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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 in 2021. 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 to 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, regional sustainability efforts, and partner with local organizations that align with your mission. This further lends to your business’ 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 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!

How Will Brexit Affect My Business? A Quick Guide

New changes are happening all over the world — from adopting new business processes to nurturing social movements to adjusting to the global pandemic. And the much-talked-about Brexit deal is one of these major changes. Curious about what Brexit means for businesses in the UK and EU? In this article, we look at the different business-related areas that will feel the impacts of the new Brexit deal.

How is Brexit Affecting Business in the EU and UK

Companies and business owners across the EU and UK are worried about Brexit and business continuity. As the transition period comes to an end, many businesses in Britain and Europe are wondering, “how will Brexit affect my business?” From business travel to communication to new customs regulations, there are many ways the Brexit deal can impact your business processes. In this post, we discuss how Brexit will affect:

  • Business Travel
  • Working and Studying Abroad (Work Visas, Education, and Erasmus)
  • Impact on Trade (Customs, Supply Chain, VAT Regime)
  • Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges
  • Online Services

Let’s get into the different ways that Brexit may affect businesses in the EU and United Kingdom.

1. Business Travel

One of the main areas that the new Brexit deal affects EU and UK companies is in regards to the new restrictions on business travel. Individuals traveling for work from the EU to the UK and vice versa have new regulations to keep in mind.

British travelers will face restrictions on their passports. For example, British travelers will need at least 6 months left on their passports to travel to the EU. While these travelers don’t need a visa to enter the EU, they will need travel authorization. At immigration, they may be questioned about the duration of their stay, returned bookings, financing plans, and so on. Conversely, national ID cards are no longer valid for European travelers entering Britain, except for particular cases. And EU travelers will need to go through customs checks at UK airports.

Other changes:

  1. Additionally, duty-free shopping will continue. However, there will be new allowances for the quantity of goods you can bring back to the United Kingdom.
  2. There is also a new set of rules and regulations to follow when driving abroad. UK licenses will no longer be recognized as the same as the EU. And British drivers driving in the EU may require an international driving permit.
  3. The EU will lose access to professional service providers (doctors, veterinarians, engineers, architects, etc.) from the UK. These professions will not be automatically recognized in Europe. And UK professionals with these qualifications will have to jump through regulations to get recognized.
  4. Financial services will also be affected. UK-registered and regulated banks have announced (and started making) plans to close accounts of citizens residing in the EU or EU economic area.

2. Working and Studying Abroad

With the new Brexit deal, working and studying abroad (between the UK and EU) has become more complicated. Since the Four Freedoms of the EU — freedom of movement of goods, capital, persons, and services — no longer apply to British citizens, they do not benefit from visa-less employment and education within the EU.

Work Visas

The UK will issue a new points-based immigration system that treats EU & non-EU citizens the same. With this new system, travelers from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland can travel to the UK for short trips without a visa. However, longer stays and employment will require an application under the new points-based system. As explained in TLDR News’ video on how Brexit will affect work visas, the points-based system requires applicants to accumulate a minimum of 70 points. Out of the 70 points, individuals applying must have a job offer (20 points), demonstrate a high skill level (20 points), and speak English (10 points) — these are mandatory. The remaining 20 points can be achieved through the other criteria as listed by the government.

Education and Erasmus

To study in any of the European countries, British citizens will require a visa from particular EU countries, if their courses run longer than 3 months. Additionally, they will no longer qualify for domestic fees when studying abroad. All of this makes going abroad for education more expensive.

Furthermore, British universities will no longer participate in the Erasmus program. This means that European students won’t be able to study temporarily in the UK through the program. And students who still want to pursue higher education in the UK will have to apply through the new points-based immigration system and deal with higher international fees.

3. Impact on Trade

While Britain was part of the EU, companies could buy and sell goods across EU borders without paying taxes. Additionally, there were no limits on the amount of items that could be traded. However, with the Brexit deal, a few changes come into effect:

Customs/Border Tariffs

Since exiting the EU Customs Union, Great Britain will longer enjoy the benefits of free trade, making the movement of goods across the EU and UK more difficult. Now, British importers and exporters (trading with Europe) are considered non-residents. Because of this, goods moving between the UK and EU now require customs declarations. However, these goods will not be subject to tariffs.

