Setting up shop: The essential steps for expanding abroad

Whether it’s the sunnier climes or the scope for fulfilling the demand of a foreign customer base, there’s no shortage of reasons why many of us dream of expanding our empire abroad. And while upping sticks in pursuit of unfamiliar territory can seem too daunting for some, daring to take a business overseas can be one of the best - and most effective - ways to ensure that a brand is heading in the direction of international success.

From launching your products to a new customer base to becoming an established name across the globe, there’s no limit to the triumph that can come from expanding into foreign lands - but, of course, there are plenty of things to consider when making the move to a new country. For any small business, relocating overseas can often seem like a huge leap - and that’s why today, we’ll be looking at how you can alleviate your feelings of apprehension as we explain the 4 simple - yet essential - steps that you should follow when expanding your SME abroad.

  1. Dedicate time for extensive pre-planning

While moving your life halfway around the world can seem like something of spontaneity, it’s important to remember that the secret to a happy and hassle-free move is to invest time and energy into the planning. From working out the logistics of the move itself to considering how settling into your new life could affect those you leave behind, working out what challenges you may face - and in what way you can overcome them - means that you can feel prepared when it comes to permanently upping sticks. If you’re planning on running the business in your new country, working out a long-term solution for the management of your existing UK branches is a must. From promoting members of the current team to recruiting an experienced management team to handle your flagship store, ensuring that your brand continues to thrive without your physical presence means that you can rest-assured that your fast-expanding empire is destined for a long-term triumph.

  1. Conduct in-depth market research

As any retailer will know, social media followers across the globe will be quick to tell you that their town needs one of your stores - and that can mean that it’s tempting to start planning a move to your dream destination without any substantial evidence for the demand of your brand in the region. Launching a small business to a foreign demographic can be a high risk process - and while relocating abroad will sometimes pay off, it’s crucial that you conduct extensive market research first. From determining how popular your product line is likely to be by speaking with a range of residents in the area to working out what profits you can expect to see in the new currency, fully researching how much room there is in the market for your SME is fundamental for ensuring that your move will be one of success.

  1. Find the right location before making the move

There’s no doubt that market research and business predictions made by growing trends in an area will prove to be invaluable when it comes to moving your SME overseas, but there’s no denying the importance of physically experiencing something for yourself. From meeting and greeting potential clients to working out the feasibility of accessing your potential store or office, visiting your business’s possible future home ahead of the move means that you can be confident that you’ll be setting up shop in the right location - and you could even get a head start on learning about the local culture and traditions during your trip. So whether you’re staying in Europe and want to rent a Lanzarote villa before you make your move or you’re heading further afield and want to familiarise yourself with local transport links, it pays to do some research ahead of relocating.

  1. Read up on local law

When it comes to emigrating abroad, it’s crucial that expats familiarise themselves with the new country’s laws - and that’s even more essential for anyone that’s looking to relocate their business overseas. From the business laws to the taxation process, getting to grips with what you are and aren’t allowed to do in the country means that you can avoid putting your business in jeopardy with foreign officials. In addition, if you’re planning on simultaneously running your business in the UK, it may be worth consulting your accountant and solicitor too, to ensure that your business is complying with the relevant authorities in both countries.

The secret to success for any business endeavour is careful planning and preparation - and when it comes to the large-scale investments that come with moving an SME abroad, following our step-by-step guide to upping sticks is fundamental for any small business owners that are in hot pursuit of success.


An alternative solution, if you're not quite ready to move abroad:

At Smarta, we really do believe in the power of exporting, and are supporting the UK Government's - Exporting is GREAT campaign. Designed to help businesses that are new, occasional or regular exporters. 

Take a look online today whether you're considering exporting and to get a feel for the potential your business could have selling overseas. There's a range of useful tips and advice to get you in the best position to start trading. 

Find out more

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