Once you hit a certain level of success in your AV business, it’s natural to explore the possibility of expanding. But should you go from local to national? Multi-national? Global?
Maybe you have clients with offices around the world who have planted the seed that expanding overseas would be profitable for your company. After all, China and other countries in the Far East are particularly attractive and rich with opportunity.
But taking your company to a new location requires more than a mastery of the logistics.
Think of expanding your business like scaling a mountain. From a distance, it seems doable, but when you get to the trailhead, it’s often harder than you realized. You know numerous people have climbed it before, but not everyone made it successfully. Successful climbers likely excelled because of their specific preparations and their patience in waiting for the right conditions.
Scaling your business in regards to expansion requires the same. Before you move ahead, stop and examine why you want to go global:
Is it really the best move for your business?
Are you ready to make the changes necessary to make expansion successful?
Or does expanding your business just seem like a natural next step?
Ask yourself these two questions to find out if global expansion is right for you:
1. Are You Prepared to Go “Glocal”?
Expanding your business to another country isn’t a copy-paste operation.
For starters, you can’t transfer the personality of your domestic office to your foreign office. It just doesn’t work.
Other countries have different ways of doing business. Their business models function differently. They have different ways of thinking. They speak differently (even if you speak the same language). They even view entertainment differently.
While each of these distinctions drastically affect how you do business overseas, arguably the most important variation lies in how we build relationships. There’s a difference between our perspective of business relationships in the United States vs. anywhere else in the world. In the States, we do business together, then maybe we’ll build a relationship. In most of the rest of the world, that approach doesn’t work. You build relationships first, then maybe you’ll do business together.
Currently, your structures and processes are designed for a North American point-of-view. If you decide to take your company outside of the United States, you have to set it up to accommodate the business culture of your new location. Instead of replicating your company in other places, you need to be ready to set up a company that functions based on local ways of doing business. You have to be ready to go “glocal.”
2. Have You Fully Captured the Market Share in Your Existing Location?
Maybe you’re not looking to expand globally, but you would like to open another branch in the US or Canada. Before you move forward, start with the why.
What’s the purpose of expanding? What are you going to get out of a new office that you can’t get at your current location?
Maybe you say, “There are great markets in this new place.”
But before you replicate your business elsewhere, ask yourself: Have I really captured all of the market share here?
If not, you still have work to do. It’s a lot less expensive and risky to finish expanding in your own market. Consider the infrastructure changes you’ll have to make when you expand. There are different labor laws in different states.
Have you thought through it all? Isn’t it more attractive to finish the work you have where you are?
Eventually you may answer this question differently. When you’ve captured the full potential of your market, by all means, consider expansion. But before you move to a different time zone, explore the opportunities right in front of you.
Never Stop Asking Questions
Is now the right time to expand your business? It’s okay if the answer is “not yet.” Continue to inquire about opportunities to expand your organization, but don’t move ahead until you answer the tough questions.
The time to branch out may be in the near future. The more honestly you evaluate where you stand in your growth and potential, the more prepared you’ll be to expand when the time is right.