On the other hand, businesses that used to face competition from overseas (EU) companies will enjoy a competitive advantage. This is because UK customers will have to choose between expensive imports and cheaper domestic products.

Supply Chain

Businesses can expect delays in their supply chain, including shipping and deliveries, due to border checks and queues. It is expected that the “EU would immediately implement tough new checks on agri-food products, with no grace period.” This is not good news for perishable goods as they may get caught up in these checks and queues.

VAT Regime

UK will no longer be bound by the EU’s VAT regime. As a result, importers and customers receiving goods from the EU will be subject to VAT for imports. The British government might decide to change the system, including making new goods 0% VAT-rated. However, what exactly will happen in the UK related to the VAT regime is still not concretely decided.

4. Mobile Roaming and Calling Charges

Many are wondering if Brexit will bring roaming charges back to businesses and customers. More specifically, will Brexit mean that phone calls between the EU and UK are considered international?

While part of the EU, British phone carriers were subject to EU phone laws. Through these laws, people could call, text, and use data on the same terms in the United Kingdom and across Europe. In other words, they could use their data at no extra fees, even when within the EU. Unfortunately, these laws no longer apply to UK phone carriers. And carriers are not legally required to offer the same rates as they did before.

As of December 2020, Vodafone confirmed that they had no plans to bring back roaming charges. Other major operators — O2, EE, 3 — haven’t publicly confirmed that they will increase calling rates.

If roaming charges are brought back, businesses in and outside of Britain and the EU can use virtual phone numbers as an alternative. For example, an EU company can get a UK phone number to connect with local customers in the UK without worrying about roaming or international charges.

5. Online Services

Lastly, when within the EU, there was a legal guarantee that the UK would have access to online services. However, this guarantee is no longer valid. Individual providers will need to decide how to make adjustments and amend their provisions.

How Global Call Forwarding Can Help with Brexit

The Brexit deal has led to both victories and uncertainties for people of different sectors in the UK and EU societies. Global Call Forwarding can ease some of these concerns by providing businesses in the UK and EU with virtual phone numbers to help transition more effectively. You can sign up for a European virtual phone number or buy a toll free UK number on our website. Or, speak with our global specialists at 1 (888) 908 6171 to get a better understanding of how we can support your business during this change.

International Phone Etiquette for Business in 2021

Dealing with global customers is not always easy. Add to this, cultural differences, language barriers, and cultural nuances, and you have yourself a messy situation. However, you can prepare better so that you navigate these differences professionally and develop valuable relationships. Follow the appropriate international phone etiquette when conducting business interactions with international customers and clients.

What is Proper International Phone Etiquette?

When working with global customers and clients, you will have to have in-person, phone, and video conversations to move forward or close deals. Oftentimes, people are so used to doing business within their country or locally that they may be unaware of international business conventions.

International phone etiquette is the awareness of the differences and subtleties between various countries and regions and how to navigate these differences in order to communicate effectively.

How to Communicate Well with International Customers

So, what factors of international communication do you need to keep in mind when connecting with global customers? Here are some key elements to pay attention to:

1. Respect their Titles
When conducting business interactions, make sure you are aware of local conventions for addressing your attendees. Different countries have different cultural conventions for addressing one another. For example, in the US, using words such as “guys” may be common during business meetings. However, in countries like Japan and Germany, conventions are different: In Japan, it is polite to address someone by their first name, followed by “san.” On the other hand, in Germany, first names are not preferred. Instead, people are addressed by Herr/Frau followed by their last name. Being aware of these nuances can help you develop demonstrate respect and stronger relationships.

2. Listen Carefully and Actively
When dealing with international clients and business partners, a common challenge is understanding and interpreting accents. A second challenge is misunderstanding cultural references. To counter this issue, listen actively and carefully and when needed, ask for clarification. This is an important part of international phone etiquette. Furthermore, be clear in your own pronunciation and diction; speak slowly and clearly. If required, rephrase your sentence for better clarity and to avoid misunderstandings.

