The Internet has been around for about 30 years and the changes it has made in the business world are numerous and varied. It is widely accepted that the Internet has made the greatest progress in human life over the past century than any other invention. The same can be said about how it affects international business.
With e-commerce growing as fast as it is, most businesses in the next decade will be done on the Internet, via the Internet or over the Internet. For example, in the United States, e-commerce sales accounted for 16% of all sales in the second quarter of 2020, while in the UK e-commerce accounted for a third of all retail sales.
The large-scale proliferation of mobile technology has expanded the user base on the Internet and more people are accessing the Internet to shop or interact in a business way than ever before. More than 5 billion people have mobile devices, with a large proportion of these people, specifically in advanced economies and BRICS countries, having access to the Internet through these devices. It is a growing industry and this growth is expected to continue over the next decade. Online business and e-commerce are the future of any business growth, as this growth comes from a range of business models, which provide both technological and non-technological services such as translation services, products and information.
The Internet allows your products to be found by people from anywhere in the world, then bought, discussed and classified. E-commerce has accounted for most of the growth in global business in the last five years, with a remarkable increase in the last 18 months.
In addition, not only the sales and purchases made online, but the ability to obtain raw materials, knowledge and software and establish networks around the world, have made this sector the fastest growing in the business world. The ability of small businesses to compete on the same platforms as established conglomerates has changed the way we do business forever. It is a global, borderless and international business.
International business without borders
Because e-commerce offers the option to internationalize, it will provide opportunities for continuous growth for companies to enter new markets without costly installation costs and with fewer barriers to the market.
The history of business has been that established markets in the developed world are capable of producing markets and transporting goods and services to the less favored. Middle-class markets were prized as the bastion of capitalist development and progress. The Internet has managed to turn it around. The smallest producer from the farthest location from the major markets is able to market its products to all over the “cybervers”. Globalization will only take one click.
The advantages are clear; however, there are several disadvantages and they are generally related to the fact that companies do not plan to expand into international markets.
If you want to internationalize, there are several things you need to do: –
- Check that yours company registration covers international trade. In some countries, including the UK, you only need to register for taxes in the country where you are established and you may not need to register the company itself. Make sure you follow the rules and follow them.
- Use professional translation services to speak to your customers in their own language, so your website should be fully interlanguage. As Nelson Mandela pointed out, you speak to a man in a language he understands and it goes to his head; speak to him in his own language and this will reach his heart. This is true and therefore it makes business sense to have the ability for all major languages to access and interact with your business. If you want to target a specific geographical region, the company must ensure that the translated version of the product and service sheets is accurate and produced by professionals with knowledge and experience in several languages.
- Sign up for the national industry if you are in a specific industry, such as technology and manufacturing. If you sell technology products online, your business will need to have the right return and warranty policy, with a clear return shipping system and a perfect refund if needed.
- Search tax credits for international startups. There are many tax breaks for large and small businesses operating in various countries; this can help you decide if you want to open a branch in the specific region. Your business needs to investigate these tax relief opportunities and be aware of standard payments of actual business taxes.
- Make yours research on culture and history. Understanding a market is important and will essentially determine what you are able to market. Historically, this would be an area of geographic analysis, and this may still be the case, but there is also the online community that you need to think about and address. If you’re an online community, spend some time in chat rooms and meet some of the customers. Big data will never be so important, as you will be able to analyze longitudinal data from everything from competitors to potential customers and more. Again, the Internet itself can provide solutions to some of these disadvantages.
Although the Internet has opened many avenues for greater trade and development and turned small businesses into global conglomerates, much work remains to be done to comply with national laws and legislation.
The opportunities for companies of any size, selling quality products and services with the ability to communicate effectively with their consumers and potential customers, are huge on the Internet. However, to take advantage of it, your business needs to be prepared and you need to plan ahead. Part of this preparation should be as informed as possible, and hopefully this article has allowed you to begin the process of gathering information to get you started on your path.