Expanding a manufacturing business can be an exciting venture, especially when you continue to see upward growth which each passing year. For those who are looking to go international, however, making the leap can be anxiety-producing to say the least. International expansion is always somewhat of a gamble no matter what the industry or space in question happens to be, but there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of things going awry.
Ready to take your manufacturing business overseas? Stick to the following tips for best results.
- Know How Your Business Will Be Affected
No matter how high your ambitions happen to be regarding international expansion, the key thing to understand is that your manufacturing business will be affected by the move in some way—likely in many ways. While it’s certainly not possible to predict the future, you can get a lot of mileage out of planning how your business will be affected by global expansion. Performing market segmentation, gap and SWOT analyses before making plans to “go global” can all be beneficial. The higher your potential risk, the more you should know going into the process of expansion.
- Button-Down Your Finances
Success comes to companies that place great care in managing their finances properly, and this sentiment could not ring more true for businesses looking to take things international. Global financials must be approached with a fine-toothed comb so as to ensure costly mix-ups aren’t made, and there are a number of ways to go about doing so. Hiring a team (not just one person) to focus specifically on accounting is essential, as is holding regular meetings to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
- Focus on Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is beneficial and important regardless of industry, but for manufacturing companies, it’s an absolute necessity. Finding an ERP software suite that speaks to the needs of your organization is going to play a huge role in your international expansion, serving as a sort of central hub of information that can be accessed from team members who are scattered across the globe. Look for a vendor who has helped other companies expand internationally with their software, and don’t hesitate to shop around until you find the right fit.
- Get Your Legalities in Order
Any time you move business operations into a new country, there will be new laws to learn, internalize and follow. Between creating localized commercial documents, reviewing regulations, obtaining certifications and more, there are certainly plenty of steps that must be taken before you can begin moving forward with global operations. As with the financial planning side of international expansion, you may want to hire a legal team to navigate these waters for you.
- Develop a Forecasted Business Plan
When things really begin picking up, it’s time to come up with a solid plan to follow for the foreseeable future. You’ll want to work with someone who can help you develop a 12-month business plan that outlines key performance indicators, includes quarterly reviews and establishes a real-time budget. Once you have metrics to follow, you’ll have a much clearer vision of how things are going mid-expansion.
Once you make the choice to expand your manufacturing business internationally, there’s no turning back. Tread carefully, and enjoy the ride.