3. Don’t Use Slang
Avoid local and cultural slang, colloquialisms, or references as this may not work in an international setting. You will end up leaving your business partners or clients confused and they may see this as a sign of informality. In some cases, you may even offend some one. Awareness is required to identify and steer away from slang terms, phrases, and buzzwords.

4. Avoid Frustrations and Talking Down
Lastly, be careful when toeing the line of speaking clearly and dumbing down your words and sentences. You may run the risk of offending someone and sounding rude and patronizing. Be patient and focus on the common goal of communicating effectively.

Why is it Important to Practice Phone Etiquette?

Being aware of and practicing international phone etiquette can go a long way in securing essential deals and developing significant relationships. For many companies and clients, conducting business via phone and video conversations is a new shift.

In fact, some may still be apprehensive of closing deals without face-to-face interaction. If you do not show respect during phone conversations or are unaware of international business conventions, you may lose a valuable business relationship. And so, practicing phone etiquette can help you ease any discomfort and hesitancy.

The Do’s and Don’t of International Phone Etiquette

Below, we will look at the Do’s and Don’ts of international business phone etiquette for the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • China
  • South Africa
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • UAE
  • India
  • UK
  • Italy
  • USA
  • Japan

Australia australia

Do: Be bold. The business culture is accepting and respectful of new perspectives, even if they contradict others’ point of view. Expect business calls to be conducted in a relaxed affair, often casual and not purely focused on business. You may even be invited to informal gatherings outside of work.

Don’t: Avoid being too formal and procedural; business in Australia is often casual. Don’t schedule calls during the afternoons; Australian value and respect a work/life balance.

Brazil brazil

Do: People on the phone often confirm the identity of who they are speaking to, even if the phone call was arranged. So, expect to reiterate who you are.

Don’t Don’t be taken back by interruptions during important conversations. Enthusiastic and lively conversations are part of the Brazilian culture and interruptions and informal chatting are common.

China china

Do: Answer phone calls no matter where you are or what you are doing. Personal relationships are essential to the Chinese business culture, so strive to maintain relationships.

Don’t Don’t ignore calls, even if you are unprepared. Avoid rushing into decision-making or deal-closing processes; take time to nurture and create relationships.

France france

Do: The French have a conversational style of communication. Expect interruptions and enthusiastic tones.

Don’t: Avoid making small talk; it is often considered unnecessary and can make the recipient uncomfortable. Don’t schedule calls for small matters that could easily be discussed in an email. Lastly, don’t speak in French unless you speak the language fluently.

Germany germany

Do: Germany follows a formal code of conduct when it comes to business meetings and calls. They value efficiency and directness. It is normal to introduce yourself by stating your name, last name (surname), and the company you represent. Additionally, when addressing someone, use Herr/Frau (Mr/Mrs) and the person’s last name (surname) instead of their first name. Respect authorities and hierarchies.

Don’t: Avoid making business calls in the evening; specifically, after 5pm (M-T) and 4pm (F).

India india

Do: Begin by building a relationship or rapport through friendly and polite conversation.

Don’t: Avoid rushing right into business talk. Say “We’ll try” instead of “No” as a polite way of refusing. Avoid answering other calls when speaking with a client; the client should be your main priority.

Italy italy

Do: Get to the point quickly during business calls; Italian businesspeople are known to stay focused and will remind you when you begin to ramble. Focus on short-term goals and plans.

Don’t: Avoid small talk and casual conversation not related to work. Long-term goals and plans may not be discussed in every conversation.

phone etiquette

Japan japan

Do: Schedule business calls during office hours. Be aware of the meaning of the word “Yes” — unlike in the West, “yes” may mean maybe or perhaps instead of acceptance. Usually, “yes” is used as a polite alternative to “no.” Respect hierarchies and authorities.

Don’t: Avoid answering phone calls in public (business meetings, restaurants, public transport). Don’t slam the phone at the end of the call; place it down gently instead.

Mexico mexico

Do: Persistent calling is acceptable; don’t give up too easily.

