Opening an International Office: Checklist for Global Expansion

Opening an international office doesn’t happen overnight. If your business is ready to expand to foreign markets, it is important to evaluate your current strategy, and determine how it will translate in another country.

This checklist for global expansion is a guide for expanding your business and growing your brand worldwide.

Opening an International Office: Checklist for Global Expansion

Evaluate Your Company’s Readiness

There are two approaches to this step.  Traditionally, businesses decided that it was the “right” time for global expansion if they had already saturated the market in their home country.   While this is still a good question to ask yourself, your business will also want to consider whether or not there are better opportunities in other countries.  If research suggests that your company might find more success in international locations, then it’s appropriate to skip over untapped portions of your domestic market in favor of new opportunities.

Research Country-Specific Rules and Regulations

Every country has different rules when it comes to taxes, employment requirements, benefits, and even business registration.  Before you make the leap and move into an international market, do your research.  Find out exactly what your business needs to do to operate successfully overseas, and take the time to see how much these steps will cost you.

Change Your Pitch

Regardless of how successful your pitch has been in your domestic market, it is important to re-evaluate your messaging when you enter the international arena.  As you prepare to take this step, take the time to research your new audience and find out what makes the average customer in your new market tick.  During this investigative period, you’ll also want to explore potential competitors in your target market.

Once you understand the needs of your new target demographic and the status of any potential competitors, you can begin working on a tailored pitch that will help you succeed in an international market.

Determine Your Hiring Processes

This is one of the most important elements of opening an international office; after all, the people that you employ are often just as important as the product or service that you provide.  So, will you choose to relocate your U.S. employees to your overseas office, or recruit local workers?  And if you choose to hire locally, how do you plan to interview potential hires?

For most companies pursuing global expansion, hiring local workers is a much more cost-effective option.  In addition to the question of cost, employees who are already familiar with the local area and market can be an invaluable asset to your team.  However, it is important to take the individual needs and processes of your business into account before you make this important decision.

Do You Really Need a Physical Location Abroad?

If your business has a strong online presence, then you might not need to open a physical location to follow your dreams of global expansion.  You may decide that your company would benefit from entering the market virtually.

With international toll free numbers and local numbers, you can build your business almost anywhere in the world.  This solution is often ideal for companies that have decided to go global, but don’t have a physical office in their target markets.  Toll free numbers that come with additional VoIP system features, such as call forwarding and call recording, make it simple and cost-effective for your business to connect with international customers anytime, anywhere.

If you decide that you do need to open an international office, there are several options available to you.  For example, you can rent a shared office for a few months to determine if the area works for your business.  This will also help you build a local client base without the expense of a pricey lease.

If your business is ready to jump in right away, you can contact a United States-based real estate company that has locations in the country where you are opening an international office.  They’ll know all the details about the area, and be able to help you find the best fit for your business.

Resources for Opening an International Office

As you can see, the launch of an international office can be a complex process.  This checklist for global expansion can help you gather the information and resources you need to make a successful entrance into international markets.

Explore our additional resources for high-growth businesses: