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Guide to International Number Ordering Requirements

International phone numbers allow businesses to establish a local presence in other countries.

Incoming calls can be routed to any phone, PBX, or SIP destination worldwide. Users can also make outbound calls with their phone number shown as the caller ID.

To provide these numbers, Global Call Forwarding must adhere to international phone number regulations. We comply with these regulatory requirements to minimize the risk of disruption to your numbers and service.

This guide to international number ordering requirements was created to make this process as easy as possible.

Which Countries Require Documentation?

Countries around the world are becoming increasingly strict when it comes to telecommunications regulations and compliance. These regulations vary from country to country.

The following popular countries require documentation to order a number:

  • Singapore
  • UAE
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Bahrain
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • China
  • Denmark
  • Hong Kong
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam
  • Taiwan
  • Poland
  • Netherlands
  • Finland

These are some examples of countries but it is not a complete list. For more information, please contact a Global Call Forwarding representative.

What are the Acceptable Types of Documentation?

When ordering international phone numbers, your provider may request different types of documentation. In order to make the process of number provisioning as fast as possible, we need your help gathering and providing the necessary documentation.

The most commonly requested types of documentation are proof of address, proof of ID, and a letter of intent.

These documents should be sent to our customer service department.

Acceptable Proof of Address

Acceptable Proof of Address can be one of the following:

  • Utility bill (gas, electric, or fixed-line telephone bill) within the last 3 months
  • Bank statement within the last 3 months of a lease/tenant agreement

In some cases, especially for geographic numbers, proof of address is required from the same city in which the number is located.

Acceptable Forms of Identification

Acceptable Forms of Identification can be one of the following:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s license
  • National ID card

In some cases, our provider will request a selfie with the end-user holding their identification.

What if this Information is Sensitive?

We take our responsibility to safeguard your sensitive personal information very seriously. We apply technical controls when processing this data, and all our staff undergoes training on the proper handling of this data.

How Long Does it Take for Documents to be Approved?

In most cases, it can take between 3-5 business days for documentation approval.

While we do our best to activate your numbers as quickly as possible, timelines can vary depending on the country origination.

Our vendors reserve the right in their discretion to deny phone numbers or request additional information at any stage of the process.

How Can I View the Status of my Submission?

Once your documents have been approved and the order has been processed, you will receive an email confirmation with further details. You can check the status of your submission at any time by contacting our customer service team.

International Number Ordering with Global Call Forwarding

Global Call Forwarding has been a reliable global telephony provider for over 26 years. We have extensive experience navigating international telecommunications regulations and providing reliable services to multinational clients.

Let us help you navigate through compliance requirements for purchasing international phone numbers and make this process as smooth as possible.

What is International Local Presence?

Local presence is one of the most powerful features of our cloud-phone service.

With local presence dialing, agents can connect with between 4-10x more prospects by showing a local number as their caller ID.

Most telephony providers only offer local presence dialing for domestic phone numbers, but we can help your sales and support teams establish a local presence internationally.

How International Local Presence Works

Global Call Forwarding provides local and toll-free numbers from most countries in the world.

These numbers can be used to receive incoming calls and also to make outbound calls with a dedicated caller ID. This means that customers can show a local caller ID for outbound calls that corresponds to the destination they’re calling.

International Local Presence Example

Say, agents are dialing prospects in London. They can show a +44 204 phone number. Or, if they’re calling customers in New York City, they can show a +1 646 phone number. They can do so, no matter their location — India, Australia, Canada, USA, etc.

When to Use Local Presence

Local presence dialing has many potential use cases. Here are some of the times when local presence dialing proves most effective:

The benefits of international local presence dialing.

Benefits of International Local Presence

Cold calling is tough business. With spammers and robocallers on the rise, prospects are less likely than ever to answer cold calls. This is why local presence dialing exists.

Improve Connection Rates

Establishing a local presence is especially important when making international calls. Prospects are far less likely to answer calls from other countries:

The stats above prove that businesses will increase the return on their outbound calling efforts by using local presence dialing. When more people pick up, time spent dialing becomes more profitable, as agents are more likely to have productive conversations.

Route Calls Back to the Right Rep

It’s common knowledge that many inside sales calls go unanswered. This leaves the called party with a missed call notification or a voicemail, along with the number that called them.

International local presence dialing enables agents to show their own local numbers as the caller ID. This means that if the called party returns the call, it will be routed back to the agent that called them.

Types of Local Presence

You can use different types of local presence dialing with Global Call Forwarding:

Call Masking with an International Phone Number

While number masking might have a negative connotation, it is a powerful tool used by businesses around the world. Call masking refers to the technique of “masking” or showing your business phone number for outbound calling.

It helps you keep your actual number private and lets you show a dedicated business phone number instead. You can also use number masking to call internationally with a local phone number.

Using Privately-Owned Numbers

Some companies already have phone numbers that they want to make calls with.

They might already have contracts with existing carriers, but want to use our international voice service to call globally. In most cases, this provides major cost-savings for international calling, in addition to better call quality and stability.

If customers can prove ownership of these phone numbers, we allow them to use these numbers as their Caller ID.

Get Calling With Local Numbers

We would love to help you get started with local presence dialing. Sign up for a local phone number today and start making calls anywhere in the world.

8 Global Expansion Mistakes and How to Avoid Them [2023]

While global expansion efforts often yield significant benefits for businesses, the transition to a new market may also include significant challenges and uncertainties.

For this reason, this article will discuss the top global expansion mistakes to help you avoid common setbacks. This way, you can properly prepare for the transition by building an effective expansion plan, ensuring your business’ international success.

What Expanding Internationally Really Means For Businesses

The first global expansion mistake businesses make is thinking the work is done once they successfully enter a new market.

By definition, global expansion refers to when companies extend their operations to new markets and regions. But, this process involves much more than simply selling your products and services in your target countries.

In fact, sustained international growth requires tons of coordination before, during, and after you enter a new market. So, it’s essential to reflect on your business and if expansion is the next best step.

Is Your Business Ready for Global Expansion?

Global expansion isn’t right for every business. And if you try to expand before your operations and teams are ready, it could result in failure. So, before planning to expand globally, it’s important to first evaluate if you’re ready to transition internationally.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Why do you want to take your business to a global level? What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • Do you have enough resources and people power to expand globally while maintaining the success of your domestic/current markets?
  • Does your company have the financial means to sustain international growth? Have you considered moving, labor, shipping, equipment, and other costs?
  • Is there a stable demand for your products or services in the markets you plan to expand to?
  • Is your management team prepared to meet international demands and challenges?

Take time to decide if this is the right move for your business and learn what factors to consider. Read more in our ultimate guide to global expansion.

An image of businesspeople plotting global expansion and identifying mistakes to avoid.

8 Global Expansion Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When properly approached, a global expansion strategy holds many benefits for businesses, including:

  • Increased ROI, sales, and revenue
  • Access to new markets, skilled talent, and a broader customer base
  • Exposure to foreign investment and growth opportunities
  • Improved company reputation and global market perception
  • Enhanced competitive edge and more.