Don’t: Most Mexican business is done during in-person meetings and so don’t try to close a deal over the phone.

Russia russia

Do: Be patient. Scheduling meetings and progressing through business processes and transactions can take a while.

Don’t: Avoid trying to close a deal through phone conversations as most business transactions and deals are made via in-person meetings.

South Africa south africa

Do: Business in South Africa relies on physical appearances and so in-person meetings are preferred over phone conversations.

Don’t: Business in South Africa occurs in a slow and orderly fashion and so avoid asking for specific deadlines or fast negotiations. Don’t use translators; English is the language business is conducted in.

Spain spain

Do: Be prepared for a lengthy business call filled with small talk and arguments relating to work.

Don’t: Greeting with “Hola” is considered disrespectful.

United Arab Emirates uae

Do: Silence is common when deliberating over key decisions. Be wary of key nuances in the English language; for example, “yes” may mean perhaps or maybe instead agreement as it does in the West.

Don’t: Avoid asking how female relatives (wives and daughters) are doing—this is considered highly inappropriate.

United Kingdom uk

Do: Expect plenty of niceties and small talk before a meeting begins. Time is valuable; be punctual and apologize when late.

Don’t: Avoid time-wasting processes. Don’t eat when talking (in-person or on the phone).

United States of America us

Do: The American business culture is accepting and encouraging of conducting business over the phone or video conferencing; in-person meetings are not always required. Expect business decisions to be made quickly.

Don’t: Even though American business meetings are informal and casual in tone, punctuality and deadlines are important. So, don’t be late to meetings or in delivering projects and tasks.

Invest in the Right Tools for International Communication

Global Call Forwarding can support your international communication efforts with our international toll free numbers. You can sign up online or speak with our global specialists by calling 1 (888) 908 6171.

7 Reasons to Get an International 800 Number

An international 800 number can help your business gain more credibility, improve customer satisfaction, and boost overall sales. This article features 7 reasons why you should get international toll free numbers for your business. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Benefits of Getting an International 800 Number?

International 800 numbers — also known as international toll free numbers or ITFNs — are toll free numbers assigned to different countries. Calls made to these numbers are forwarded to representatives in different countries or locations for answering.

Residents and contacts within those countries can call the number for free. While incoming calls to the recipient (your business) are forwarded to your country or another location as desired. Say your UK business has an Australia international 800 number. Australian residents can call this number for free and calls are then automatically routed to your office in the UK.

international 800 numbers

So, how can 800 numbers benefit your business? Here is a look at the top advantages.

1. Offer Customers a Free Calling Option

With an international 800 number, your international customers and contacts have the option to call your business for free. Being given easy access to connect with a business greatly increases the chances of customer engagement. Whether it is to inquire about a new product, plan a partnership, or receive customer support, individuals will hesitate less when calling a business with a toll free number.

2. Improve Your Company’s Professional Image

800 toll free numbers have a reputation. For years, small businesses and large corporations have used these business numbers to make customer calling simple. Toll free numbers are associated with large and established corporations that care for their customers. And so, getting an 800 number improves your professional image as a business that’s established and customer-focused.

3. Acquire More Credibility

Not only do 800 numbers increase customer engagement, but they also make your business seem more trustworthy and credible. A toll free number makes you more accessible and easily reachable. Customers can rest assured that when they need your business, they can connect with you quickly and without obstacles. This increases credibility and gives your customers confidence in your abilities to meet their needs.

4. Easy Mobility

ITFNs make it possible for you to move anywhere within the country or the world without changing your number. You can have incoming calls forwarded to any number, line, or VoIP phone of your choice. And so, even if you decide to move to a new location, simply change the forwarding specifics and keep your numbers.

5. Gain Local Presence in Different Countries

ITFNs enable you to advertise locally in different countries across the globe. You can, therefore, develop connections with local customers, advertisers, vendors, and other business contacts by creating and maintaining a local presence.

