How to Improve Your Small Business’ International Performance
February 23, 2018
If your small business is active in international trade, you’re already familiar with the challenges it can bring.
Working with suppliers or clients from another country means a whole lot of hassle from unfamiliar regulations, logistics, payments, and much more.
By now, you’ve figured out most of it and have developed a working routine for your operations. You’re doing OK. But would you like to do even better?
Check out our tips and take your small business’ international performance to the next level.
Be Aware of Cultural Differences
Are you irritated by your Italian supplier frequently interrupting you? You can’t fathom why it takes ages for your Greek business partners to reach a decision when your Dutch counterparts can say “yes” or “no” on the spot?
Even if you’ve worked with your international business partners for a while, you may not be fully aware of the differences between your respective business cultures.
Believe it or not, these are not personality traits but cultural differences. Each country (and in larger, more complex countries, each region) has its own quirks when it comes to business culture.
Each country (and in larger, more complex countries, each region) has its own quirks when it comes to business culture.
By the way, this is true for us as well. US business people (including you) act in certain ways when negotiating, all because of our own business culture.
Understanding why your international business partners act the way they do will give you tremendous insight into what makes them tick. This will help you negotiate better deals and build stronger business relationships.
Read our comprehensive international business guides and find out everything about the business culture (and much more) of the country you’re working with.
Find Your Target Audience
Just like at home, you need to know your target market inside and out. However, getting to know what customers in a distant part of the world like is a lot more difficult than having clients around the corner.
Luckily, doing international market research has never been easier. You have a lot of options: social media, email marketing tools, and even US trade organizations are more than willing to help you get to know your customers.
You can also try the Market Finder tool by Google. It’s quite simple: you type your keywords into the search bar and name the country you’re exporting to. The Market Finder tests the web traffic of your chosen market for your keywords, providing you with data about how “hot” that topic is at the moment.
Translate Your Website
Although English is fairly ubiquitous in most parts of the world, translating your website to the language of your target market goes a long way. How so, you ask?
Bear in mind that when your international customers are looking for products, they type their keywords into the search engine in their own language. If your website is only in English, the search engine will never pick it up.
Consider this. Today, the language of over 50% of all websites is English. If you translate your website to virtually any other language, you have a higher chance of being picked up by search engines, since competition is far less fierce in that language. Handy, huh?
If you translate your website to virtually any other language, you have a higher chance of being picked up by search engines, since competition is far less fierce in that language.
One more thing: don’t forget to optimize your translated website to the keywords your target customers are searching for.
As an added bonus, translation builds trust. If customers see that you’re making the effort to communicate with them in their own language, they’ll have a good feeling about you.
Good feelings are exactly what turn people into customers.
Streamline Your Payments
If you’ve tried to pay your international suppliers or get paid via wire transfer, you know that it’s a painful experience.
Paying wire fees and waiting around for transfers to arrive is not a good option for US small business.
Veem creates a direct connection between you and your recipient, eliminating all middlemen and their hidden fees and unexpected delays.
Due to a unique multi-rail technology, Veem sends your money through the most cost-effective route, saving you both time and money.
In addition, Veem charges 0 wire fees and offers competitive foreign exchange rates.
What’s not to love?
Sign-up for a free Veem account and enjoy the international transfers of the future.
You need 7 tools to master international trade. Find out what they are.