10 steps to take your training business international
Creating a robust business model that succeeds throughout the length and breadth of the UK is one of the first and most important steps for an Owner / MD of a training company.
The next step for most ambitious Owners / MD’s is to take their business into International markets.
However, it’s not a given that just because you’re enjoying success on home soil, that your success is automatically going to translate to a Global stage.
To get a firm foothold in an International market and lay down some solid foundations for success, you’re going to have to wrestle with challenges, considerations and decisions that haven’t affected you up to now.
Indeed, before going multi-national, one training provider that we supply software for, Premier Training International, spent a long time developing integrated, scalable and flexible business systems that compliment current learning trends, delivering a holistic business enterprise.
10 Point Checklist
Establishing a lasting International business is never as easy as just sending a few mailshots, advertising your training services or spending some time on social media. Indeed there are many factors to consider when selling or marketing your training overseas.
Start by considering this proven 10 point checklist before you push the green button and launch your business into International markets;
- Have you completed extensive market research to confirm that there is an actual business opportunity and target market of sufficient size to support your organisation?
- Can you take the same products, services and business model that have succeeded in the UK and make these a success abroad…or is a period of product and service development required? This will come down to aligning with the key drivers in those foreign markets and again makes extensive market research critical.
- Have you built-up a network of partners / vendors in your target markets? These people will prove invaluable when adapting your offering to fit in with other cultures and societies…they will also help you avoid many common pitfalls and get up and running more quickly. These partners will also be useful advisors when considering what changes you need to make to your offering and marcomms strategy.
- Is there an overseas market very similar to your own in the UK? This will undoubtedly have less barriers to entry and your offering will require less adjustment. Make life easier for yourself and cut your teeth in these markets rather than jumping in with the most difficult – despite how attractive it is.
- Are you taking your eyes off your current business? Don’t neglect the business that has delivered the success you are currently enjoying. Your new venture will certainly swallow up time, personnel and financial resource. Ensure you have the structure, processes, training management software and capacity in place in the UK before diverting some of your attention overseas.
6. Are you going to need an overseas Accountant or Financial Advisor? Taxes, legislation, auditing, compliance, all of these vary dramatically from country to country. It’s also certainly worth scoping-out potential overseas banks well in advance, as some of these may be easier to work with than others – impacting on your resources and cash flow. Research whether it’s worthwhile establishing a new business entity in the target country to make finances run more smoothly.
- Do you have a firm handle on the competition, their positioning and USP’s? Ask yourself, why would an overseas customer buy your training when they can buy from a local provider? Large well-known brands will have leverage in International markets, but not Med-Large businesses. You will need to work hard – and smart – to differentiate yourself from native vendors, offer real value to the buyer, and overcome issues of trust.
- Carefully assess, and verify with your International partners, how your new venture will be received abroad. Have you identified the most effective marketing communications channels? Have you set realistic and measurable goals that will be regularly tracked and reported on? Will your brand carry the same resonance abroad? Will you need new digital assets such as a website or marketing collaterals? And finally, how will you close the deal? This is where a proven consultative selling approach will make the difference. Quickly assembling a library of client testimonials and success stories in your new market will also go a long way to helping you establish trust and credibility.
- Is the model for your International venture flexible and scalable? Put some thought, structure and business systems in place for this as early as possible so that you don’t get caught out if your overseas business really takes off.
- Have you researched and assembled a quality supply-chain of local trainers? Will these trainers need training themselves to be able to deliver your courses? Time spent here will undoubtedly improve reliability, reputation and of course profit margins.
The more due diligence you can carry out well in advance of a significant business venture such as taking your training business overseas, the greater your chances of success. You will also limit the risk and disruption that you potentially expose your business to.
Using a proven checklist such as the 10 points set-out above to carefully consider all potential situations and outcomes, relative to the current strengths and weaknesses of your organisation, is an essential phase in any business transformation – but even more so with International growth.
Assess every element of your current organisational strategy, structure and systems – do not skip a step and take the time to do it right.
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