Working with clients outside the UK certainly broadens your chance of making more sales and providing more services but, there are things to consider before you try. Putting a plan together in advance is your best chance of providing a flawless service to your customers. After attaining a customer in Australia, I realised that there were very basic differences that I hadn’t considered before.
My Australian customer, Earth Embodiment, who sell natural hemp healthcare products, approached me to do design work for them. I of course, happily took the work on without really thinking about the logistics of supplying a service to a customer abroad. Now when I look back, it would have been useful to have plan in place for providing services to foreign customers.
Time Difference - What is the time difference between you and your customer? You may be packing up for the day when they are just getting up for work. Making adjustments to how you communicate with your customer is key. If you agree to a deadline, take into consideration a delay in correspondence that may be caused by a time difference. Schedule any video conferencing and calls with your customer rather than calling them ad hoc. It may mean you having to make that call late at night but it all builds credibility.
Where? – If you are deciding to market your services abroad, think about where you would prefer to focus on. Are there any places where your services wouldn’t work or couldn’t reach? Is there a particular country that your product or service would do really well in?
Affordability – Can they afford you? Your pricing may be completely reasonable in London but are they affordable in Canada for example. You may have to adjust your pricing to accommodate sending a product or using international services. Also, take into account exchange rates and how customers pay you. You may find it a good idea to speak to your Bank or Accountant.
Social and Cultural – Take into consideration any cultural differences. What may be culturally acceptable in one country, may not be in another. Language barriers can cause complications with communication so its advisable to build up your market with a country with a familiar culture as your own.
Political and Legal Factors – Do your research. Is there anything political or legal which will cause you an issue when selling to another country? The last thing any business needs is a legal problem.
Your Capability – Are you capable of delivering your products and services? Its always advisable to put together a carefully thought out plan first, rather than just market everyone at the same time and hope something sticks. You could find yourself not able to deliver.
Update Your Platforms – Make sure your website and social media platforms are updated with your capability to provide your products and services abroad. If you have payment options on your website make sure the details include the correct postage etc.
Now you are ready to start selling your products and services abroad. Best of luck!