There are times when entrepreneurs and business leaders like you hit a rut while in the process of growing a business.
Maybe your business-to-business (B2B) company has been limited by the situation in your local market, or maybe you’ve simply just reached your initial goals and are now looking for new challenges. Should any of these be the case for your business, then maybe it’s time for you to consider looking outward and going global.
Rather than be limited by your current situation, you can instead find new opportunities for growth overseas. Thanks to technology and globalization it’s become easier and easier to conduct cross-border business with parties from all over the world.
Here are three ways you can go global with your B2B business:
1 – Build a Distributed Workforce
You can bolster your workforce by engaging professionals from all over the world. If you’re in an industry that can function remotely and your business relies mainly on human resources, you should explore the notion of going global with your hiring. World-class talent can be found in different countries. The pandemic is also forcing companies to rely on remote work anyway and technology has surely made distributed workforces possible, so why not tap an infinitely wider talent pool? Certain companies such as InVision are run on a completely distributed model with no head office.
For a speedy entry into a specific country, you can engage a professional employment organization (PEO) to help you hire workers. The PEO basically handles the hiring and payroll of foreign-based workers while you have full authority over their day-to-day tasks. For example, in China, where there are complex labour laws and stringent regulations for establishing foreign enterprises, a China PEO can streamline the process and level the playing field for SMEs. In time, you may have to transition from a PEO to payroll model by formally establishing a branch or office. It might be a lengthier process, but it will allow you to grow your workforce and even nurture a market or customer base. Many companies find this an eventuality especially when they find real success from their foreign-based workforce.
2 – Tap Global Supply Chains
You may want to grow your business by expanding your product offerings. Businesses as clients also have evolving needs and you may find opportunity by being the one to readily meet their demands through an expanded offering.
Whether you’re looking for actual finished products to sell or materials to use in your manufacturing, you can simply go on to any of the many aggregator platforms like Alibaba and Bizbilla and find potential suppliers. Many of these suppliers can source goods directly from factories so you can expect them to be quite cheap.
Shipping and logistics have also become faster and more affordable so that products from halfway around the world can be delivered directly to your office or factory’s doorstep in a matter of days. Many of these suppliers even have e-commerce channels and can accept a variety of payment methods such as online fund transfers and even digital wallets, making transactions straightforward.
3 – Explore Niche Markets
Aside from workers and supplies, you can also build new markets in different countries. Perhaps your products can be considered novelty or niche in other countries, then you may want to consider exporting them or even selling them directly online. The pandemic hasn’t dampened demand for exotic products, so it might be worthwhile for you to try to find potential new partners to engage who may be interested in what you offer either directly or in acting as your distributor.
If you are a service provider, you may also be able to find companies whose needs mirror those of your existing clients. Many global businesses are now quite comfortable engaging B2B companies even if the interaction is conducted remotely. You can definitely leverage the availability of communication and collaboration tools to be able to reach out to customers and work with them.
How to Go About It
While these are opportunities worth considering, be sure to consider that there will still be some effort required. It pays to do your homework before formalizing any new relationship or entering into binding agreements. Knowing the regulations concerning how companies like yours can legally transact with businesses based in your target country should help you do things above board.
You should also check the current political and economic climate. You wouldn’t want to be reliant on workers or suppliers from volatile regions as any untoward developments can surely cause disruption to your operations. Understanding the culture and the language should also help you navigate some of the nuances of how to effectively do business with parties from across borders. This way, you will be able to build a trustworthy network consisting more easily of parties that you can readily depend on.
It’s also important to build a supportive infrastructure to help you manage your global efforts. Fortunately, cloud computing and the internet have made it quite easy to communicate and coordinate efforts even if your workers and partners are geographically distributed. Collaboration tools that allow your teams to be productive while working remotely are now widely available. Invest in the right tools that would make this possible.
Reap the Rewards
When done right, going global will can quantitatively speed up your B2B business growth. You can enjoy a diverse workforce consisting of the best talent that you can find. It’s also possible to lower your costs. Cost of living differs from country to country; you may be able to hire great people at a lower cost than what you’d spend onshore and still offer them a large premium over their local rates. Likewise, sourcing directly from manufacturers can trim your cost of goods and give you better margins to work with.
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