So, what are the common roadblocks that may be fatal to your expansion plans, and how do you avoid them? Let’s discuss the 8 most common mistakes businesses make when expanding internationally and how to avoid them. This way, you can dodge these pitfalls and successfully grow your business on an international scale.

1. Entering New Markets Without Researching

Entering a new market without data to back your expansion decision is a recipe for disaster. There will inevitably be markets that are not a good fit for your business. So, without proper market research, you subject your business to unnecessary risk. And this could lead to major problems such as diminished reputation, over-saturated markets, loss of revenue and time, etc.

To ensure a smooth expansion, conduct thorough local market research and test your product throughout your target regions. These tactics will help you determine:

  • Demand for your product or service
  • Target audience segments
  • Consumer perceptions and expectations
  • Competitive pricing
  • Direct and indirect competitors
  • Unique selling proposition
  • Government regulations
  • Effective sales, marketing, and advertising methods
  • Local language, culture, and so on

Using this information, you can adequately plan your international expansion and ensure you enter the right markets for your business goals.

2. Using the Same Marketing and Sales Strategies

No market is identical. As such, the same marketing strategies and sales tactics that work in your domestic market may be less effective in others. Everything from how customers place purchases to their preferred communication channels varies throughout different regions.

This is because a country’s cultural and economic background impacts purchase frequency and customer lifetime value (CLV). So, failing to adapt your strategies could result in decreased conversions and, ultimately, a failed global expansion.

To avoid this mistake, it’s vital to adapt your marketing and sales strategies to the needs and preferences of each market.

3. Not Taking Advantage of International Talent

One of a business’s biggest assets is its people. And growing internationally gives your business access to a larger talent pool than ever before. This not only allows you to diversify your teams but also your range of skill sets. On top of that, local talent already has an in-depth knowledge of your new markets. You can use their know-how to enhance your local efforts and better engage with customers.

As you can see, hiring international talent holds many benefits for your business. So, failing to do so would be a critical global expansion mistake.

4. Neglecting Content Localization Strategies

Conversions become increasingly harder to achieve when your global customers cannot understand what you’re offering. And while translating content is a good start, even this strategy can lead to misinterpretations. Or worse, your content can come across as offensive to customers.

Businesses are now turning to content localization as a solution, which includes:

  • Accommodating local language needs and preferences
  • Opening physical offices
  • Observing regional traditions and cultures
  • Supporting local businesses and talent
  • Providing global customer support, etc.

This strategy not only helps meet the language requirements of your markets, but also considers cultural customs, specific market preferences, local practices, and so on. The result is a more globally accessible and credible business with improved customer satisfaction and sales.

Always localize content before expanding or entering a new market for the greatest effect.

5. Not Getting a Local Business Phone Number

How your teams will communicate locally is another factor often overlooked during a global expansion.

Using the same phone number you use in your home market is a bad idea for 2 major reasons:

  1. Low response rates – Customers are less likely to answer unknown or unrecognizable phone numbers.
  2. Expensive for callers – If overseas customers choose to contact your business, they will have to pay high international calling fees.

Enter: Local phone numbers.

Buy local phone numbers for each of your target markets. This not only increases connection rates but also charges local calling rates, which are relatively inexpensive.

And, if you sign up with a global telephony provider, you can forward your incoming calls to any location or device. This means your business doesn’t have to be physically present in these new markets to provide services to global customers.

Case Study: CROSSNET launches in new markets with local numbers from GCF

Mistakes businesspeople make when expanding internationally.

6. Overlooking the Value of Expert Advice

It goes without saying, there are many best practices for successful international expansion. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to make mistakes or miss something important, especially if you’re treading in unfamiliar territory.

This is why expert advice is extremely valuable for companies looking to grow. They can help you understand all business-related requirements, local legislation, and other important factors in your new market including:

  • Standard payment methods
  • Employment and payroll laws
  • Tax regulations
  • Foreign exchange rates
  • Contract laws
  • Corporate and securities regulations
  • Transfer pricing, and so on.

While expert advice can be expensive, the results are well worth it. These experts help your business avoid risks and better understand the inner workings of the target market.

7. Only Offering Phone Services in Home Market Language

Since adding new target markets means gaining new customer bases, each comes with its own needs. Among the most critical of these needs is language. And while content localization is a good starting point, it’s not enough. To satisfy these new customers at a basic level, you must also offer phone services in their language.

Let’s say you own a US company. One of your new customers in South America is browsing your localized support page, trying to find a solution to their issue. But since their issue is complex, they have to contact your business directly for an answer. So, they call your business to find that your call system operates only in English. Somehow, they reach the support department to find only English-speaking support reps again.

What happens next?

This customer will most likely grow frustrated and hang up. They might even cancel their service if they can’t find a fix and sign up with one of your competitors that meets their language needs.

To avoid this, consider setting up a multilingual IVR that caters to all of your incoming callers’ language requirements. On top of that, it’s a good idea to hire reps that speak each of your target markets’ languages, particularly for sales, support, and other customer-facing roles. This way, customers always feel supported and taken care of when communicating with your business, leading to improved customer satisfaction.

Related: 7 Must-Have Global Expansion Tools for Communication

8. Disconnected Team Communication

Communication affects many aspects of your business, including efficiency, productivity, employee trust, innovation, collaboration, turnover rates, and so on. When miscommunication occurs, it directly affects these factors in addition to other business metrics.

In fact, results of a study showed that miscommunication costs companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 annually. And, the chance of miscommunication only increases as you expand your business and add more offices and employees to the mix.

With a VoIP service, you can connect teams distributed across multiple locations through one business phone system. This service is accessible from any location or IP-enabled device, making it a great solution for remote teams, too. You can also scale your VoIP service, as needed. Simply, add or remove users as your business expands globally.

Additionally, cloud phone providers typically offer advanced features with their services that help boost team communication and collaboration, like free in-network calling. And it’s all easily manageable through an online portal.

So, you can centralize business communication, connect distributed teams, access advanced features, and save on traditional phone system costs – all through one solution.

Expand Globally with Global Call Forwarding

Now that you know the top mistakes businesses make when expanding globally and how to avoid them, you’re ready to expand!

Global Call Forwarding can help you transition into an international business. We offer reliable global voice services in 160+ countries, which covers over 90% of the global economy. You can get local, toll-free, and international numbers in each of your target countries to add global coverage to your phone system.

We also offer free in-network calling, centralized call control, multilingual IVR, and more to fit your global expansion needs.

To learn more about how we can help you establish a global presence, call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

Top 8 Tips to Creating a Multilingual IVR

As a global business pushing into new markets, languages, and geographies, you should do everything possible to “localize” yourself. In other words, you want to make your global business appear and communicate locally.

This means catering to your target audience in languages they are comfortable with.

Why is it Important to Support Multiple Languages in Your IVR?

