“Our AGN colleague in the UK is satisfied that their client is
being looked after in a foreign jurisdiction.
By having efficiently delivered the required assistance and
service, we make them look good.”
Expanding overseas is a legitimate goal for any growing business. Taking your brand to the next level is an appealing
challenge which, when achieved, can mean access to previously untapped markets, unprecedented growth, and
more profit. This is why, given the chance, many entrepreneurs would jump at the opportunity of gaining a foothold
in the global business arena.
However, taking your business overseas is not without potential pitfalls. In fact, expanding overseas comes with new risks and challenges which, if not adequately covered in your risk management scheme, can lead to substantial losses.
A lesson on international expansion –
considerations and best practices
If you are keen to explore new borders, and are ready to take on the challenges of international business, we have included below valuable advice you may want to consider.
With this in mind, we have provided a number of tips you can apply to your business, through an interesting case study on one of our clients: Resultant Agency. This way, you can see exactly how these best practices could benefit you.
The case of Resultant Agency
Taking your brand across international borders means abiding by new rules and regulations, facing new compliance issues, satisfying various legal requirements, dealing with people you do not know, navigating the local business landscape, and familiarising yourself with the local culture and norms, as well as acquiring a new customer base.
Of course, not all businesses have offerings that translate well overseas, and not all companies can handle such a challenge. But we have one such overseas client who, with our assistance, has been able to overcome geographical barriers to successfully set up their brand in Australia.
Revital UK is a digital marketing agency specialising in programmatic marketing campaigns, location-based marketing, advisory services, and marketing intelligence. They had developed a software which, when deployed inside internet protocols, helps advertisers reach the right consumers at click-point.
The client had identified major media players in Australia who could use and benefit from their software. But in order to touch base with these prospective clients and successfully market their brand, they needed a presence in Australia.
Tip No. 1
Identify the right partners, use the right connections
Expanding globally is no small matter, so you will need all the help you can get. You’ll need to know right away whom you can rely on to assist you or even mentor you as you explore something new and potentially risky. Your partner should be someone you can trust, and who, in turn, is willing to vouch for you.
Your partner may not even be someone who will be directly involved in your business, but someone who can help you navigate the strange waters you are trying to cross, so to speak. Of course, you would also want to have a team or an executive who knows the ins and outs of your business and is familiar with or is willing to learn and understand the new market you are trying to gain access to.
You will also need to hire people to help you achieve your expansion plans, and deal with your overseas business partners and customers. They must be familiar or immersed in the local environment and culture. Moreover, they should also be looking out for your best interests in all of their dealings.
Resultant Agency connections
We were initially contacted by an AGN member firm to assist their UK client (Resultant Agency) in their goal to penetrate the Australian market. Our UK AGN member has no tax or bookkeeping expertise in Australia, so they reached out to us, a fellow AGN member, to assist their client.
Contact was made quickly with the prospective new UK client, and an online meeting was set up within 24 hours to ascertain the client’s needs. This virtual meeting took place late in the night, Australia time, while it was still daytime in the UK (there’s a nine-hour gap between our two countries).
Tip No. 2
Set up the right infrastructure
Whether you are setting up a branch or a subsidiary, you need to have the appropriate infrastructure in place to facilitate a smooth launch.
You also need to have a management team that is ready and able to deliver your strategy in your new office. Moreover, ensure you take care of all IT and communication infrastructure, and data sharing policies that adhere to local laws and international best practices.
The Resultant Agency brief
Our client is already well-established, and has a solid presence in Northern UK. In the course of identifying new markets to tap, our client identified a fertile market for their product in Australia.
However, expanding overseas, in this case to Australia, required the deployment of a business development manager (BDM) on the ground in the new country. Our client selected a BDM who was to be supplanted from the UK. He was selected based on his requisite product knowledge and expertise. This way, he could easily and effectively demonstrate the value and efficacy of the product to the target market once a meeting was successfully set up with their Australian client prospects.
However, the chosen BDM was not senior enough in the home organisation to be designated as the client’s local Australian director. His purview was ‘simply’ to generate new business, and keep existing Australian clients happy, satisfied, and entertained.
Client goals and service delivery
To start, our client initially sought assistance from us for the following:
- The setting up of a new legal entity (a subsidiary, not a branch)
- All related tax registrations
- An audit exemption
- Migration service referral
Our client specifically wanted the Australian entity to be a subsidiary, and not a branch. Moreover, our client only required that there be one employee in Australia (this is the BDM that was parachuted in from UK). This meant that the Australian subsidiary required the services of a local director. A referral by us to an Australian migration agent assisted in the process of having the BDM set up in Australia, and he successfully received the appropriate visa.
Post-arrival in Australia, our client sought assistance with basic CFO services for the new Australian subsidiary. This entailed:
- Tax Filings
- Payroll and related compliance (for the BDM)
- Local director service
- Quarterly advisory meetings (online)
- Monthly transactional services
- Specifically, chasing receivables
- Satisfying payables
- Paying wages and other expenses
- Access to good local networks
As well as referring a local migration agent, we also referred an insurance broker for professional indemnity and workers’ compensation.
Tip No. 3
Be flexible as new ideas and needs arise
Establishing your brand overseas may be successful. However, don’t expect to replicate all your product and service offerings as your new market may have needs that differ from the one you currently have. You need to consider changes to your business strategy, and marketing techniques in consideration of local sensibilities, pain points, and needs.
Tip No. 4
Conduct due diligence
To know exactly what you are getting into, allocate a few days or weeks for intelligence-gathering. Go to the country whose market you wish to tap, and develop a plan based on the information you have gleaned. Go around, visit distributors, related or similar businesses, prospective clients, and even competitors.
The data and insights you collect from this experience will help you face the hard facts facing your international business move. This way, you have a good basis of knowing how you stand against what’s already available locally. You can already start innovating at this stage so you know how to position your brand USP in your target overseas market.
Tip No. 5
Trust the experts
As a business looking for international growth, you need to understand and acknowledge that you’ll require the expertise of others – especially those who are familiar with the country you are expanding into. Don’t set yourself up for failure by pretending that you can do everything. You can’t; get referrals to established experts, work with them so they can bring you the results you need.
A successful outcome
Our AGN colleague in the UK is satisfied that their client is being looked after in a foreign jurisdiction. By having efficiently delivered the required assistance and service, we make them look good.
Moreover, our client is satisfied that they accomplished the following:
- They have been able to enter the Australian market.
- They have established good local contacts (i.e. us) to help them navigate different sets of rules, compliance matters, and regulatory requirements.
- They continue to receive proactive Australian advice.
- They also receive competent and timely compliance service.
- They have been receiving timely, effective and efficient communication.
Leveraging international partnerships to get results
This case study clearly shows how tapping into your own business network and building strategic partnerships can make a real difference in the success of a venture as ambitious as overseas expansion.