6. Improve International Sales

By advertising locally and entering your business in local directories and other platforms for locations you are trying to expand into, you can increase brand visibility and awareness. Both of these are important when it comes to increasing international sales. Having an 800 number indicates to customers that your business is positioned to do business, offer a service, and it demonstrates your business is local to their area.

7. Offer Global Customer Service

Finally, you can offer global customer service by staying connected and reachable. Good and quick customer service leads to high customer satisfaction rates. And this is the best way to maintain and retain valuable customers, as customers need to know you are available to support their issues and concerns.

Ready to Purchase an 800 Number?

To get international 800 numbers, simply sign up on our website by choosing the country you want to target or offer customer service to. You can add additional numbers later once your service is activated. Furthermore, having an international 800 number is an ideal way to strategically offer communications and customer service. Purchase one today to ensure your international expansion connects with customers in the most efficient, effective ways possible.

Becoming an Entrepreneur in 2021

There has never been a time more convenient to launch a successful business than now. Would-be entrepreneurs that have been contemplating a shift to starting their own successful venture now have the tools to create businesses that would not have been possible in years past. With the stability of 9-to-5’s becoming a thing of the past, more people want to take control of their future and steer their destiny towards achieving their dreams. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy but the rewards are worth the push.

Becoming an Entrepreneur using Technology

Thanks to Global Call Forwarding’s innovations in telecommunications, you can upgrade your business using some of the technologies now available, thanks to cloud computing, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and more. So, if you are considering the launch of a new business venture, here are some tips for success.

Think 24/7/365 Availability

One significant change in our modern world is being able to harness the 24 hours in a day, the full 7 days in a week, and the 365-day markets that are available at our fingertips. Furthermore, being able to instantly access new customers and clients in different countries can further scale your idea from just a thought you had on the way to work to a booming, successful entity quickly.

By using virtual phone numbers equipped with an add-on called “time of day routing,” you can handle inbound calls around the clock and for different time zones around the world. For instance, if you have a side business with regular business hours, you can forward those calls and voicemails to call centers and other staff using time of day routing. This can help you balance the transition of working a day job while waiting for your business to grow so you can strike out on your own.

Think Outside the Box

Because virtual phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding are an evolving technology, your business can use them in creative ways that can gain a competitive edge. For instance, you may have found that your business is popular in the New York City metropolitan area. However, as you may be aware, New Yorkers prefer to handle their business locally. In response, your business can use virtual phone numbers, with area codes in the NYC area and its 5 boroughs to appeal directly to local communities. Best of all, your business doesn’t have to be based there, especially considering the high cost of living and expensive real estate. Using the techniques of building a virtual office, virtual phone numbers take care of the communication aspect of your business – even if you’re located outside of the country.

Why is this possible? When a virtual phone number is dialed, the call is immediately routed to another phone number, the destination phone number. This destination phone number can be located in nearly any country around the world, immediately broadening your company’s appeal and allowing your new business to be instantly located in favorable business climates.

Becoming an Entrepreneur in 2019
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 ID#5073704

Leverage Technology to Scale Your Business

When it comes to modern businesses, the keyword is “scale.” In other words, does your business have the capability to grow exponentially while still maintaining the quality of service that you provided beforehand? If the answer is yes, then you should seriously consider using Global Call Forwarding’s add-ons, such as “outbound calling.

Outbound calling is a popular add-on that enables your business to call phone numbers in other countries to call recipients directly. Without this option, the caller ID will register a long string of numbers and letters that callers aren’t likely to answer. With outbound calling, your business can use a virtual phone number – which is identical to “normal” landlines – and have this reflect on the receiver’s caller ID, ensuring they never know the number calling isn’t a local, standard landline.

As an example of outbound calling, if you have a Canada virtual phone number and want to contact potential clients in Montreal, those numbers will appear on their caller ID. Contrast this with calling from the United Arab Emirates, where a +971 country code will appear on the caller ID – not to mention the charges of hefty long-distance fees, or even worse, the potential blocking by either party’s service provider.