Even with the inclusion of newer communication channels (like chatbots and text messaging), customers still largely prefer calling a business for support. This means a significant segment of your target audience expects good service when they call your business.

And if you plan to expand globally (or already have global support centers), you need to build trust with these customers. This is because excellent and responsive customer service experiences will retain at least 89% of your customers.

So, how do you build this trust and make your international customers comfortable?

Provide service and support in languages they understand. That’s where a multilingual IVR comes in handy!

Create a hosted IVR with multilingual support options, so customers receive help in their preferred languages.

A diagram of a multilingual IVR.

Quick Notes

Now, before we jump into different tips for creating a multilingual IVR, let’s get some basics down.

1. Setup: You can get local or toll-free numbers for different countries and set up a single language IVR on each line. Or, you can have a single number with a multi-language IVR.
A comparison of single language versus multi-language IVR.

2. Don’t translate on your own: You may be tempted to use Google translate or something similar to create your own translations. However, chances are you may not get it 100% right since there are many issues with machine translations. And that will only negatively affect your ability to provide reliable support. So, plan to work with professional translators.

3. Avoid robotic voices: In this day and age, people are tired of lousy support, specifically communicating with a robot that spins them around. So, whenever possible, use human agents to provide service.

How to Create a Multilingual IVR for Your Global Business: 8 Tips

We’ve divided the tips for every stage of the IVR-building process from preparation, setup, and testing. Here are 8 tips for creating a multilingual IVR:

  1. Choose Target Countries
  2. Listen to Multiple Demos and Examples
  3. Decide Who Handles Multilingual Needs
  4. Find an IVR Platform that Works With Your Phone System
  5. Use a Standardized Script Format
  6. Use Native Speakers, Consider Professional Services
  7. Keep it Smooth and Consistent
  8. Test, Gather Feedback, and Update

1. Choose Target Countries and Dialects

The first step in the process is to decide (if you haven’t already) the countries you want to provide service in. This is a good opportunity to consider global expansion. And since some languages are spoken in multiple countries, you can easily extend your operations to these countries.

When considering target countries, be sure to research different languages and dialects spoken in these areas. For example: Not all Spanish-speaking countries speak the same dialect of Spanish. Spanish spoken in Latin America differs from Castilian Spanish, which is spoken in northern and central Spain. Similarly, people in China use different dialects such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Hunanese, and more.

So, depending on your target areas, you will want to be regionally specific in your translations. If including too many dialects is an issue, then find the most commonly used languages.

Pro tip: Professional translators will help you identify the right dialects to go after.

2. Listen to Multiple Demos and Map Out Call Flows

Find other international businesses and listen to their multilingual IVRs. Consider:

  • What languages do they use?
  • How do they set up their IVR (multiple phone numbers vs single number with multiple IVRs)?
  • What menu options do they offer? And so on.

This will help you decide how to design your own IVR with multiple languages.

However, keep in mind that every business has different goals and expectations. In other words, what’s important for your business may not be important for another.

So, when choosing your languages and menu options, keep your customers in mind. You want to create call flows that support their needs and questions.

  • What languages are helpful for them?
  • What support options do customers usually need when they call your business?
  • What departments need to be included in your IVR, and which of these need multilingual options? And so on.

Pro tip: Compare what other international businesses are doing with their IVRs to what your business needs. Then, create a solution that caters to your customers.

3. Decide Who Handles Multilingual Needs

So, what happens after you decide your IVR will offer multilingual menu options? It’s important to consider who will help your customers calling in from different countries and those with different language requirements. Think about:

• Who records these messages (internal employees vs audio recording vendors vs translation services)

There are many parts to creating multilingual phone menus:

    • Deciding menu options
    • Writing and translating prompts
    • Recording voices
    • Editing sound, music, and audio files
    • Uploading files to your IVR platform
    • File storing and documenting (for future reference)
    • And finally, testing the IVR.

This means there’s a lot of room for error. Your internal teams may handle some of the tasks on their own (writing and uploading prompts). But you may need to look for outside, professional help for other delicate tasks (translating, recording). So, it’s a good idea to decide beforehand who will do what.

• Which departments or support centers offer multilingual support (global customer support teams)

Next, you want to consider which departments require multilingual support. For instance, sales and customer support deal with customers the most. So equipping these departments with diverse languages will improve caller and customer experience. But, does your billing or vendor management department need to provide multilingual support as well?

Similarly, if you have multiple support centers spread across different regions, not all centers may need a multilingual IVR. For instance, you may be able to get away with just English (and maybe Spanish) in your US office, while you may need Chinese, Thai, and Japanese in your APAC support center.

Pro tip: Take time to decide and plan out before jumping into translating and recording.

4. Find an IVR Platform that Works With Your Phone System

This largely depends on the type of business phone system you have. Most cloud phone systems come with their own IVR editor or call flow builder, where you can build out your call flow with different menu options and actions.

call flow apps

Using a cloud phone service provider will prove more useful as they often have various features and capabilities built into their IVR editor.

You then have control over how your calls flow and what multilingual options you want to offer. And you can expand your IVR as you see fit, all through an online dashboard.

If your phone system does not have its own editor, then you may need to work with your provider to change and update your IVR menu. This means you must find another voice/audio platform to handle all translating, recording, and editing needs.

Check out what you can do with the Global Call Forwarding call flow designer (templates included).

Pro tip: Research different cloud phone service providers to see what options are available for advanced IVR.

5. Use a Standardized Script Format

Now, for the IVR script itself. Whether you’re translating in-house or through a professional translation service, a script document will streamline the process and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Plus, it becomes a standard document that you can share with everyone involved in the process: writers, translators, voice talent, post-production editors, and uploading the recordings.

Start with a default script in your main language (English, for example), and then add necessary menu options. In the same document, include different sections for each language you want to include. Your script could look something like this:

Recording 1 – Intro: Welcome to [Company Name].

This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.

Please press 1 for English.

Por favor marquez dos para español. (Spanish)

Si vous parlez français, appuyez sur trois. (French)

Recording 2 – If caller presses 1:

If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time.

For sales, press 1.

For customer support, press 2.

For billing and accounts payable, press 3.

To go back to the main menu, press 9.

Recording 3 – If caller presses 2 (Spanish)

Si usted conoce la extensión de la persona con quien desea hablar, marque en cualquier momento;

Por favor marque uno para ventas y precios;

Marque dos para servicio al cliente;

Marque nueve para volver al menú principal.

Recording 4 – If caller presses 3 (French)

Si vous savez déjà l’extension de la personne que vous cherchez à joindre, vous pouvez composez le numéro à tous moment.

Pour le service de vente, appuyez sur 1

Pour le service client appuyez sur deux

Pour revenir au menu principale appuyez sur 9

You can also include other important information in this document, such as instructions on pronunciation, directions, special treatments, etc. Make sure to keep script and audio file names consistent to avoid any confusion during the production process.

