Being work-at-home moms or mom entrepreneurs shouldn’t stop you from going global. That’s right. You can expand and grow internationally.
If you are looking for foreign clients or contacts, chances are you either:
a. Run an already well established business and are looking to expand your business abroad in order to reach a larger audience.
b. You have a product that is simply suited for a particular country or culture and want to make sure to get a slice of that pie.
Either way, congratulations my friend, going international is the new way forward!
Here are my three tips which I personally guarantee will help you find and attract your new foreign clients and/or partners.
1. Find out Where Foreign Clients are Hiding
So, work-at-home moms who want to reach a particular segment of an international market, where is the first place you’d look?
I’m thinking social media channels.
That’s right! Anybody’s first guess will be Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is particularly viable for making first contacts because nearly all niche communities are organised in groups. Chances are that your target foreign clients will be “hiding” in groups which have a clearly labelled name such as ‘German professionals abroad’ or ‘Italian manufactures and distributors’.
Join the group, introduce yourself, post your questions. Don’t wait for people to get back to you, contact members of the group individually and ask for their help/advice/recommendation.
Personal contacts are the key in any international business development.
Also, don’t get attached to the traditional social media channels.
Did you know that pretty much every country has their own social media channel? It might be worth your while looking into them even if you don’t speak the language (Google translator does magic here).
2. Build a Relationship
Rule number one of international business management is to establish a relationship with your foreign client or partner.
Yes, building relationships in traditional ways will obviously work in any situation, but here is what you need to consider when creating or at least considering your foreign business strategy:
a. Time zones. Don’t schedule a virtual meeting or Skype call with Russia at 10am PST as it will be 10pm there. If you want to work with them, arrange your times around their working schedule.
If you arrange webinars or other online events that are of interest, plan them so people in other timezones can participate too (There’s nothing worse when I want to attend a live webinar or Twitter chat but it’s 3am my time).
b. Respect foreign culture. Refrain from criticizing or being a culture ‘snob’. This is guaranteed to create an international conflict and eliminate any chances of you working with that particular culture or client.
c. Express interest in their local happenings. Make sure you are up to date with their news. Is there something important happening that perhaps might influence your business? For example, if your target clients are in South Asia where they may have suffered from a hurricane or a tsunami, you can bet the internet connection will be cut off or very poor. You might want to hold your horses until they sort it out and get back on their feet.
Do ask what you can do to help and offer yourself and your contacts for general or particular support. Kindness builds the strongest relationships!
d. Be curious, learn about that culture as much as you can. The more you’ll understand their background, the more you’ll understand them, the challenges they face, the problems you can solve for them and the easier it’ll be for you to tailor your products and services to that particular market.
3. Contact the Local Foreign Client
How many foreigners do you know personally?
How many live in your neighbourhood?
How many shops, takeaways and restaurants are run by foreigners?
I bet there are a few of them where you live or work. As work-at-home moms, we have the blessing of meeting potential foreign clients in the daycare center, the play school, the pediatrician’s office along with the traditional professional associations and mixers.
Approach them and ask for recommendations and contacts.
You might say, but I don’t want to expand to China, so why would I speak to an owner of a local Chinese restaurant?
Here’s an insider tip: all foreigners stick together, no matter where they are from or where they live. You’ll be surprised at how many people from other backgrounds that Chinese guy might know.
Reach out, spend time getting to know people and there will be someone who will have that ideal contact that you are looking for, let’s say, somewhere in Greece.
Ready to go global as a work-at-home mom? Tell me which ONE step can you take this week to find your next foreign client or contact?
About the Author: Katya Barry is an International Business and Expat Coach who helps find foreign clients, expand businesses overseas and create the most of international experiences. She is a Russian expat mum married to an Irish man and runs her business on an international scale from her current home base in Germany. You can also join her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KatyaBarry and Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/katyabarry