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Companies expanding internationally in 2021 and beyond must do their research before taking action. A solid, well-researched strategy is vital to the success of your global expansion efforts. We’ve compiled a list of our top seven resource picks to help you develop your expansion strategy. These resources include both articles and books, each of which approaches the topic of international expansion in a different way.
Before choosing resources, consider these four consulting tips when compiling your ideal expansion strategy reading list.
Tips for Consulting International Expansion Resources
You can find all sorts of international business books online, along with resources like podcasts, webinars, blog posts, and much more. So how do you know which resources will help you develop your international business expansion plan? Keep these guiding principles in mind:
- Pay attention to the publication date. Some books approach topics broadly enough that they remain relevant for long periods. However, this is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to international expansion resources. Look primarily for recently published resources to get up-to-date advice. This is especially critical when you need to understand current economic and market trends, and is even more important in knowing which legal requirements you must abide by.
- Consult resources specific to your industry. For this post, we intentionally chose widely applicable guides. These resources can be extremely beneficial for companies across industries. However, it is also wise to consult resources aimed specifically at companies in your industry. Learn about the unique expansion challenges that your industry faces and how to overcome those challenges.
- Research the countries you’re considering. You should also research the specific market or markets you’re considering. Establishing new operations in Japan, for instance, will look considerably different from expanding to Canada. The Globalpedia database from Globalization Partners allows you to select a specific country to learn about the local laws and customs governing recruitment, payroll, subsidiary establishment, and more.
- Take advantage of others’ expertise. Take advantage of any connections you may have with professionals or companies that can offer their own insights. If you want to invest less time in research, you can safely do so by partnering with attorneys and accountants or, even better, an Employer of Record (EOR) in the country where you’re expanding. This sort of partnership allows you to capitalize on local expertise. With an EOR, you’re no longer responsible for legal compliance or HR tasks.
Our Top Picks for International Expansion Guides
Let’s take a look at some of the quick guides, eBooks, and print books that should be on your reading list if you’re planning to expand globally this year.
1. Top 10 International Expansion Mistakes to Avoid
Having the right strategy in place is critical if you want your global expansion to succeed. At just 15 pages, Globalization Partner’s free eBook, “Top 10 International Expansion Mistakes to Avoid” provides a succinct explanation of some possible pitfalls companies should carefully avoid when expanding internationally. This resource is a good place to start since it allows you to learn from the first-hand experiences and challenges companies have faced.
Many of these mistakes are missteps companies make in acquiring and managing global talent. For example, some companies try to bypass the complexities of international employment by hiring workers as independent contractors instead of as full-time employees. This hiring strategy can save you from having to set up an entity in the country where you’re recruiting, but if the authorities determine that the relationship between your company and the contractor functions as an employer-employee relationship, you could owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid benefits and back taxes.
Use this short and concise eBook as a launching pad to investigate these common mistakes further if needed. Learn from the errors other companies have made while expanding globally so your company can prepare to avoid these difficult lessons.
2. Going Global: How to Expand Your Business Internationally
Another brief guide that can help companies get started with their expansion strategies comes from Business News Daily — “Going Global: How to Expand Your Business Internationally” shares insights from various professionals who have experience with international business expansion. The guide discusses the need to think through whether your company is ready to expand and covers some of the common challenges you may face, such as local competition and international compliance and regulatory issues. It then covers some best practices that companies should follow when expanding internationally.
For example, Roger Sholanki points out that launching overseas means you’ll likely need to rework the way you offer customer support. Sholanki is the CEO and founder of software company Book4Time, which operates in 70 countries. Times zones are another common obstacle that can arise when you enter a new market. It can be particularly challenging when the time zone in your new country is far off from your company headquarters’ time zone. Issues like this are why many companies often hire staff in the country they expand to.
3. Redefining Global Strategy, with a New Preface: Crossing Borders in a World Where Differences Still Matter
In this book from Harvard Business Review Press, global strategist and professor Pankaj Ghemawat discusses the importance of balancing both global and local concerns when conducting business internationally. According to Ghemawat, companies that have adopted the idea that the world is “flat,” meaning globalization has homogenized various markets across the world, are likely to fail in their global expansions. This is because, in reality, cross-border differences are significant and must factor into a company’s expansion strategy.
Most economic activity happens on a local, rather than a global level, which means a “semiglobalized” approach is more fitting than a wholly globalized one. Rather than expecting a seamless transition into another country, a company must carefully consider all the important geopolitical differences at play and find ways to bridge these differences successfully.
