Should You Expand Your Small Business Abroad?

Any small business needs to consider how it is going to progress.

A business that provides a very local service may not need to look beyond a small geographical location, but businesses that rely on sales or a variety of services may have the option of launching into foreign markets. 

Is There a Market?

It is important to consider if there is going to be a market for the product or service.  Some research before launching the business elsewhere is essential, as there are many businesses that have folded as a result of poor research. If the product is not in demand, then it will be very hard to make the business a success.  

Those who already have a successful product or service will find it a little easier to expand their business abroad. Being able to reach a wider customer base is one of the major advantages to expansion. It is also a good idea to look at the local culture, as a product which is a success in one country may not catch on if it conflicts with local beliefs or customs.   


Reaching customers around the world is easier now than it has ever been. The internet is now the most popular form of communication and allows businesses to reach a wide audience. Creating a website will tell customers in all areas of the world everything that they need to know about the product or service. More and more websites offer an online shopping service as well, so products can be sold around the clock without the need to keep staff onsite during all hours of the day.

The internet makes international expansion far easier. It may not be necessary to actually travel to other countries to promote a business when much of the marketing can be done online. By having the right team on board to help with the expansion, this can be carried out smoothly. Staff with language skills can be useful to ensure a good standard of customer service.     

Expanding Abroad

If the intention is to actually set up shop in another country, then there are many good reasons for doing so. There are plenty of countries where there is cheap land for sale - ideal for a business looking to start a shop or factory. In many other countries, manufacturing is also cheaper, which is an important consideration for businesses that may be struggling to meet the costs of manufacturing and labour in their country of origin.

It is a good idea to check local authority regulations. There may be a variety of planning laws that need to be adhered to, and taxation will also be a big issue for any business. Many places are now actively encouraging businesses to move to their area of the world, and there are often incentives for doing so, such as tax breaks and assistance with staff recruitment.  

What is very clear in the current economic climate is that businesses need to do whatever it takes to survive. Expansion is an option that most will consider, but it is how that expansion can be carried out that is important.