We put together a list of IVR and auto-attendant scripts to help get you started.

Pro tip: Don’t overcomplicate your IVR script with too many options and long sentences; Be concise and to the point.

6. Use Native Speakers, Consider Professional Services

As mentioned above, it may seem harmless to throw your script into Google translate and work off of that. But, if you want to appear credible and trustworthy to your global audience, you need to do more than that. Your translations must be grammatically and regionally accurate.

This means you should look at native speakers or professional translation or recording agencies for your multilingual IVR. Native speakers will get the words, accent, and cultural sensitivities correct and even guide the script-writing process.

You may come across certain English words or phrases – usually technical jargon – that may not translate well into the target language. Ask for help from native speakers in your company or with customers and business contacts in that region.

Now, your team may not have a native speaker for every language you want to target. In that case, you will benefit from hiring a translation service. Before signing on with an agency, however, read reviews about the agency.

Vinit Muralidharan, Head of Operations and Sales at Milestone Localization, says to specifically look for an agency that “works with native translators having domain expertise, supports multiple languages, and has an ISO 17100 certification.”

As for recording services, again, check credentials and reviews. Ask for demos to evaluate audio recording quality. If you decide to record in-house with native speakers, then make sure you follow audio recording best practices.

Pro tip: It helps to work with 1 or 2 service providers instead of multiple. This way, you can better manage the quality of your multilingual IVR.

7. Keep it Smooth & Consistent

In many cases, this is the first interaction between your customers and your business, so you want to get it right. Common issues associated with IVR include:

  • Overcomplicated call flows and IVR menus
  • Confusing menu options
  • Low audio quality
  • Long hold times
  • Robotic voice; no human interaction

Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these issues. Once you have your translations and recordings in place, upload them to your phone system. As you do this, make sure the audio quality is strong.

If you’re using different audio files, ensure the audio levels (volumes) are consistent without any interruptions. Similarly, aim for consistent style and pace, which professionals should be able to handle. Watch for mispronunciations, audio lags, jumbled words, and so on.

To provide your customers with a good caller experience, you must help them move through your IVR efficiently. This means clear and concise communication, easy navigation, and quick resolution. And always ensure there is a way for them to opt out and connect with an agent. Don’t let them get trapped in the IVR-verse.

Pro tip: Conduct quality checks at various points of the process to make sure your multilingual IVR works effectively.

8. Test Your IVR, Gather Feedback, and Update

With everything set up, test your multilingual IVR multiple times. Remember that you want a simple and easy-to-follow IVR system. Make sure you go through each call flow and use case to evaluate the experience of all types of customers calling your business.

It’s a good idea to ask a select few employees and customers to use the IVR and see how they respond to it. Specifically, ask if they are confused anywhere or if any necessary queries are missing. You may even ask customers in your target regions to navigate the IVR in their preferred language and offer their feedback.

Another way to gather feedback is through post-conversation surveys. This way, when your agent or employee finishes helping the customer, they quickly ask how the IVR experience was and where you could improve.

Then, based on these new caller insights and feedback, update your IVR system.

Pro tip: Test each call flow with its respective department (sales, customer service, or tech support). This way, they can provide contextual feedback that you may otherwise miss.

Create Your Own Multilingual IVR

Setting up a multilingual IVR for your global business does not have to be a daunting task. Yes, there are many different factors that contribute to its success, but it is a manageable task with the right vendors and providers.

For starters, you want a cloud phone service platform that can accommodate your advanced IVR needs. Then, you need a translation and/or audio recording service for the script itself. And before you know it, you’ll have your multilingual IVR system ready to support customers across the globe.

Need to upgrade your current IVR system? Consider switching to Global Call Forwarding.

Our service comes with a cloud IVR manager where you can customize and design your own advanced IVR. Our tech support team is happy to help get you set up and provide recommendations to meet your multilingual needs. Call us at 1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

How to Invest in Africa’s Fast-Growing Economies with Call Forwarding Services

The rise in modern technology usage and emerging markets has made Africa a prime location for international business.

So, what does that mean for companies wanting to invest in the continent? Whether you’re a multinational business or a foreign investor looking to tap into this growing economy, it is important to take a closer look at what the continent has to offer.

Why Africa is a Good Destination for Foreign Investment

According to the World Investment Report (2022), “FDI flows to Africa reached $83 billion, from $39 billion in 2020.” This upswing was welcomed as the continent worked hard to recover from COVID-related downfalls.

south africa stats

Local companies and global players are continuing to invest in the continent. And governments are expanding their foreign investment policies to encourage more investors, leading to a rebound in foreign direct investment (FDI).

One such initiative is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This is the largest free trade area in the world, including 55 countries with a population of 1.3 billion and combined GDP of about $3.4 trillion.

AfCFTA creates jobs and incomes, attracts investments, and furthers the development of regional supply chains. With this in place, we can expect an increase in intra-African trade by 81% by 2035. Specifically, AfCFTA’s Sustainable Investment Protocol can lead to a rise in FDI flows – both into and within the continent.

Additionally, high commodity prices, reopening tourism, and dissolution of pandemic restrictions are a few other factors contributing to Africa’s positive economic outlook.

All of this means new sources of investment are becoming available, and emerging sectors are expanding.

Remittances into Africa are Growing

As global remittances are expected to reach $630 billion in 2022, remittance inflows into Africa will continue to grow. In fact, 2021 saw gains in Sub-Saharan Africa with 14.1% and the Middle East and North Africa with 7.6%. And the driving force is an increase in investment and access to credit.

“There are significant numbers of people from Africa that live and work in Europe and America and send money to family and friends. The funds are used for investments, medical expenses, school fees, and day-to-day expenses,” explains James Kimani, Workforce Manager, NatWest.

The top 3 destinations in Africa for remittances are Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.

In Africa, the labor supply is abundant, and the people are willing. These incoming remittances bring new economic opportunities such as the growth of small businesses and self-employment, and they help reduce poverty within the continent.

According to Kimani, “Technology has made it easier to send money. However, the main challenge as I see it is that the margins are very thin for [remittance] businesses. So, increasing volumes of transactions will make it a more viable service.”

What Makes Africa Popular

Unlike its reputation for being conflict-ridden and inundated by corruption, Africa offers countless opportunities for establishing profitable businesses. Often described as the fastest-growing continent, there are many reasons why local and global players continue to invest in Africa.

The continent boasts a large, young population and a steady rise in the middle class. It is also going through a telecommunications boom and technological revolution. This means that more and more people from the continent are online and reachable. And your business has access to an educated and skilled workforce.

In fact, keeping the growth of mobile connectivity in mind, experts at Deloitte are convinced that Africa’s telecommunications sector will attract more inbound investment and economic development.

On top of that, Africa has over 400+ companies with revenues of over $1 billion. And thanks to major multinational corporations investing in the continent’s natural resources, infrastructure, and more, Africa has a pretty sizable consumer market with over $1.4 trillion in consumer spending.