Ghemawat’s suggestions for effectively developing a global strategy are based on rigorous research and take into account a market’s cultural, geographic, economic, and administrative differences. Strategies should be optimized to help companies adapt to, overcome, and take advantage of differences. The book also shares examples of managing cross-border differences from prominent global companies, such as IBM, Toyota, and Procter & Gamble.
4. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success
Even if you understand the unique nuances of a country’s business, tax, and employment laws,it’s important to also understand the cultural differences you might encounter when looking to expand your business internationally. In his book Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success,” Dr. David Livermore draws on his own experience and a solid backing of academic research to provide insight into managing with cultural intelligence (CQ). The book provides a practical model for cross-cultural leadership, which includes:
- CQ Drive: Leaders need to be motivated and confident in their cross-cultural interactions.
- CQ Knowledge: Leaders must understand how people’s perspectives and behaviors can be shaped by the values, religious beliefs, laws, economic influences, and other factors to which they have been exposed.
- CQ Strategy: Leaders should be prepared for different cultural settings, but should also remain agile so they can adapt as needed.
- CQ Action: Leaders must carefully tailor their speech and nonverbal behaviors to fit the context.
Though the book is written for global leaders and management professionals, it is useful for anyone involved in cross-cultural interactions. The book’s second edition includes updated research and examples, including some from global giants like Google and Facebook.
5. The Global Hiring Handbook
If you’re looking to hire in any of the world’s top 20 countries for expansion, be sure to check out “The Global Hiring Handbook” from Globalization Partners. This includes the following countries:
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- South Korea
Note that these countries are grouped by region, not ranked according to their popularity. For each of the countries in the guide, you’ll find key aspects of the local employment regulations, tax laws, and other crucial topics in an easy-to-follow format. No matter where you’re looking to expand, the employment laws there are likely to differ from the laws you’re used to in your home country. You need at least a basic understanding of these laws before you decide to expand.
Some of the handbook’s key topics include how a country handles employment contracts and the laws governing working hours, vacation leave, sick leave, and more. You’ll also learn about taxes and social security contributions employers and employees must pay, and the benefits employees are entitled to from their employers. The guide even covers termination laws that become relevant when you need to dismiss an employee.
6. Complete Guide to Overseas Expansion for Online Merchants
Software company Volusion, which is known for its e-commerce platform, offers a “Complete Guide to Overseas Expansion for Online Merchants.” This guide focuses on successfully entering new consumer markets. E-commerce companies looking to hire new international employees should also consult resources on international employment and management before entering a particular market.
This online guide is free and covers 12 helpful topics that all online businesses should consider before expanding overseas. The first point is to start with international market research — understanding the market you’re entering is critical. Despite how connected our world is, every market has its own features that companies must use to develop their business and marketing strategies. You also need to understand international trade laws, currency, duties and taxes, and other practical factors.
This resource also points out how important it is to test your expansion strategy before fully committing. Testing the waters can take different forms. According to Volusion, one of the most effective ways is to work with an individual or organization that already has an established presence within the local market you’re attempting to enter. Take advantage of their local knowledge and reputation to help you gain traction in a new market.
7. The Globalization Partners Blog
Blogs can be an excellent source for up-to-date information and specialized topics. The Globalization Partners blog provides a wealth of knowledge and insights into various aspects of international expansion. As an Employer of Record operating in countries worldwide, Globalization Partners’ solution and global teams understand the issues relevant to companies like yours.
Some articles, like our “Tips for Corporations to Expand Internationally” provide a more general guide to expansion, while other posts focus on specific countries, industries, and issues related to international expansion. For example, if you’re hiring in a new country, search the blog for one of our in-depth hiring guides. We cover the need-to-know aspects of that country’s labor market, employment laws, and hiring practices, so your company can better prepare before beginning the local recruitment process.
Since 2020 posed unique global challenges associated with the pandemic, timely articles can also help companies form a 2021 international expansion strategy. In the blog, we discuss topics that will be especially pertinent in 2021, such as hiring and managing remote teams.
Make Globalization Partners Part of Your International Expansion Strategy
Globalization Partners offers free educational resources in various forms. In addition to the resources we’ve included on this list, you’ll also find a database of webinars, such as “The World Will Never Be the Same: Looking Ahead at 2021 Growth and Talent Trends.”
In addition to offering companies a wealth of educational resources, Globalization Partners is a global EOR helping companies enter new markets and hire top talent faster and with greater ease. When you work with Globalization Partners, you can still choose your employees, and those employees work for your company. Meanwhile, our local entity will serve as their in-country employer and handle legal compliance and HR responsibilities. Learn more about our EOR solution and see whether Globalization Partners can help make your international expansion a success.
For a complete list of global expansion eBooks, webinars, reports, guides, and more, visit our Resources page and find exactly what you need to get started.