Avoid Being a Perfectionist

It is only natural to want everything to go smoothly in the early days of your business. Achieving perfection may be ideal, but in business, it can be detrimental to your new endeavor. For instance, you may be handling a large number of potential contracts with distributors for your new product. By using “call recording” – a popular add-on – you can record those conversations when you’re weighing the various options available. And for some absent-minded entrepreneurs, it helps to have a useful reference for when things become less than perfect. This can help reduce stress in the early days of your business when you’re bootstrapping a new idea with minimal resources and limited attention.

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Global Call Forwarding can help you start your new business in 2019. For more information on the most recent advancements in telecom services and subscription services available from the leading service provider, visit www.globalcallforwarding.com

NANP: The North American Numbering Plan Explained

Need to get a phone number within the NANP plan but don’t know anything about the plan? Here is everything you need to know about the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), dialing codes, phone number formats, and more.

What is the North American Numbering Plan (NANP)?

The North American Numbering Plan — also known as the NANP — is a telephone numbering plan that serves 20 North American countries (listed below). The NANP region mainly covers the US and its territories, Canada, and some Caribbean countries.

The participating countries share numbering resources among themselves. The NANP was developed in 1947 by AT&T and implemented in 1951. The purpose was to simplify and facilitate easy direct international calling.

Format of NANP Phone Numbers

NANP phone numbers are assigned the country code (1) by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). NANP numbers are ten-digits long. This includes a three-digit Numbering Plan Area (NPA) code — an area code followed by a seven-digit local number or subscriber number. The format is usually represented as: +1 NXX-NXX-XXXX.

Which Countries are Included in the NANP?

  • Anguilla: 264
  • Antigua & Barbuda: 268
  • Bahamas (the): 242
  • Barbados: 246
  • Bermuda: 441
  • British Virgin Islands (the): 284
  • Canada: multiple local area codes
  • Cayman Islands (the): 345
  • Dominica: 767
  • Dominican Republic (the): 809/829/849
  • Grenada: 473
  • Jamaica: 876/658
  • Montserrat: 664
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis: 869
  • Saint Lucia: 758
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: 784
  • Sint Maarten: 721
  • Trinidad and Tobago: 868
  • Turks & Caicos: 649
  • United States of America: multiple local area codes
  • US Territories:
  • American Samoa: 684
  • Guam: 671
  • Northern Mariana Islands: 670
  • Puerto Rico: 787/939
  • US Virgin Islands: 340

Additional Facts about the North American Numbering Plan

Dialing between two NANP countries is quick and easy. Users simply dial the country dialing code, followed by the NPA area code, and a 7-digit local number. For example, when calling from the US to Barbados, users will dial +1 (246) xxx-xxxx.

Even though all numbers within the NANP share the same numbering plan and resources, calls made between NANP countries are not considered domestic calls. They are considered international calls and are charged international or long-distance calling rates. Fortunately, these rates are not much higher than domestic rates.

To call a NANP country from outside the NAN plan, users need to dial their exit codes, trunk prefix (1), and the national subscriber number (NSN). The format is:
(exit code) 1 (area code) xxx-xxxx.

For example, someone calling a Canada number from France would dial the exit code (00), trunk prefix (1), Jamaica’s area code (876), and the subscriber number (xxx-xxxx):
00 1 876 xxx-xxxx.

Learn More About NANP

You can learn more about the North American Numbering Plans by visiting our homepage. We provide international phone numbers from countries participating within the North American Numbering Plan. Find your new NANP phone number or buy a USA phone number by browsing through our website or receive assistance by contacting our sales team.

5 Ways to Leverage Time-Based Routing for Global Expansion

Improve your business’ reach and connect with more customers globally with time-based routing. Use this feature to make your business more accessible and to conduct operations in a flexible and reliable manner.

5 Ways to Use Time-Based Routing to Grow Globally

Time-based routing — also known as time of day routing — is a call routing or forwarding feature based on the time customers or business contacts call your business. You can set various call forwarding rules to best suit your business’ communication needs.

For example, with time of day routing, you can forward incoming calls during specific times of the day or days of the week to different numbers, lines, or devices. And so, send incoming calls during specific time periods to your satellite office, home phone, VoIP number, voicemail, or smartphone.

