The main reason for a company to expand its business internationally, is to gain access to new market opportunities. This can be part of a growth strategy to improve profitability, create new revenue streams, or enhance the company’s reputation.
In addition to a company looking to new markets to expand, international business expansion (IBE) can also occur as a bi-product of a company Merger & Acquisition (M&A) .
Whatever the underlying reasons for IBE, it pays for the company to understand the target market(s). In this post, our team offers insights into what to look out for when considering IBE.
1. Finding the right partner
The main consideration in searching for a partner in the target market(s), is to find a partner who understands local market dynamics, including languages, legal structures & laws. Other considerations to address with the potential partner:
- Are they licensed in their field of business and do they have a robust reputation? References?
- Can they act as an umbrella business services partner for all your company’s business needs, or just one type of service?
- Is it viable to establish a business structure that all parties can work with and that brings desired results and future success?
- Brand perception: Can the company brand be protected when working with an outsourced business services partner?
2. Outsourced Business Services
It is important to clearly consider all the services that may be required when looking to expand internationally. This can cover several areas such as:
- Legal requirements
- HR services including payroll
- Office & work space requirements
- Sales & marketing operations and support
- Customer Relations management
- Reporting and tax compliance
Is working with one business expansion partner preferable even if these have to outsource non-key services? Research and reference clients can be helpful in order to make informed decisions.
3. Market Analysis & Research
Expanding a service or product offer from a standing start in a new market is not for the faint hearted and one reason why many companies that consider international expansion, will look for an M&A partner as the best way to start to expand internationally.
Acquiring an establish company in an expansion target market, which markets similar products or services to the acquiring company, can be a great asset to have from the outset.
Whichever approach is used, independent market research should be conducted. This will allow the following to be qualified:
- Cultural differences & norms
- Competitors and market trends
- Market offer requirements for existing or new products or services
- Language requirements
- Product or service value
- Adaptation requirements
4. Building an International Team
Whether your company intends to conduct an M&A with an existing company in a target market and “inherit” a team of existing specialists or engage a team of remote workers as the starting point to international expansion, it pays to fully understand the target market, staffing nuances, employment law and legalities.
Assembling an international team can also be achieved through partnerships, alliances and direct hiring. However it pays to be fully informed regarding all aspects of employment law and legalities.
The following points are considered to be the most important areas to consider:
- If inheriting an existing team, do all the staff members have legal compliance, permits, employment contracts & insurances according to the law of the target market?
- How difficult or easy is it to release or hire new workers in that market?
- What is the process to review or change existing staff insurances, pension plans etc.
- If creating a new team from scratch, are documented legal and employment processes, rules and regulations available or easily obtainable in English?
- What are the engagement models available and what are the requirements?
- Can the in-market partner handle these types of questions for you?
- What are the legal forms available to engage workers in the target market? Are contract workers preferred over full time employees due to the speed of recruitment and relative ease of concluding contracts?
- Should the hiring and HR management of staff be conducted in-house or outsourced?
5. Time Zone Availability
A final consideration is that of time zones. Acquiring or starting a company in a new market can be an exciting challenge, but when the euphoria settles and early morning or late night Zoom calls become the norm, the euphoria can wear off quickly.
- Is it feasible to have a controlling manager or partner in place in the target market, to handle daily issues and challenges and then who that reports back to HQ on a regular, agreed basis?
International Business Expansion offers great opportunities for those company’s willing to go the extra mile. Accurity PEO HR and Business Consulting Services is here to make your international journey easier. Our experienced international team is ready to take your enquiry.
Accurity is SECO licensed with a 20+ year enviable reputation as a trustworthy, reliable and transparent partner for companies of all sizes including SMEs, contractors and recruitment agents. Our core services include Employer of Record or EOR for contractors and international and domestic clients wishing to engage contractors. We also support international clients with our PEO HR and Business Consulting Services. Our pricing system is fair and transparent. We are based in Switzerland and have excellent local knowledge and connections. Contact our team to see how we can help you.