Does the thought of trading internationally scare you? Or, are you already there? If not, it could be a very viable option for expanding your business. It can mean almost endless opportunity for your small business.

Selling globally can do a couple key things for your business. First of all, it can dramatically increase the sales life of your existing products and services because you’re finding new markets to sell them in. It can also decrease your dependence on the current markets you sell in, this is especially important if you see a lot of fluctuation in sales due to season changes or something similar.

Are you ready to take on the world’s markets? Here are some things you should consider before you do.

First, have you done your research? Will your products or services sell in a different culture? Are you, yourself comfortable in that culture? Does this new audience already have some knowledge of your product, or will you have to undergo a large education component to introduce it? Can the info structure of the country physically support the needs of your business and products?

Going into the unknown can be detrimental to your business and its success. Research and educate yourself on as many potential scenarios as you can. Preparation is key.

As the old adage goes, don’t assume. Don’t assume that what is popular here in the U.S. will be popular in a foreign country. Don’t assume that everyone will speak English. You must be willing to familiarize yourself with a country’s needs and their language and customs.

Next, how will you logistically get your product there? What are your shipping options and what are the costs involved? Are you familiar with their currency, postage, etc.? Will you use agents and distributers? Also, be sure that your packaging will meet international requirements.

There really are a multitude of things you need to consider before taking the steps to grow your business internationally. We suggest finding a consultant with experience in the area and go from there. It can mean unforeseen growth for your business, but you certainly do not want to set yourself up for failure.