Written by Ashley Northington:

Establishing a successful business in your hometown or where you reside is an amazing feat. Expanding that successful business to a national base is even more impressive. Moving into an international marketplace may be even more impressive and exciting.

While the excitement and potential for success may move many entrepreneurs in this direction, it is critical to have certain pieces in place before completing the global expansion puzzle. In order to effectively move your company from domestic to international, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider in order to have a smooth transition.

To that end, here are five must-have pieces you’ll need before expanding your business to a global marketplace.

Customer Base.

Obviously, having customers who want your product or service is critical for any business. When considering expanding your domestic operation into international territory, make sure you conduct your due diligence to ensure there is a demand for your product or service in the country in which you wish to market.

A product that sells well in your hometown many not perform well statewide or nationally. Likewise, a product that sells well nationally may to sell well in another country. Before you make the leap, spend time researching potential foreign markets.

Experts advise small businesses to start moving globally by looking for markets that are similar to the one in which you currently operate. This may lead you to a foreign or international market to sell your wares.

Translation Services.

Once you identify your potential international target, it will be critical to have individuals on your team who are familiar with the culture and language of the country in which you wish to market. From communicating with decision makers to consumers to web sites and other marketing pieces, it will be critical for you to ensure you not only understand any documents put before you, but that you also create documents and information that are aligned with the appropriate culture and language.

To ensure you are communicating successfully, it may be prudent for you to hire a staff member or two who can handle this aspect, or contract with a translation service or global marketing company who can manage this part of the work.

Exporting Services.

If you plan to sell products to another company, it is critical to have an exporting service that can effectively handle your needs. UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions, would make for an ideal exporting partner.

Getting the packages to your target country is one thing, but making sure your business is compliant with all of the exporting rules and regulations is a different game. It may be wise to spend time researching rules and regulations on export.gov in advance of shipping products internationally.

You can learn more about exporting during Global Entrepreneurship Week, held November 15-17, hosted by the Nashville Business Incubation Center. You can also learn more about how UPS can help you export your goods at the UPS Export Challenge held on November 17.

Payment Processing.

Before you begin to do business internationally, you’ll need to ensure your payment processing system is set up to handle international transactions. In some instances, PayPal or Stripe may be sufficient. In other situations, a service provided by your bank or some other third-party payment processor may be necessary. The key is to do the research and select the right one for your business and your new global customers.

Rules & Regulations.

This one is obvious, right? When you begin expanding your territory into foreign markets, there will be new rules and regulations you will have to follow – especially when it comes to fees and exporting requirements. There are several resources, such as Export.gov and UPS’s TradeAbility that can help you along the way. You may also want to check with international trade attorneys, such as those at Frost, Brown, Todd to be sure you’re meeting all the requirements.

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS INTO A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE DURING NBIC’S GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK. REGISTER FOR TICKETS AT NBICONLINE.COM.

Ashley Northington is a marketing communication professional and entrepreneur. She is the founder and agency director at DENOR Brands & Public Relations. Learn more about Ashley at ashleynorthington.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @ashnorthington. Learn more about her company at denorbrands.com and follow the company on Twitter and Facebook @DENORPR.