What Industries are Most Poised for Growth?

In 2022, African start-ups seem to be taking off, with more and more investors interested in and ready to support up-and-coming businesses. In fact, African start-ups attracted a record $5.2 billion in venture capital in 2021, which is more than the previous seven years combined.

Financial Technology (FinTech), particularly, has great growth potential, with new opportunities and start-ups leading the way. According to a Disrupt Africa report, investors in African tech start-ups more than doubled in 2021, an increase of 108.4%. This boom is corroborated by those in the African financial services and FinTech industries.

Munya Chiura, Head of Growth Rest of Africa, Flutterwave, suggests that FinTech has brought about “multiple opportunities to continue to drive financial inclusion.” Kimani seconds this opinion of FinTech and financial services thriving in Africa. Specifically, he explains that “Mobile Money is very big in Kenya,” referencing businesses like Safaricom, which provides the mobile wallet product, M-PESA.

African industries and emerging markets most poised for growth include:

  • FinTech and Mobile Money
  • Renewable Energy
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications

According to Chiura, “Other industries that are exciting [and poised for growth] are e-commerce, mobility services, agric-tech, and healthcare.”

Experts predict that North Africa and Francophone Africa have the potential for accelerated growth because they do not have as much venture capital funding as other regions of Africa.

Have a look at FT’s ranking for Africa’s fastest-growing companies in 2022.

africa industries

But, There are Challenges in Doing Business in Africa

Despite its growth potential, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing business in the continent:

1. Skepticism of Foreign Investment

Africans tend to be wary of foreigners that want to invest and do business in the continent. This is often chalked up to historical, ideological, and political reasons. While changes in economic policy and growth in FDIs have welcomed foreign investment, there may still be a few indirect barriers preventing Africans from doing business with global parties.

So, as a newcomer, you’ll want to establish a local presence. You may even benefit from connecting and building relationships with locals on the ground.

2. Rate of Digital Adoption

Secondly, while new technologies are being developed and used, digital adoption is still relatively low. For instance, smartphone and 4G usage are not as high in Africa compared to the rest of the world. In fact, by the end of 2020, only 46% of Sub-Saharan Africa was subscribed to mobile services. And 4G adoption is expected to reach only 28% by 2025.

Because of this, not a lot of consumers even have access to WhatsApp, video conferencing, etc. And others might not know how to use such services, except for making a basic phone call.

3. Telecommunication Scene

Additionally, high tariffs still exist for African locals who want to call internationally. So, it may benefit you to have a local number in countries where you want to do business. This way, local customers and interested prospects can call your international business without paying high long-distance rates.

But, local and international toll-free numbers are difficult to come by for some hard-to-reach and rural areas. Unless telecom providers have connections with local, regional operators, they cannot guarantee connectivity to different parts of the African continent. This is true even of some major global telecom providers. So, it is always a good idea to double-check a provider’s coverage before signing up.

How Can African Call Forwarding Services Help?

To combat these challenges, you can work with an Africa call forwarding service like Global Call Forwarding. This way, you can get local phone numbers or international toll-free solutions to target different countries in Africa and then forward incoming calls to your business wherever it is located.

Africa zone map

Our parent company, United World Telecom, has extensive experience navigating Africa’s complex telecommunications environment. This also means that you don’t have to spend time managing contracts with a bunch of different local vendors because we take care of that for you.

Since our early callback days, we’ve been providing global telephony solutions to businesses and consumers in the region. Find out how we can help you expand your business in Africa; call us today or chat with our experts online!

Expand Your Global Voice Coverage with Hard-to-get Phone Numbers

Part of growing your business means expanding to regions beyond your country. This can come with its own challenges — restricted access, strict investment laws, unreliable phone service, and more.

But with Global Call Forwarding as your business phone provider, you can bypass those challenges and easily enter new markets. Start building your global network of customers, suppliers, and vendors simply by using international virtual numbers.

Communicating with International Customers

There’s significant potential in emerging markets — specifically, in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Next Eleven (N-11) countries (South Korea, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Vietnam).

Most providers only offer coverage in the USA and Canada. While other services only cover major English-speaking countries like the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. They fail to provide uninterrupted global voice coverage in other parts of the world, namely Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.

Additionally, some countries aren’t well-established or politically stable. As a result, reliable phone service and global connectivity are hard to come by. This may make it even harder to connect with potential customers or provide necessary services in these regions.

Not to mention, traveling is difficult due to international restrictions and the ongoing global pandemic, further delaying your business growth.

All of this, coupled with a limited-coverage telecom company as your provider, might lead you to miss out on global business opportunities.

Expanding Your Phone System’s Global Coverage

As a global IP network owner, Global Call Forwarding can directly connect you to 160+ countries across the world. And our global coverage is not limited to just the US and UK or only English-speaking countries.

We provide reliable voice coverage in over 160 countries, covering more than 90% of the global economy. You can get phone numbers in these countries to establish a virtual presence. And use our service for all your global telephony needs. Simply integrate our service with your current phone system, and you’re good to go!

We even offer communication solutions and coverage in hard-to-reach areas, such as certain parts of South Africa, the EU, and Asia. Our FlexDial solution works as a regional trigger to make it easy for local customers to contact your business, wherever it is located.

Get Global Phone Solutions Today!

Don’t wait to take your business to the next level. Telecom experts at Global Call Forwarding can help you identify communication solutions that will meet your needs and budget. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!

How to Add Global Coverage to Your Business Phone System

The global economy is much broader and more lucrative. So, expanding to new markets is in your business’s best interest.

Advanced technology makes it easier than ever to expand your business internationally without increasing overhead costs. And with the rise in cost-effective telecom solutions, businesses are able to enter markets where numbers and phone services are generally harder to get.

That’s where global telephony providers like Global Call Forwarding come into the picture. We can help you add global coverage to your business phone system with international phone numbers and advanced call features.

Building a Global Communication System

Global telephony providers offer cloud communication solutions such as voice, messaging, phone numbers, and call management tools. And since these services work over the internet, businesses can use them to communicate with customers in different countries and regions worldwide.

In most cases, your business does not even need to open a new office or physical location in these countries. You simply forward calls internationally or communicate via web apps.

So, how do you add global voice coverage to your business phone system without dramatically increasing overhead costs?

  1. Purchase international phone numbers for target countries.
  2. Work closely with your phone service provider to manage phone service in hard-to-reach countries.
  3. Set up international call forwarding to have incoming calls routed to the right department and office anywhere in the world.
  4. Use outbound calling with caller ID management when making outgoing calls to customers in target countries.

This image shows a phone system with global voice coverage.

Increasing Global Phone Coverage with Global Call Forwarding

Limited global coverage and documentation restrictions are the main obstacles corporations face when expanding. So, how can your business get around this problem? Work with a global telephony provider that offers high-quality voice service and has an extensive network of local telecom partners.

United World Telecom (our parent company) has long-term relationships with trusted Tier 1 Carriers worldwide. This allows us to provide our customers with one of the widest offerings available on the market.