Here are 5 ways you can use time of day routing for global expansion.

1. Expand to New Regions & Time Zones

Part of running an international company or expanding globally means that your business will have customers in different regions and time zones. This means that you need to be available for sales and customer support during these regions’ peak hours. Which, for some companies, depending on their global reach, means being available at all hours.

Time-based routing can help you route calls to satellite offices in these regions during their peak hours and then back to another location during their peak hours. This way, your business is available for its clientele whenever they need you.

2. BPO & Off-Shore Team Management

Most businesses that want to expand their reach globally choose business process outsourcing or BPOs to conduct standard business princesses and functions and ensure the continuity of operations overseas. Generally, these services include:

  • Sales and lead generation
  • Customer service
  • Accounting and payroll
  • Human resources

With time of day routing, you can have better control over your BPO and off-shore team management. For instance, have calls routed to these services during specific times of the day when the call traffic at your business is high or during off-hours.

3. Remote & Distributed Team Management

Time of day routing is also useful for businesses that have remote workers and distributed teams. Call management is made easy with this feature as you can have calls sent to these remote workers no matter where they are located.

Additionally, you can easily add or remove users to/ from specific ring groups. You can manage and keep track of your distributed teams with this simple functionality.

4. Flexibility for Entrepreneurs & Solopreneurs

Solopreneurs and small business owners need good call management to ensure they are not overwhelmed by customer calls. For this reason, time-based routing can help entrepreneurs decide which times to be active via phone and when to let calls go to voicemail or outsourcing services.

Maybe a tech solopreneur wants to accept calls only between 12 pm and 2:30 pm. For the rest of the day, calls can be forwarded to voicemail or remote offices, as needed. This way, time-based routing ensures business owners more flexibility so they can continue to focus on the product and service development or marketing efforts.

5. Work from Anywhere!

Lastly, time of day routing frees users to work from anywhere. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure or need to relocate, etc., simply have incoming calls sent to your location during time periods convenient for both you and your customers.

Leverage Time-Based Routing And Succeed Globally

If you are ready to expand globally with convenience and ease, time of day routing can be a highly beneficial tool. Get time-based routing when you sign up for any virtual phone number plan with Global Call Forwarding. You can set and adjust time of day settings for your calls as and when needed. Everything can be managed through your online control panel and go into effect immediately. Sign up on our website or call us today to learn more!

12 Rules for Winning Emerging Markets in Asia

From expanding your business to the UAE to opening a field office in Russia, you need the right tools and contacts to win in emerging markets in Asian countries. Let’s look at 12 rules to pay attention to if you plan to do business in Asia successfully.

How to Win Emerging Markets in Asia?

Asia is home to many up and coming countries that focus on everything from manufacturing to technology to agriculture and more. Countries in Asia include: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

While some of these countries are well-established, they are still open to foreign investment. And the emerging markets have the right conditions for foreign businesses. So, how can your company do business in Asia successfully? Here are 12 rules to be aware of and follow.

1. Establish Virtual Offices & Enter the Local Market

Establish virtual offices in target markets by subscribing to an international call forwarding service like Global Call Forwarding. You can create a virtual local office in any location and it is a simulated presence. Incoming calls are forwarded seamlessly across borders to your headquarters, call centers, mobile phones, or computers using VoIP technology.

And you can use toll free numbers or local numbers so callers have no long-distance fees to pay when they connect with your business. In this manner, callers think your office is local and are less reluctant to do business with you.

2. Get International Toll Free Numbers & Local Numbers

When you choose to do business in Asia, you need to have strong and reliable communication channels. This means that you need to make your business available to locals in target Asian countries.

Global Call Forwarding provides the largest selection of local phone numbers and toll free numbers worldwide. Its international call forwarding service covers over 160 countries, including cities, states, and regions around the world. You can get Asia virtual business numbers such as toll free or local numbers for countries you want to expand to.

Then, offer locals a free or local calling rate when they call your business. This can help your business attract more customers from different parts of the world and build strong customer relations.

