You might have reached a point with your business that you feel the market is saturated. You and your direct competition are starting to erode the market by continuously underbidding each other, setting an unhealthy expectation from the client base they can get more service for less money. In most cases that is not a sustainable business model, as you run out of areas where you can find more efficiency. Especially when services are homogenous in the market, it will be tough to cut through the noise. At a certain point, it becomes extremely difficult for customers to really tell one supplier apart from the other.
If this sounds all familiar, could it be a possible time to expand and look overseas for clients? Find a market that isn’t as saturated as your original stomping ground, but where your services are sorely needed. It sounds like an expensive undertaking, as you assume it involves either load of overseas flights and eventually setting up shop, which comes with a heap of sunk costs. However, if you are creative, it might not cost that much to get going and do business overseas. Here are some thought starters to help you put your ambitious hat on.
If your business requires a lot of face-to-face contact, consider using Skype or Hangouts. You will be surprised by how many prospective clients are okay with this as a replacement to meeting in person. And most people don’t mind holding conversations in English, if the important documents and agreements are either explained more thoroughly or in their native language. If the latter is the case, consider using translation services such as International Language Services, Inc. Once you have completed your first assignment to satisfaction in a country, you build up the credentials for the next contract.
With translation services in hand, you could also look at making sure your marketing assets are up to scratch. Getting your website translated and getting a local domain name is an excellent first step to set you up. You might even want to promote your business locally as well. Consider utilizing some standard paid search and display ads. With minimal effort, you can get your name in front of many potential customers. Offer up free initial consultations and/or audits, and you will get a solid lead if you keep at it.
And when you start getting the business through the door, consider getting some freelance support locally. This is something to think through as it has many benefits longer term properly. If you can control the quality of the product and service delivered, you can start building up a team of resource you can call upon in the future. And don’t forget, freelancers bring their own connections and more business potential if nurtured the right way.
You might even want to consider partnering up with a local business. Either just to bundle forces if you are operating in the exact same space, or as a strategic partnership if the services are complementary. It’s time to think big and go international!