Growing an international business is never an easy prospect. You have to contend with local laws, customs, special consumer preferences, and languages. Big companies spend billions on catering to the specific needs of local markets, ensuring that they get a leg up on the competition. So how are smaller businesses supposed to compete on the international stage?
The good news is that technology is here to serve entrepreneurs who need to operate in multiple locations. Here are some of the incredible technologies you can put to use in your international business.
Email is now widely considered a passe form of communication. Although it is still in ubiquitous use, many of the most innovative companies in the world are currently looking to reduce its importance in favour of other communication methods. They want new ways to communicate that don’t waste so much of their employee’s time.
Take Slack, for instance. It’s mostly an instant messaging app, like WhatsApp, but with specific business features. You can create groups and schedule discussions, even if your employees work in different time zones.
Group calls are also possible using services like Tango, which allow users to make video calls and send texts.
Entrepreneurs looking to build international businesses do not want to be beset with computing issues, especially cross-border matters. That’s why many opt to use MVPS, or virtual private servers. Rather than buying individual servers for each location, VPS networks allow companies to outsource their server needs to another specialist company.
Entrepreneurs, like you, can then focus on the activities that make a difference to the quality of your customer’s experience.
It’s now possible for most businesses to conduct their IT affairs exclusively in the cloud and to have their systems managed and monitored by specialist third parties. This reduces downtime and allows work to go on across borders, and around the clock.
Being able to communicate effectively with customers in different countries means being able to use local languages naturally and confidently. Too often small businesses try to cut corners in their local marketing material. But it makes them appear incompetent.
There are several tools out there that entrepreneurs can use to translate their copy into foreign languages. One of the biggest bespoke companies out there is Gengo. It has more than 14,000 staff who are fluent in a total of 36 languages, including the important business languages of Spanish, German and Mandarin.
Another service, called Rubric, is great for businesses in the tech sector. They specialise in technical communication and are suited for entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, publishing and marketing businesses.
Technology is enabling small businesses to take some of the pain out of organising schedules across different time zones.
Boomerang is an app available on both Apple and Google platforms. Rather than having to send a message as you write it, the app enables your colleagues to specify the time they want the message posted. As such, emails can arrive with distant colleagues at the appropriate time, rather than in the middle of the night.