New players in this space do not specialize in this area of the telecom industry. So, the numbers they provide may be more limited, come with stricter documentation requirements, or take longer to activate.

Due to our positive reputation in the industry and the trusted relationships built with our providers, we offer our customers phone numbers with fewer documentation requirements than other providers and at competitive rates. And we provide added flexibility with our month-to-month billing and no long-term commitments – which our customers prefer over the strict contracts required by many telecom providers.

Using Our Service with Other Providers

Since some global phone providers have limited coverage and require stricter documentation for most originations, they may be harder to work with. But that does not mean you need to find a new phone service if your communication system is already built with other providers. You can simply integrate our services and rare or hard-to-reach international numbers with other providers like Zoom Phone, Amazon Connect, Aircall, and so on.

Global Call Forwarding (run by United World Telecom) has an extensive inventory of phone numbers from over 160 countries around the world. And we can provide phone service in hard-to-reach countries as well. So, your business can use our service to add global voice coverage to your existing phone system reliably.

View the available countries we offer service for on our Country Coverage page.

Adding Global Coverage with Global Call Forwarding

1. Add global coverage with BYOC

BYOC lets you forward calls directly to SIP. This is the best option for businesses that want to add numbers to an existing PBX system and/or have limited minutes. You can simply buy numbers from us and forward calls to your PBX. Here’s how:

  1. Buy desired numbers from Global Call Forwarding and activate your service.
  2. Contact your PBX or phone service provider.
  3. Give them your list of phone numbers and our list of IP addresses. Your provider has to whitelist these IP addresses so you can receive calls.
  4. Your PBX provider will then create a special SIP domain for each number
  5. Add this SIP domain in your control panel under Forward all calls to, so we can forward calls to the right domains.

Note: We support G.711/μ-law and G.711/a-law codec for sending calls.

forward to your number

2. Add global coverage by forwarding directly to the number

Alternatively, if you already have local numbers with another telecom provider but need additional global coverage, you can buy international numbers from those countries with Global Call Forwarding. Then, you can simply forward incoming calls to your local number. This is the best option if you have an unmetered plan with your local phone number provider. And you avoid the hassle of dealing with SIP domains and whitelisting IP addresses. You can do this on our Pricing page.

Challenges to Keep in Mind

Most global phone service providers offer international phone numbers and various cloud communication features. But, they may come with limitations that can impede your business’ global expansion plans:

Limited global coverage
Worldwide coverage is typically limited to just Western Europe and the Americas. This means that providers may not have a strong presence in the Middle East, Latin America, or Africa. So, if you have customers in these regions or want to expand, you will need an additional phone service provider.

For instance: Zoom Phone offers phone numbers in 45 countries and toll-free service in only 29 countries (of which some are inbound-only).

Amazon Connect offers phone numbers and inbound calling from about 80 countries, DID and toll-free numbers in nearly 20 countries, and outbound calling for 200 countries.

Stricter documentation
Additionally, new players in the telecom space may require stricter documentation for most originations. This could be a result of short-term experience, smaller networks, different business models, and so on. But it can add more roadblocks to your international expansion plans.

Note: Information mentioned in this article is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to changes.

Finding the Right Global Phone Service Provider

While there are countless global inbound phone services available, you need to find one that works best for your business communication needs. Here are some questions to consider when looking for a global telephony provider:

  • Which countries do you need coverage for (regions you want to expand)?
  • What is your overall voice communication budget?
  • What communication tools or features can improve the way your business communicates with international customers?
  • Do you need phone service in hard-to-reach countries or countries with political instability?
  • And finally, can this provider offer reliable coverage for those countries with your desired features and within your budget?

Keeping all of this in mind, you can determine which global telephony provider for your business communication needs.

Ready to add global voice coverage to your phone system? Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with our experts online!

8 Reasons to Expand Internationally

There’s a stage in every small-to-medium-sized business’ life where you ask: is it time to take the next step and pursue international expansion? And while many companies have achieved global expansion successfully — and many have failed as well — there is a general tendency of doubt whether it is worth the gamble.

Especially now, after the global pandemic and with so many businesses having to shut down or halt operations.

But while expanding your business after COVID-19 may seem challenging, it is a worthwhile and beneficial avenue to consider with the support of the right resources and people.

Why Should Businesses Go Global?

So then, what really is the benefit of entering your business in the global market and taking the risk? Besides opening up a whole new revenue stream, international growth allows your business to establish a global reputation. Such a reputation will help you attract and retain more high-quality customers. And it will open up more investment opportunities that will help your business further scale.

What is the Cost of Global Expansion?

But is it worth the risk? The short answer: it depends on your business and the demand for your products and services.

Not every business is suited for the global stage. Maybe your industry is too niche, or your services are useful only to a specific group. In that case, international expansion may not be for you.

It also depends on which stage of growth your business is in right now. If you are a start-up still trying to find your footing, then it’s better to put off global plans. But if you are an established business gearing up to release new products and features that might appeal to a broader audience, then you might benefit from taking them global.

You need to consider international expansion costs when looking at the best countries to expand to in 2023. Important factors to consider include:

  • State of the region’s economy post-COVID-19
  • Demand for the product and service
  • Overhead costs — office space, supplies, and equipment
  • Moving costs
  • Cost of labor and materials
  • Logistics and shipping costs
  • Country’s rules and regulations regarding foreign businesses, and so on.

Thankfully, careful budgeting and a clear expansion plan can help you keep costs low. You can use one of these various types of international expansion strategies to expand globally efficiently while staying within your budget. Additionally, instead of jumping right in and investing everything in your expansion plan, start slow with a light footprint, and grow gradually.

Learn more about global expansion strategies and best practices in our global expansion guide.

Reasons to expand your business globally.

8 Benefits of International Expansion

That said, what can your business achieve by growing internationally and why should you consider it? Here are the main reasons to consider international expansion:

1. Increased Revenue Potential

Most businesses look outside when they have exhausted growth opportunities at home. But even for companies that are relatively new (7+ years in business), there’s much to gain by entering new markets. You can explore new markets, market to new demographics, offer diversified products, and increase sales as a result of all this.

2. Entry into New Markets

International expansion also means access to more markets means more customers and more sales. Part of successfully entering a new market is researching the region and its demographics to ensure your business provides valuable and relevant products and services. This means working close to the ground to understand the needs and desires of the locals in these markets.

By doing that, you would create products and services they want to purchase and invest in. This is yet another way of showing your customers and prospects that you care about how they use your service. And that is crucial to building customer loyalty and responsiveness.

Side note: Entering new markets also means exposure to new investment opportunities but more on that later.

3. Access to Diverse Audience and Customer Base

With our heavily globalized world, your business is probably already catering to a diverse audience. Yet, you are limited when you stick to just one market or region. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, it is a good practice to diversify and spread them across multiple target markets. This way, if one market changes or slows down, you can rely on revenue streams from other markets.

