13 Ways to Determine What Global Markets Fit Your Business Model

Tips on Deciding Where to Expand Internationally

For any organization, no matter the size, going global is a major decision that can either make or break your business. If done right, expanding internationally can bring significant success and profit and be a driving force for your company’s continued growth. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, are keen on benefiting from the opportunities a new market presents. According to FedEx research, 65 percent of small businesses that are trading overseas have seen exponential revenue growth. But before deciding to enter a new market, organizations have to identify what that market is, based on the services they provide and their target audience. That’s why we’ve asked 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“How can you best identify where you should be specifically expanding internationally based on your business model?”

Tips on Deciding Where to Expand Internationally

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Talk to Locals

“When we expand into a new international region, many factors go into the decision. One thing we’ve found very helpful is talking to locals and spending time on the ground if possible to get a feel for the area. Sometimes all the data trends in the world can’t tell you if a market will accept your business, but talking to people can reveal all sorts of valuable insights about the market.” ~ Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

2. Start with Similar Markets

“Initially it will be helpful for you to start with markets that are similar to yours currently. If you’re in the UK, the next logical branching point would be Canada and the U.S. For Americans, it helps to hire a local consultant in the market you are considering expanding to. A good consultant will have enough insight into your product’s relevance and fit for that market.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

3. Research Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to query different search terms by geography. If you know which keywords lead to your product, you may want to check which countries look up these words the most. This should be a strong indicator for you to determine where to expand next.” ~ Ariel Assaraf, Coralogix

4. Let Social Media Be a Guide

“I run a platform connecting great public speakers with organizations that want to book them. Due to the nature of platform businesses, it’s best if supply and demand for a given area are somewhat equal. Therefore, we used social media to see where interest was coming from for both speakers and organizations. Looking at comments, likes, and follows, it was clear we needed to expand to Nigeria.” ~ Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

5. Follow Customer Demand

“We rely heavily on consumer demand based on what the current buying trend is. Our marketing style makes the most of the various social media platforms because we target millennials who tend to buy products online more. While we check on the data on a weekly basis, we also never fail to see what our competitors are up to and determine if it’s feasible to incorporate it in our marketing programs.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

6. Use Big Data

“Use your own data and available data from other sources to identify the markets that have the most demand for what you offer and then see if you can align your infrastructure and resources to enter and serve those markets. Start with one market and grow from there to get the basics down.” ~ Zach Binder, Ranklab

7. Ask Industry Experts

“Industry experts will often have insights or inclinations about where the market is heading in your specific space. Find them online, and ask them. Then verify their opinions with other thought leaders. If enough people are saying the same thing, then it’s time to move!” ~ Krish Chopra, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations

8. Listen to Your Customers

“When looking for the right market to expand to, use your logs to know where there is interest for your product. Either by analyzing traffic data or sales history, find out which countries are already displaying interest in what you have to offer. If your analytics show a higher rate of traffic in a particular territory, consider going after it. It will be easy when your customers already need you.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

9. Choose Countries with Stable Economies

“The country should be high in your target market, and should have a great percentage of smartphone use for marketing purposes. The English language should have at least some presence in the country as well. Choose countries with stable economies and with convenient ways to set up your business — meaning, not a lot of regulation.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

10. Check Your Analytics

“I think international growth should occur organically. If you have a product that has enough reach to enter foreign markets, you’ll come to this realization via an examination of the analytics at your disposal. If you see increased traffic coming from IP addresses across the pond, in either direction, drill down and see whether that market is worth an initial investment. If so, tread slowly.” ~ Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam

11. Determine Your Reason for Expanding

“Typically, companies enter new markets for two reasons: 1) To access a customer base; 2) To access a specific capability required by their business – for example, labor or natural resources. How you enter that market depends on your reasons for doing so. If you want local customers, establish sales teams on the ground, but if you are only after labor, you can work with a local partner to accelerate.” ~ Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote

12. Look for Gaps

“Look for gaps. For example, under-served markets or markets that are getting a trend late. Have a short list and then conduct research on all options. Do things such as taking to locals, researching culture and business practices, and don’t assume you know what they want. If you can test the waters before taking the leap then definitely look to do that first.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

13. Leverage Partner Relationships

“Working with partners is an effective strategy both for penetrating new verticals and expanding internationally. Keeping an open line of communication with our partners enables us to identify new strategic markets to break into and localize our efforts to drive business growth. Like many organizations, partners play a role in our growth and success.” ~ Neill Feather, SiteLock, LLC

International Expansion Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.