3. Stay Reachable with Virtual Communication Tools

Virtual communication tools or virtual call center software can help your business stay connected and reachable no matter where your business or teams are located. Here are some ways virtual communication tools can support international business:

  • Call forwarding — route calls to your headquarters, satellite offices, remote workers, BPOs, home office, smartphone, and more, as needed.
  • Call routing — forward calls to any location based on time, location of the caller, or skills needed.
  • Call recording — record all incoming and outgoing calls to review in the future.
  • Cloud IVR — an automated voice response that assists callers with menu options to resolve their call.
  • Voicemail, Fax, and SMS to email — send voicemails, fax, and text messages to an email inbox.
  • Local ringback tones — make your business “local” using local ringback tones that are heard by customers when they call your business.

4. Conduct Market Research: Understand Your Demographic

Before taking any business to a new market, it is important to conduct market research and test your product. Doing so can help you understand your demographic and prepare for success. Use market research to find underdeveloped or under-served market areas. Find new opportunities in market segments that your competitors do not serve well. And, further identify customer needs in those areas and take steps to satisfy those needs.

5. Learn from Product Testing

Planning and forecasting are necessary, but they may not predict the market impact of product or service changes. Rely on testing, either in-house or in the marketplace, to get insight into the market. Testing allows you to make changes as needed before full market release. You may even conduct pre-service surveys of potential leads and customers to get an idea of what they expect from a business like yours and your products.

6. Study Your Competitors

This is an important part of doing business in any new market: survey and study your competitors. Try to get a complete understanding of the actions, strategies, and tactics used by successful competitors. Buy competitor products to learn their mechanisms, strengths, and weaknesses. Try to visualize how competitors will respond to your business strategies. This will give you insights into what needs to be done to best serve your customers and boost your business.

7. Put Emphasis on Customer Feedback

To know how exactly your business is doing, you need to hear from your customers. Customer feedback will let you know if you are fulfilling your customers’ needs and what their preferences and expectations are. Additionally, outsiders who are familiar with your business can provide valuable advice on market desires. Listening to outsiders can help you become a stronger competitor.

8. Hire Local & Skilled Talent

You can boost your virtual presence by hiring local, remote employees to conduct sales and customer support. Additionally, hiring skilled talent will ensure that your employees are prepared and fit for the job and bring in more customers.

To do this, it is important to consider competitive salaries, benefits and perks, company culture, and opportunities for career growth. Engage prospective employees by looking at career hubs like LinkedIn or Facebook. Advertise openings on your websites. When you make an offer, be willing to negotiate.

9. Pay Attention to Employee Experience (EX)

Besides hiring talented employees, you also want to retain good and valuable employees. For this reason, pay attention to your company’s EX rates. Ensure employees have good working conditions, growth opportunities within the company, and other incentives to stay put. EX determines how your employees treat your business and your customers. Happy employees lead to happy customers, and overall greater business success.

10. Keep Up With Local Trends

As with any market, to do business in Asia successfully, you need to be aware of current trends and expectations. Don’t get buried only within your own business. Follow industry developments, regulatory changes, market trends, and competitors’ new product announcements.

Your business needs to keep evolving so that it can continue to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. When you repeat certain behaviors and patterns, your competition can begin to anticipate your actions. Be less predictable by changing your operational methods. You may find that different approaches can accelerate growth opportunities.

11. Compete on Experience Instead of Price

While the prices for products and services do play a big role in customers choosing a business to invest in, customers are often willing to pay more for high-quality and reputable products and services. Strive to provide unrivaled products and customer service by doing the following:

  1. Make it easy to do business with your company
  2. Make your business customer-centric
  3. Humanize your brand through effective marketing and communications
  4. Provide customer support even when sales are not pending

12. Exercise Care When Cost-Cutting

Lastly, do not allow cost-cutting-steps to degrade your products and services. When that happens, your competition will take advantage of and possibly steal business from you.

Related: 11 Global Expansion Best Practices to Enter New Markets

Ready to Do Business in Asia?

Tap into emerging Asian markets by being prepared and ready to take on whatever comes your way. With the right business plan, advanced technology, and resourceful employees, sit back and watch as your business grows and expands across the world!