Expanding your business overseas is the chance to grow your customer base and increase revenue.

But, how do you know if you are ready or not? Here are three signs that will help you tell if it’s time to expand into a new market, as well as resources to help when you are.

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  1. Strong systems and dedicated team

Without a strong team and systems, expanding into a new market could be challenging.

You’re not ready to go anywhere until you have your internal systems in place and on point. Begin at the base level – how is your business plan looking? It’s common for smaller companies to have an informal plan in place, but at this stage, it’s crucial to revisit to see how the business has been performing.

This way, you can see what milestones or goals you’ve been hitting, or where you may have missed the mark. Part of this plan includes a benchmark report, which will compare you to the rest of the industry. With all this data, you can better understand how you perform and if this strategy will work in a new market.

Expanding into a foreign market is going to be hard work, so if you don’t have a dedicated team who shares your vision, you could end up doing all that work on your own.

  1. Loyal customers and positive cash flow

Loyal customers are a part of positive cash flow.

Rock solid domestic sales are, of course, a strong indicator if your business is ready to take on another market. For one, it provides domestic investors and potential buyers the confidence that you are a legitimate business with a reliable product or service. But strong sales and loyal customers also provide you with much-needed cash flow that you’ll use to anchor your business as you buy into the new market.

Historically, cash flow has been one of the biggest issues for Australian SMEs, but Xero’s latest Small Business Insights report shows that 55 per cent of SMEs were cash flow positive in March. It’s important that you have a solid history and forecast of positive cash flow. If you’re the 45 per cent of SMEs in the red, you don’t want to go looking for money in foreign markets.

Having loyal customers, therefore, is essential to positive cash flow and necessary for when expanding into a new market.

  1. Researched new market and suppliers

If you haven’t thoroughly researched the new market, you aren’t prepared to enter it.

Have you decided what market you want to expand into? Why did you choose this place specifically? These are important questions to consider as entering a new market opens a business up to a myriad of risks.

You have to research whether or not you offer a unique enough service or product that could compete with local businesses. Then you have to have a firm understanding of how that foreign market operates, including the adequate export documentation and foreign currency management, according to Austrade. Beyond that, it’s crucial that you understand disruptions that come from the economy or politics. Do your business plan and team have the appropriate capabilities to manage these risks?

Finally, you need to ensure the relevant resources are going to be available and reasonably priced. Access to the right materials is essential to keeping control of costs as you set up in the new market.

Resources to help you expand

At this point, you can honestly answer if you’re really ready to enter a new market or not. If you’re ready, the next step is to apply for the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG), a scheme in which the Australian Government gives financial assistance to export-ready small businesses.

This will be a massive resource for helping you take on the world. Teaming up with the experts at Techwitty will give you strategic insight and advice into making your EMDG claim successful. If you’re ready, contact our team today.

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