technology. Instead of relocating, you can create a virtual international store front by using a combination of web and phone technology. Try using the following three steps to begin building your international presence:
Start out by building a web presence to showcase your product for customers all over the world. Developing your own webpage is important, but don’t underestimate the power of social media either. Build and maintain Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram business accounts to direct international customers to. If your brand is well-represented online, you’re one step closer to your global consumers.
You can create a virtual store front by activating a dedicated international 800 number. Dedicated international 800 numbers are free for your international customers to call, and can be tailored to reflect international area codes. For example, if you think that there’s a niche for your business in China, you can create a phone number with a Chinese area code that actually forwards to your regular US business phone–or even your mobile phone or tablet. This method helps to make global customers more comfortable with your business by creating the impression of an international geographic presence.
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Up-to-speed customer service is of exceptional importance in world-scale business marketing, and since your global customers are not able to visit your physical store front, you must cater to all service needs through your telecommunications system. If you’re currently using a basic one or two line service, or extra adding lines and extensions on your system is expensive, working through a Hosted PBX telecommunications service is the best step you can take. Hosted PBX works hand-in-hand with your dedicated international 800 number to provide the kind of communications scalability that every growing business needs. Virtual PBX is third-party hosted, so you don’t have to install any equipment to use it, you simply activate service online and add lines, program forwarding, and customize your automated voice menu as needed. This enables you to avoid long call wait times and provide fast and efficient service to your international customers.
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