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Small Businesses and the Global Marketplace
09 December 2013

Starting a business is an undoubtedly a massive commitment and involves huge amounts of organisation. When starting out, inexperience and trepidation may mean that you just market locally or within the UK, targeting your products or services solely in these areas. However, once grown in confidence, the next step for many business owners is to take their business to the international stage and market to the wider world, thus opening up new opportunities and hopefully increasing profit. There are a few things you will need to consider and do in order to take your business international without any problems.


Finances


Taking your business to a new platform will involve some level of investment in order to reap the benefits. To establish whether you are in a good position to do this you might like to check your credit reports with a company like Experian CreditExpert and work out how much you can afford to invest in your business. A credit report will allow you to see your outstanding debts, to help you to gauge your affordability and your lending prospects. Also look at projections for the potential return of going international. If your money would be better spent broadening horizons in the UK then avoid the hassle of the worldwide marketplace and build your business at home first.


International businesses need to be able to keep their books in order when dealing in more than one currency and with varying exchange rates.  The alternative is to insist on all transactions being carried out in GBP, which could exclude some potential customers.


 


Legal


There will be different legal issues you will need to address when operating internationally depending on the type of business you are offering. If your business sells physical goods, you will need to look at import laws and taxation in the countries you are selling to.


If your business is service based, you will need to check the local laws of your clients, to ensure you are covered in case of any lawsuit. You will also want to make sure you have a case should a client fail to pay or cause you any damages either to your property or reputation. You will need to read up on any differences in the laws surrounding your particular area of expertise - for example, if you work with pensions in the UK you’ll need to have a good grasp of the different rules for expats. 


 


Online


The easiest way to take a business to a global stage is via the Internet. A dot com domain is most useful for international businesses, as dot co dot uk domains are unknown beyond UK borders. Depending on the target market, it may also be wise to invest in translation services so that your product can be accessible to all. If you will be taking payments online, you will need to ensure your payment merchant can handle transactions from different types of card and different currencies worldwide.


Trading on the international marketplace is a logical next step for many UK only businesses. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly, and you should do in-depth market research into the different countries you intend to trade in. Only once you have all the information and safe guards in place should you start to take your business to the wider world and go global!

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