Expand internationally

There is no one size fits all approach to taking your business abroad. It means planning to meet an often very different regulatory, commercial and cultural landscape than exists in the UK.

Above all, you will need to understand the local market before expanding internationally and trading in that marketplace or setting up there.

Business advice from an expert in that country will be crucial for that early insight and support. This will give you something to benchmark your plans, and when going for growth.

A key question after assessing the market is then how to get there. Options for international expansion include:

  • Full immersion – offices, retail space and employee relocation.
  • Testing the market – a digital presence or concession arrangement.
  • Using local distributors – no physical presence beyond stock.

They do things differently

Logistics and appetite for risk are not the only considerations. When expanding internationally you will need to know about the economy of the country, as laws and customs will always be different, sometimes markedly.

It can be tough getting to grips with them but damaging not to.

For example, are they generally slow payers as a culture? If so, that implies ensuring a financial cushion against delays.

Employment laws are also often different. In the Netherlands, for example, it is mandatory to report the number of employee sick days to the Government, something not required in the UK.

There may also be language barriers. In some countries, ‘yes’ to a plan can, in fact, mean nothing more than a polite acknowledgement of it.

But having a support network in place before and after arrival will reduce risks, create opportunities and give you access to the most appropriate local support talent.

Strategic planning is vital

Tax, compliance and trade issues must be clearly understood. For example, not every country has an agreement with the UK that avoids double taxation.

There may also be issues around protecting your intellectual property and a need to consider VAT, import duty, local taxes and withholding tax.

The compliance standards of another country may require registrations and processes, which will need understanding and organising.

You may also need premises, and somebody to find it at the right price and without any unexpected contractual traps.

Keep your back covered

Given the stretch involved to become an international business, it can make sense to appoint a local representative to protect your commercial interests and reputation.

The best of these will have extensive networks and knowledge upon which you can rely, opening doors and closing down problems.

How will it look?

Consider whether you intend to manage the extension of the business from the UK or in the country. There may be issues around relocating staff and yourself.

The need or instinct for the founder of a company to steer the expansion personally also needs consideration. Investors and customers may, for example, become wary if a founder or CEO spends half his time abroad.

 

Through our membership with Kreston International, we give your business global coverage. So wherever you intend doing business, as well as the people who know you close to home, you have access to the knowledge and skills of our trusted counterparts in 125 countries.

If you are looking to expand internationally and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

Contact our experts

If you are looking to expand internationally and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

Contact our experts

"Kreston Reeves has been a true partner to Virtuo. Being able to quickly understand our business has meant that Michael and his team have been able to contribute to our business from day one."

Michael Altom, Virtuo’s General Manager for UK and Ireland

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Contact our experts - Expanding internationally

If you are looking to expand internationally and would like some expert guidance, contact us to arrange to speak with one of our specialists in London, Kent or Sussex.

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