Additionally, by catering to a diverse customer base, you will be required to create new products and services to meet their needs. This gives your business the opportunity to establish itself as a local entity or local-supporting business. A broader and diverse customer base always helps generate more business and sales.

4. Foreign Investment Opportunities

New markets mean new investment opportunities and access to new materials and talent. The main benefits of foreign direct investments include economic growth, access to greater resources, job creation, innovation and R&D, and support for developing countries. Foreign investments give your business the opportunity to not only access resources in other countries but also support developing and growing economies.

5. Opportunity to Diversify Your Business Portfolio

Another significant benefit of international expansion is the ability to diversify your business portfolio. Entering a new market allows you to invest locally. You can support other local businesses, and regional sustainability efforts, and partner with local organizations that align with your mission. This further lends to your business’s reputation and brand personality.

6. Offer Global Customer Support

When you open your business to international sales, you may find customers and prospects from different parts of the world. This means you will need global sales and support teams to nurture these customers.

While running global customer support may seem expensive and difficult to manage, you can adopt a follow-the-sun support model to manage your teams efficiently and cost-effectively. A follow-the-sun model uses advanced call forwarding to route incoming calls from one location to another. For example, you can route calls coming in from Europe to your remote team in London. Or, you can forward calls made between 9-5 within the Eastern Standard time zone to your team in New York. Or, you could just forward all calls, from anywhere in the world, to your main office in Mexico.

Some common routing strategies include:

  • Time-based routing – route calls based on the time of the call
  • Georouting – route calls based on the location of the caller
  • Skill-based routing – route calls based on the skills needed, such as language preferences or technical skills.

With such routing strategies available by cloud phone service providers, you do not need to have multiple offices globally. You can offer global care and support from your headquarters or through remote agents.

7. Access to Diverse and Skilled Talent

Next, you get to build a diverse workforce by accessing a large pool of skilled talent. Hiring global talent means variety in language skills and educational background. In fact, certain countries are known to excel in certain industries — like India with engineers and technologists. And so, you can attract high-quality talent from these regions as you expand internationally.

There are many benefits of having a diverse workforce:

  • Variety in skills and talent
  • Employing local workers and building local trust
  • Supporting locals
  • Reduced turnover rates, to name a few.

8. Gain a Competitive Edge and Improved Business Reputation

Together, all of these factors only add to your business’ diverse portfolio, helping you gain an edge over your competitors. By being accessible globally, your brand can develop an international presence and reliability. Customers will be familiar with your business and service, leading to more sales, partnerships, and profits.

Is Internal Expansion the Future for Your Business?

Expanding globally is a big step, but thankfully, there are countless resources and support centers to help businesses take this step confidently. If you need a global telephony provider to support your global business communications, consider Global Call Forwarding.

We can provide you with local and international toll-free numbers from more than 160 countries worldwide. We also offer cloud communication solutions for remote countries so that you can communicate with your customers no matter where they are located. Want to learn more? Browse through our features and services, or speak with our representatives today.

Comparing the Types of International Expansion Strategies [with Examples]

A time comes in every business’ lifecycle when it needs to expand to new markets and regions in an attempt to keep growing. However, such a move can be overwhelming and cost-heavy, especially if not planned out strategically.

Here we will go over the different types of international expansion strategies with examples. Comparing these different strategies and entry modes can help you decide how to plan your business’ global expansion.

Topics covered

Expanding Internationally: How to Enter the Global Market

Before we get started, why should your business even consider entering the global space? And are the benefits of expanding internationally worth the costs and risks? The short answer is, it depends. It depends on the kind of business you operate and how you execute your international expansion strategy.

When done strategically, there are many benefits to expanding internationally, including:

  • Access to new markets and a diverse customer base
  • Increased ROI and profits
  • Access to local and skilled talent and workforce
  • Global business recognition and reputation
  • Establish regional offices
  • Stay ahead of the competition
  • Access to foreign investment opportunities.

And since you open new revenue streams, you can expect the ROI and profits to offset the costs spent in entering new markets. But for everything to fall in place according to plan, you first need a solid international expansion plan.

global phone numbers

Global Markets Post-COVID-19

Expanding globally after COVID-19 can seem a bit challenging. But with the right plan and resources, you can enter a new market smoothly and cost-effectively and add a new customer base to your business profile.

The key to successfully expanding your business is to:

  1. Create a clear global expansion plan.
  2. Choose the right international expansion strategy.
  3. Identify the best entry mode for the new market.

Let’s look at each of these factors in detail.

How to Create an International Expansion Plan: 5 Key Steps

Before we compare the different types of international expansion strategies and entry modes, let’s look at the critical steps involved in creating a global expansion plan. This will give you context about what your business needs so you can identify the right strategies for international growth.

1) Pick the Right Markets to Enter

The first thought generally is to expand to a big, metropolitan area. However, certain businesses and industries do better in less developed and developing regions. Depending on your business type and stage of growth, identify the right markets and regions for your business to expand. And local market research can help with this.

Don’t know where to start? Here is a list of the best countries to expand to in 2021.

2) Conduct Market and Competitor Research

Then, you need to analyze how well your product or service will do in this new region. Is there a demand or market for your products or services? What is the quality of that demand? What demographics or portion of the population can afford to buy your products? How many competitors will you face? What is the demand for these competitors, and what resources do they have available? How does that stack up against your organization?

3) Understand Country and Governmental Regulations

Every country has its own foreign investment regulations. And so, before you start setting the groundwork for your expansion plan, you first need to familiarize yourself with these regulations. You can do so by visiting the country’s primary website or their trade website. For example, the United States has an International Trade Administration website where you can get information for US and international businesses. You can also learn more about these regulations on the country’s embassy websites.

4) Finalize on Entry Mode(s)

Next, you decide what entry mode is best suited for your business. Below we define and compare the different entry modes you can choose from.

You might even consider keeping a light footprint. That is, holding off on infrastructure and heavy investments till your foreign operations have grown and matured. You may decide to hire a few local employees and use cloud-based communication solutions to manage your operations. Have these employees identify untapped opportunities, conduct market research, and test the market gradually. This will help you save costs in the long run and ensure higher ROI.

5) Prepare Marketing and Expansion Plan

Once you have identified your markets and entry modes, you can start making a global expansion and marketing plan. This will outline your moves, budget, advertising campaigns, overhead requirements, and so on.

Learn more about global expansion best practices and planning strategies in our free global expansion guide.

Types of International Expansion Strategies

Here are the different strategies to expand internationally. But which one of these international expansion strategies is suitable for you depends on your business’s specific needs and goals. So educate yourself on the options available and make a decision accordingly.

1. Multidomestic Strategy

A multidomestic strategy focuses more on catering to locals within the new market. It is known as the strategy that sacrifices efficiency to improve the responsiveness of local requirements. Rather than forcing its parent country’s requirements and preferences onto the new market, it customizes its offerings and services to better meet the needs of the locals in the new market. As such, marketing and advertising efforts are geared towards the locals instead of taking a universal approach. A great deal of local research is required to execute a multidomestic strategy successfully.

