7 Global Expansion Strategy Mistakes Companies Often Make

September 13, 2021
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What is the role of a global expansion strategy as you grow your business internationally? Many companies make some mistakes in the early stages of their expansion.
How can you ensure that you are not making the same mistakes that others have made before you?
A few common misconceptions can lead you to make the wrong decisions as you expand your profile into other countries.
With a well-designed global expansion strategy, you can avoid these costly mistakes and make your life significantly easier as you move into new markets.

What is a global expansion strategy?

A global expansion strategy is a plan for how a company will enter new markets internationally. It includes various strategic decisions about how the company will position itself in the new markets, including product and service offerings, target customer profiling, and marketing plans.
If you want to successfully achieve your company’s vision for global expansion, you need to approach it strategically.
There are just too many factors for it to be possible to manage the move without a well-crafted global expansion strategy.

Global expansion challenges and why they happen

Too many companies make the mistake of thinking that moving into new markets simply involves selling their products and services abroad. They assume that adding a new market will be an easy way to keep growing their revenue.
Of course, global expansion will certainly improve your revenue if you approach it in the right way. However, you will likely encounter many challenges if you take the wrong approach to global expansion.
When companies fail to approach their expansion strategically from the start, they often omit extra steps and considerations that are necessary to thrive in the new markets.
As well considerations like legal and tax requirements, there are a wealth of cultural differences between markets that can seriously affect how well your products and services will sell abroad. Market dynamics and local perceptions of products like yours will also influence what type of content you need to create.
You can save yourself from many of the challenges that companies face by starting with a solid global expansion strategy…
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7 global expansion strategy mistakes companies often make

Here are 7 common mistakes that companies often make with their global expansion strategy:

1. Not considering global content strategy

Even when companies do plan their global expansion strategy, there is one step they often miss …
Global content strategy.
Here’s the difference between the two terms:
  • Global expansion strategy — This addresses your entire company’s operations in the new global markets.
  • Global content strategy — This addresses how you will adapt and localize your content for the new markets. It helps to ensure that customers in the new markets receive the same quality as those in your home market.
Global content strategy is a vital component in almost every global expansion.

2. Treating languages as countries

A common mistake that companies make is to assume that they can translate content into one language to serve multiple markets. In other words, they consider that markets that speak the same language are the same.
This can lead to a situation where products and their supporting content don’t speak to the needs of either market.
It’s certainly possible to reuse localized content for markets with the same language, but it requires careful consideration and planning.

3. Not centralizing localization where possible

There is a delicate balance to be found when you are working with multiple markets.
On one hand, you need to rely on your people in the local markets to know what’s best for their own market. On the other hand, you want your brand to remain consistent and for the quality of content and products to remain the same both at home and abroad.
A good way to ensure consistency across your markets is to centralize your content localization whilst working closely with your markets to ensure that the content continues to meet their needs.

4. Adapting marketing but not product

You are likely aware that you will need to translate your website in your new international markets. But, companies often forget to consider how much of the product itself should be localized.
A clear example of this is with software products. The user interface (UI) must be localized before people in the new market can use the software. However, many other products also have UI elements or less obvious pieces of content that need to be translated.

5. Expanding globally for the wrong reasons

very common mistake in global expansion is expanding for the wrong reasons.
For example, companies often think of global expansion as being a quick way to boost growth. This is almost always a bad idea as the most effective approach to global expansion is to view it as a long-term growth plan. A well-considered strategy will help you to ensure you are expanding for the right reasons.

6. Preparing as an afterthought

It’s almost never too early to start working on your strategic plans for global expansion. But, you can certainly start preparing too late!
When a company fails to prepare its global expansion strategy soon enough, it becomes harder to respond to the inevitable challenges that occur along the way. This can lead to expensive mistakes that could have been avoided with a bit more planning.
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7. Trying to do everything alone

It can be tempting to try to bootstrap global expansion, especially in the early stages. You think that you will just “work it all out as we go along.”
Investing in some expert advice early on can save you huge amounts of time and budget. For example, we have seen examples among our clients where even a small change in how the company localizes its content has saved them tens of thousands of dollars. This is only possible when you are working with experts who know what they are doing.

Tip: Get your global content strategy in place first

If you are planning your global expansion already, it’s a good idea to get your global content strategy in place first.
By having a content strategy, you will help to ensure that your localization processes will be efficient from the beginning. This can save you a lot of time and budget in the long run.