Most entrepreneurs began like this…
They found themselves looking at other successful entrepreneurs living the dream life in an exotic country while staring out the window of their apartment building in a crowded city.
Slowly but surely gathering courage and inspiration to chase the same dream.
Researching ways to start a business overseas…
…and then they suddenly woke up with a feeling of “I’m doing it!”. And that’s all she wrote. Now you’ll probably see them floating at the top of their industry.
However, building a successful business abroad isn’t simply a stroke of luck. Your favorite entrepreneurs didn’t centralize their business idea around just anything that seemed profitable at the time.
They knew better and didn’t rely on luck but rather their dedication, passion, love, motivation, and willingness to face the risks and overcome them.
Did you already figure out how you’re going to launch your business in a foreign country?
Don’t worry if you haven’t!
I’ve made a list of 7 essential things in order to help you successfully launch and develop your own business overseas!
1) Ask yourself “Why”
Starting your own business might be an intimidating uphill ladder to climb but many have gone and done it before you. Being constantly rejected after job interviews will take its toll and drain your self-belief.
As mentioned in the intro, starting a successful business doesn’t come easy, heck starting a business at all isn’t easy. That means you must be heavily motivated and believe for 200% in yourself and in your business in order to succeed.
When you’re starting a business as a last resort, you’re already down 2 points.
Dig deep – and I mean really deep. Find the true answer to why you want to start a business. Once you can answer that, it’s ready to go to the next step.
2) Let’s Nail It Down
You might already own a business in your home country but want to re-brand and introduce it overseas in a new market. For the sake of this list, I’m assuming you don’t have a business yet. First off, it would be pointless to reinvent the wheel.
Here’s the catch:
Try to find an idea that is already available on the market and simply improve it! For example, I developed an idea and started my own business in my last year at the University.
At the time, it was mandatory to do a 6 months internship abroad. I decided to do my internship in Asia, Indonesia to be specific. In Indonesia, it’s quite hard to find a company that’s willing to provide an internship due to all the paperwork etc. That’s why there are various agencies offering a service that will land you an internship.
However, I was very dissatisfied with how things were handled. It was poorly put together from start to finish and I had to take care of so many things myself. I thought I can do this but way better.
Based on that experience, I decided to start my own internship agency, offering internships in Indonesia for a fixed fee and my agency would take care of paperwork, housing, airport pickup, visa documents, and a few extras.
Look around you, think about this example and maybe you’ll get an awesome idea to improve an already existing product or service.
3) Business Plan
Some business plans are never ending documents of countless of pages with expectations, calculations, assumptions, market trends, fluctuations, what’ll happen in 2, 3, or 5 years, and so on.
It’s simply too much.
Too much information. It will take way too much time and effort, and for what? It’s nearly impossible to predict what your budget or revenue will be estimated at in 3 or 5 years. I read the “$100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau” and I highly recommend it! Chris shows a great example of a “one-page business plan” that covers:
- What are you selling
- What is the value of your product or service
- Who is going to buy it
- How are you going to find customers
- How much will you charge
- What are you going to do to make it happen
That’s all. Try to answer all these questions. It’s not as easy as you might think.
4) Target Market
Let’s quickly flashback to one point in the previous section: your potential customers.
When thinking about your potential target market, try to really nail it down as specific as you can. For example, when you sell waist trainers for women, don’t just target all women.
Narrow it down by targeting women who are interested in a healthy lifestyle, gym, fitness, body shape, losing weight, etc.
You get my point.
Furthermore, you want to target a very specific target audience through social media campaigns also. The better you are able to narrow down your audience, the better the results are.
It’s better to reach a small group who you know will be interested in your product or service instead of targeting a large group who might not be interested at all.
Finally, test and analyze your own campaigns. Develop an A/B testing strategy and to optimize your campaigns and utilize your full potential.
5) Pricing Strategy
You don’t want to charge too much, yet you don’t want to charge too little. Be realistic and recognize a fair price for your product or service that people are willing to pay for it.
This also means, if you’re offering something of great value, don’t be afraid to price it accordingly!
Set realistic goals and calculate how much you need to sell quarterly/monthly or weekly in order to break-even or surpass your goal. Again, be realistic, this is important. Calculate any overhead costs such as delivery and/or any other incurred costs, it’s not rocket science.
Update and revise your financial overviews every month.
6) Startup Capital
When you’re just starting out, you want to keep the costs as low as possible. Be creative and be careful with spending money. Don’t rent expensive equipment or a fancy office at a premium location if that is not directly affecting the success rate of your business.
When I first started my business, I moved to Indonesia with just one suitcase and my laptop. My room was a very simple one-bedroom apartment with a shared kitchen.
If I wasn’t driving around visiting companies, I was either working from home or a local cafe. Much, later on, I decided to rent an office.
Do you need extra starting capitals and you can’t reach it alone? Explore your options among crowdfunding websites. It’s a great solution to raise a certain investment and you can even invite friends, family or old business partners to support your business idea. One of the most famous crowdfunding platforms is Kickstarter.
7) It’s Time For Action!
Your business idea can be great, awesome, or incredible. Yet, without customers, your business won’t stay around for long.
It’s a follow-up on section 4 – your target audience. When you’ve been able to pinpoint who your potential customers are, it’s now time for action! The most important thing is to get started. It doesn’t really matter where or how – just do it. Don’t overthink it too much.
Create a list of companies or individual prospects who might be interested in your product or service and go after them. Call them, visit them, email them.
Try to build a network and constantly expand. Schedule social media ad campaigns to raise brand awareness, engagement or following.
Are you still sitting in that chair, in your apartment building, in the crowded city?
I know I’m repeating myself here but it’s the most important thing to start your own business: It’s time to get out from that chair and take action. Nothing is going to happen if you don’t get started! Hopefully, this list will push you in the right direction.
Did you already experience how it is to start your own business? What were your biggest challenges?
Let us know in the comments below!