Advantages of multidomestic strategies

  • Diverse customer base
  • Increased local responsiveness

Disadvantages of multidomestic strategies

  • Uncertainty because of tailored and customized strategies spread across various countries
  • Hard to achieve economies of scale that would help reduce costs

Examples of multidomestic strategy

  • MTV customizing programming on its channels in different countries
  • Heinz removing garlic and onion in its Indian ketchup recipe
  • KFC selling tempura crispy strips in Japan and pastries with chicken in France
  • McDonald’s offering multiple vegetarian options in India such as McSpicy Paneer, McAloo, and Green Chilli Aloo Naan

2. Global Expansion Strategy

A global expansion strategy is the opposite of a multidomestic strategy. The global expansion strategy is centralized—that is, the primary office controls it. This strategy maximizes global efficiency, so products and services are standardized and not tailored for local markets. The business units in each country are considered interdependent and respond to the primary office.

Advantages of a global expansion strategy

  • Low risk for the firm
  • Emphasizes economies of scale
  • More opportunities to utilize innovations developed at a corporate level
  • Effective for firms whose product is mainly hidden from the user’s view and where differences in local preferences is not an issue or requirement

Disadvantages of a global expansion strategy

  • Trouble gaining a high market share in local markets
  • Coordinating strategies and operations may prove challenging to manage
  • Resources need to be shared and coordinating across boundaries and countries

Examples of a global expansion strategy

  • Intel
  • Microsoft offers the same product globally but with local languages
  • Procter & Gamble (P&G) creates global brands whenever possible

3. Transnational Strategy

A transnational strategy combines the multidomestic and global international expansion strategy to create an international expansion strategy that caters to both global efficiency and local needs and responsiveness. Therefore, the two main characteristics of a transnational strategy are:

  • High global integration
  • High local responsiveness

To this end, balance and flexibility are key to executing a successful transnational strategy. And companies that do so perform better than competitors using a multidomestic or global expansion strategy.

Advantages of a transnational strategy

  • High efficiency and low costs
  • Wider reach
  • Diverse market

Disadvantages of a transnational strategy

  • Difficult to centralize and manage international offices
  • Potential risk of alienating local customers

Examples of a transnational strategy

  • McDonald’s offers custom menu items globally but has a cohesive global identity
  • Unilever sells different brands in different regions but still maintains a singular corporate identity

4. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

FDI is when an organization enters an international market by investing in that country. Of all the international expansion strategies, this one is a good idea when demand and size of the market justify the investment. Some things to keep in mind when considering FDI:

  • Your business can benefit from low-cost labor and cheap materials.
  • You can avoid import duties when you manufacture locally.
  • There may be import restrictions and limits for certain products.

Advantages of FDIs

  • Retain control
  • Low-cost labor, cheap material and manufacturing costs
  • Diversified investors portfolios
  • Provides financing and technology to developing countries
  • Access to subsidies, tax breaks, and other concessions from the government

Disadvantages of FDIs

  • High investment required
  • High risk, related to change in policies against foreign companies
  • Investors may have fewer moral attachments
  • Potential unethical access to local markets

Examples of Foreign Direct Investment

  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Horizontal FDI, where a firm replicates its entire organization in different countries
  • Joint ventures
  • Research & development
  • Facilities
  • Sales and customer support
  • Manufacturing and logistics
  • Retail and services
  • Administration
  • Greenfield investments

Common International Expansion Entry Modes

There are a few different ways to enter a new global market. And each of these international expansion strategies comes with benefits and potential issues. Here we will look at the various international expansion entry modes that your business can choose from when deciding how to enter a new market:

Entry Mode Definition Advantages Disadvantages Examples
Direct Exporting When a manufacturer or company sells directly to a consumer in another country.
  • Fast entry
  • Low risk
  • Low control
  • Low local knowledge
  • Potential negative environmental impact
  • Apple
  • ExxonMobil
  • Ford Motor
  • Chevron
  • Johnson and Johnson
Licensing Limited, legal business relationship where a party (licensee) is given rights to use a brand’s (licensor) trademarks. The licensee pays the licensor a royalty fee to use trademarks of the brand.
  • Fast entry
  • Low cost
  • Low risk
  • Less control
  • Licensee may become a competitor
  • Legal and regulatory environment must be sound
  • Microsoft
  • Disney
  • Calvin Klein
Franchising Agreement between franchisor and franchisee. Franchisor owns the business and sells the rights to their brand to a franchisee who opens a separate branch under the brand’s name.
  • Fast entry
  • Low cost
  • Low risk
  • Less control
  • Legal and regulatory environment must be sound
  • McDonald’s
  • Burger King
  • Taco Bell
  • Marriott International
Partnering & Strategic Alliance or Joint Ventures Strategic alliances with a local partner.
Or joint ventures where two or more parties make a business agreement to pool their resources together.
  • Shared costs
  • Reduced risk
  • Seen as a regional entity
  • Shared resources
  • Access to a broader customer base
  • Higher cost than exporting, licensing, or franchising
  • Integration problems between two corporate cultures
Alliances

  • Spotify and Uber
  • Starbucks & Target
  • Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Disney

Joint Ventures

  • Uber and Volvo
  • Sony and Ericson
  • Microsoft and General Electric
  • BMW and Brilliance Auto Group
Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) Consolidation of two businesses to increase market share and profits. M&As are complex processes and need preparation and analysis.
  • Fast entry
  • Established operations
  • High cost
  • Integration issues with home office
  • AOL and Time Warner merger
  • Verizon and Vodafone acquisition
  • Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell merger
Greenfield Ventures Launching a new, wholly-owned subsidiary in a foreign country by building its facilities from the start. This way, a business enters a new market without the help of other companies already there.
  • Gain local market knowledge
  • Seen as a local entity that employs locals
  • Maximum control
  • Slow entry due to setup time
  • High cost
  • High risk due to unknowns
  • Coca-Cola
  • McDonald’s
  • Starbucks

How Can Global Call Forwarding Help Your International Expansions Efforts?

Global Call Forwarding has helped thousands of businesses enter new markets and regions cost-effectively. Whether you plan to open regional offices or want to conduct operations virtually, our cloud communication solutions can ensure that your business communicates with team members and customers efficiently. Our high-availability network and partnerships with local, regional providers enable us to offer our customers cloud phone numbers (local and toll free) from more than 160 countries worldwide. And our phone numbers come equipped with advanced call management features such as call routing, automated voice response, softphones, and more.

We can support your international expansion strategies and help you enter new markets with a light footprint and low overhead costs. And as your business grows, you can add more service lines and features to our highly scalable solution.

Expanding internationally is a big step, and we are here to make the process less stressful when it comes to business communication. Want to learn more about how we can help you set up more points of contact in different countries and regions? Speak with our representatives today or chat with us online!