5 Global Expansion Tricks for the Ambitious Entrepreneur
Allan Watson outlines his 5 Global Expansion Tricks for the Ambitious Entrepreneur.
Your company may only have three employees and be headquartered in your parents' home, but that doesn't mean you can't dream about globalization.
Expanding your startup globally is an entrepreneur's dream that you cannot ignore, what with all of us living in an increasingly connected world. Here is a list of five global expansion tricks that will pique your ambitions and propel you towards the path of startup superstardom.
1. Outsource your call center and supercharge your CRM efforts
Outsourcing a call center comes with numerous benefits, some of which you never knew existed!
Among them are:
● Frees up your time so that you can train your staff to focus on other tasks. These call center agents are extremely well-versed in handling both existing and potential customers - all they need are your specific instructions and requirements.
● Global outreach domination can be yours! Not only can outsourced call center agents handle your customers around the clock, they can speak their language too no matter what part of the world they come from.
● No need to worry about compliance issues. Your outsourced call center agents are constantly updated when it comes to current telemarketing and customer service rules and regulations. Be sure to pick a trustworthy firm with a commendable track record.
You may be surprised to know that even law firms place high trust on call centers to answer their phones, so why not your company?
2. Build your social media presence
These days, every man and his uncle has a Facebook page advertising their business. But then again, you're not just any other man in the street, are you? What you need is a sound strategy in building a strong social media presence that will provide your startup expansion plans with a huge boost.
Benefits of building a strong social media presence include:
● Creating the foundation of a strong reputation and credibility
● Fostering relationships and connecting with relevant influencers that will help expand your network
● Gaining invaluable feedback on your offerings from customers
Some of the more notable apps that can help support your efforts include (but are not limited to):
1. Hootsuite: Considered one of the best social media management and monitoring tools that has a relatively short learning curve, Hootsuite makes it easy for almost anyone to master.
2. Mention: A handy social media monitoring app, Mention lets startups monitor their what people are saying about their brand. Company team members can then quickly react and plan the next step.
3. TweetReach: Ever got overwhelmed by the Twitter stream? Well, don't be. With apps like TweetReach, you can easily see how far your tweets travel and listen in on conversations about your brands.
If you truly want to capture the hearts and minds of other people in your plans for expansion, you may want to look into these techniques:
● Localize your website. Fully localized websites will allow locals to warm up to your brand easily.
● Make your content global-friendly. In other words, translate it. The best way is to get native-speakers to translate your content. Leverage from a pool of freelancers for maximum cost-effectiveness.
● Reconsider your products and marketing. Thorough market research is a necessity just so you'll be privy to the foreign market's tastes and expectations. Also, be aware of marketing strategies that seem out of place - you certainly don't want to be remembered for cross-cultural marketing efforts gone wrong. One famous blunder was when Heineken had all the qualifying World Cup 1994 country flags imprinted under their bottle cap. One of these flags was the Saudi Arabia flag, which includes a holy Islamic verse. As you can already imagine, this created an angry reaction from Muslims who were incensed to discover that holy verse was associated with alcohol.
4. Be a cheapskate. CloudFlare was famously known for rivalling Facebook in terms of unique users per month (they took only a little over a year to reach 400 million unique hits a month where Facebook took over five years to do so). The company's CEO, Matthew Prince, urged startups to cut as much cost as they can and pass on the savings to their customers. You can start by:
● Sticking to your budget. Put it down in black and white, using pen and paper, whatever it takes for you to create a formal budget that will help you manage your finances better. Also, don't forget to pay yourself a reasonable salary. If you don't, you're taking business funds elsewhere to pay for your living expenses, and that just won't do.
● Flexibility pays. The key here is to give and take. If you don't absolutely need a large office space, then don't do it.
Even if you are thinking about expanding, do so at a pace that's comfortable to you and your budget.
Short-term solutions like hiring freelancers who work remotely from home may just be the thing to fuel your expansion.
● Hire an accountant-cum-business adviser. Don't hide your losses and profits - be transparent and seek guidance. In other words, be conscious of your numbers.
5. Be notoriously fair
Companies like CloudFlare and MindValley are known to trustworthy and dependable, but above all, they're well-loved by their employees. CloudFlare asks their staff how much money it would need for them to live, and the company pays them exactly that. Before you think about expanding globally, you may want to think about those who are closer at home.
Valuing and rewarding employees will earn your company a positive reputation that'll be hard to break.
Allan Watson worked for almost 7 years in internet marketing before striking out on his own. While he is trained in SEO and social media techniques, the entrepreneurship bug has led him to study small business growth trends in detail.
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