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Abigail DaSilva
Abigail DaSilva is the marketing coordinator at NBIC, channeling her passion and creativity to support the organization’s mission of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs. A proud graduate of Tennessee State University, Abigail holds a degree in design, which fuels her artistic sensibilities and impeccable eye for aesthetics. Before joining NBIC, Abigail embarked on her own entrepreneurial journey alongside her brother, where she spearheaded the sales and marketing efforts of their own venture. This experience honed her skills in strategic promotion, customer engagement, and marketing media. Abigail has played a crucial role in the company, transforming their media marketing strategies, specifically towards a more video-driven approach. Recognizing the power of visual storytelling, she has created compelling content and innovative campaigns that have amplified NBIC’s reach and engagement, strengthening their online presence and impact. Outside of her professional endeavors, Abigail is an avid art buff, frequently visiting museums and exploring immersive experiences that combine technology and creativity. She also has a deep love for travel, shopping, and anything that allows her to utilize her creative mind. With her unwavering commitment and broad range of experience, Abigail is a valuable asset to NBIC. She remains eager to push boundaries, elevate engagement, and empower entrepreneurs through her exceptional marketing expertise.
Anne-Marie Tanner
Anne-Marie Tanner is the Programs Coordinator at NBIC. With a Master’s degree in strategic marketing from Midway University and a Bachelor’s degree in design from University of Kentucky, she brings a unique blend of business experience and creativity to her work. Prior to joining NBIC in March of 2023, Anne-Marie worked as a small business and startup consultant, where she gained valuable experience in guiding entrepreneurs through the challenges and opportunities of launching and growing their businesses. Her expertise in strategic planning and her ability to quickly grasp new concepts makes her a strong asset to the NBIC team. As the Programs Coordinator at NBIC, Anne-Marie manages multiple components, including Foundations, E-Myth, Framework, and Groundwork. Anne-Marie values collaboration and strives to align her work with the vision and expectations of her colleagues. Beyond her professional career, Anne-Marie has a wide range of hobbies and passions. She is an accomplished Olympic weight-lifter. Additionally, with her husband, she started a medical clinic in Martin, TN, a brewery and events center in Paris, TN, and an airbnb property. Their goal is not only to build successful businesses, but also to provide economic stability and job opportunities to as many people as possible. With her extensive background in business, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her commitment to personal growth, Anne-Marie Tanner is an extremely valuable asset to NBIC. Her diverse skill set and positive mindset make her a catalyst for success, both for herself and the new businesses she assists.
Saturnie Antoine
Saturnie Antoine has been a part of NBIC since November 2021, serving as the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and has obtained a professional certification in coaching skills. With a diverse background in corporate work spanning over 15 years, Saturnie has worked in various sectors. As the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager, Saturnie oversees the entire program. Her responsibilities include structuring the curriculum, sourcing speakers, and organizing the launch campaign. Additionally, Saturnie provides personalized professional coaching to the program participants, offering guidance and support to help them scale their businesses to $1 million plus level. Since the commencement of the program in March 2023, under Saturnie’s leadership, R.I.S.E. UP has witnessed numerous accomplishments and successes. Additionally, the program’s focus on emotional intelligence has helped participants navigate internal challenges and overcome obstacles inhibiting their growth. Outside of work, Saturnie values personal time spent with her family and loved ones. Her true passion lies in her role as a professional coach, where she finds fulfillment in assisting women on their journey towards personal and professional growth. Saturnie’s commitment to her clients and her extensive experience, coupled with her excellent coaching skills, allows her to provide comprehensive support to program participants, enabling them to achieve their goals and reach new heights. Under Saturnie’s leadership, the R.I.S.E. UP Program continues to flourish and make a lasting impact on the lives of female entrepreneurs.
Leroy Cunningham
Leroy Cunningham currently occupies the role of Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC. He holds a major degree in Business Administration from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, along with minor degrees in Accounting and Economics. Leroy’s prior engagement with business development consulting brings great strength to the NBIC team. He has worked at three of the largest market capitalization companies in the world – Emerson Electric, General Electric, and Berkshire Hathaway. In his current role as the Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC, Leroy wears many hats. One of his primary objectives at NBIC is to increase the number of small minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses qualified to undertake contracts from prime contractors and government entities. By fostering relationships with community partners and engaging with prime contractors and government entities, Leroy works tirelessly to bridge the gap and provide opportunities for these businesses to flourish. Additionally, Leroy dedicates his time to consulting with business owners, providing them with valuable insights and guidance. By helping businesses at their current stage and empowering them to reach their goals, Leroy greatly contributes to the growth and success of NBIC’s clients. Outside of work, Leroy indulges in his love for reading, sports, and travel. With his vast knowledge, dedication, and passion for community empowerment, Leroy is committed to making a meaningful impact at NBIC. His wealth of certifications and global business experience lends a unique perspective and expertise to NBIC’s initiatives, which will undoubtedly drive the organization forward.
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Octavia Wilson-Simmons is the Special Project Coordinator at NBIC. With a background as a tank storage broker, Octavia acted as a vital liaison between storage terminals and cargo owners, facilitating contracts for the transportation and storage of products. Prior to NBIC, she also worked as a chemical operator at a chemical company, further enhancing her expertise in the industry. Joining NBIC in early 2022, Octavia initially served as an assistant to Angela before transitioning to her current position as a Special Project Coordinator. In this role, Octavia plays a crucial part in various projects, including MNAA and Elevate 615. She also provides invaluable support to the team, assisting with grants and streamlining processes to ensure efficient collaboration and coordination. Outside of her professional endeavors, Octavia is extremely family-oriented and cherishes family outings and spending quality time with her loved ones. Octavia is also a dedicated DIY enthusiast and seeks to immerse herself in various projects. Octavia embraces the opportunity to collaborate with the NBIC team, support Angela, and contribute to the company’s mission. Having witnessed the growth of businesses firsthand gives Octavia special insight into the entrepreneurial world and the hard work that goes into operating and expanding your business. With her extensive background in the oil industry and her unwavering dedication to assisting others, Octavia continues to make a positive impact within NBIC, among her peers, and within the entrepreneurial community as a whole.