While most companies focus on providing services to domestic markets, some must expand overseas out of necessity. And when they do, they need ways to connect their global operations into a single coherent framework. Doing that, however, is a profound logistical challenge. It is tough to keep a brand or business consistent when the people running it cannot be in direct physical contact with all its branches.
Multi-location firms, therefore, face a host of unique challenges you don’t find in other business setups. Here are some of the ways that you can improve your operations and get the results you want, even if you operate across borders.
Create A Brand Template
If you operate overseas in the USA or Canada, it is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to branding.
Brand consistency is vital for many reasons, but mainly is it critical in building trust. If you continually expose your customers to new styles of branding, then you can’t develop the familiarity you need. And that could ultimately hurt your brand value.
A brand template is essentially a document that spells out precisely how people should present your company to the public. In its most basic form, it specifies colours, fonts and text for communication. But many companies go further than this, defining things like tone of voice and values. Try it.
Make It Easy To Share Ideas
The sharing of ideas is essential for the success of any international business. People from all branches of the firm can have ideas which can push the entire enterprise forwards.
It needs to be easy, therefore, to communicate across borders.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things that you can do to facilitate this process. The first is to take advantage of communication technology – especially apps that make it easy to communicate in groups. It is also a good idea to make it easy for people to share media and documents, so using cloud storage services is essential.
You also want to create a culture of sharing, where possible. If you run international offices, explain to local managers that you consider publicly talking about your ideas a top priority. If people have good ideas for how to move the business forwards, they shouldn’t be afraid to bring them to the table.
Use International Finance Solutions To Enhance The Flow Of Money
International business revenues are notoriously lumpy. A company can be generating massive amounts of cash in one market and very little in another. It’s just the way these things work.
Companies must have a robust way to move funds around the planet. They need to be able to subsidise their operations in some countries and subtract funds from others.
Typically, a company expanding out of Europe will need to send money to the USA to establish a new market in North America. Today, there is an abundance of apps that allow firms to do this with low foreign exchange commissions. What’s more, it’s all electronic, so it takes less time for the money to arrive than through traditional methods.
Use Translation Services
A couple of years ago, Google changed the way that it does translations. Instead of relying on teams of translators around the world, it began using its machine learning solution. Practically overnight, the system improved ten-fold, and the results you got began to make a lot more sense.
Now, this technology is more advanced and the backbone of the best language translation services in the world. It means that you can get translated text for the majority of major languages into English and back again. The system uses the idea that language is all about communicating ideas to construct sentences that are culturally and semantically relevant. It is quite impressive.
What’s more, it means that companies finally have the option of hiring non-English-speaking specialists remotely – something that was unthinkable in the past.
Create A Shared Virtual Office Space
A lot of international companies are now experimenting with the idea of shared virtual office spaces, especially since the advent of the pandemic. The idea is to create somewhere that it is a bit like Second Life. People create avatars of themselves and then perform their work in what looks like a virtual office. They can then go up to other people and speak to them, as they might in a regular office.
It sounds strange and unnecessary, but it can have profound psychological effects on staff. People wind up feeling as if they’re working in a shared office, even if they’re thousands of miles apart.