Going Global: 8 Tech Tools to Help You Expand Into International Business

Global trade is showing up in more and more businesses every day. Every year, the world gets a little bit smaller and a little bit flatter.

Not literally, of course — only in the sense that things are becoming more and more interconnected all the time. Small businesses were previously restricted to operating only in local markets. Today, even small businesses have access to wide swaths of the global economy. If only more of them knew how to latch onto their corner of it.

Engaging In Global Trade Might Require a Few Upgrades

You may feel as though your business is ready to take over the world. However, it won’t be able to do so without some help. By establishing an arsenal of powerful tech tools, you’ll be able to operate in Sumatra as easily as you could in San Jose. Listed below are some of the key additions or upgrades to consider.

1. International Payroll

In its simplest form, business is about paying and getting paid. That may be easy enough for your domestic operations, but international borders and currency exchanges are serious hurdles to jump. If you can’t pay your employees and contractors efficiently or produce relevant tax documents for the countries you work in, you’ll be unable to do very much at all.

Your first step might be to find a global payroll solution such as Remote that works efficiently for whatever markets you may find yourself in. International business requires on-time payments in order to function smoothly. Find a reliable service provider that helps you make that happen.

2. Smooth Video Conferencing Experiences

With international air travel unlikely to come roaring back any time soon, video conferencing remains the de facto way of forming close connections across borders. The key here should be ease of use.

You may be dealing with clientele who use a different video chat platform or have never used one before. Make every effort to use one with minimal barriers to entry. The sooner you can get face-to-face time with your clients, the better.

3. Adaptable Customer Relationship Management Software

Most companies already have a CRM system they’re used to dealing with. However, very few CRMs are equipped for consumer bases that span nations, time zones, and continents. While an internationally equipped CRM is ideal, getting a good one may extend beyond your budget at first.

If that’s the case, consider getting a CRM specifically designed for each of the nations in which you have significant operations. An international business CRM local to a certain country is more likely to have the features you’ll need to meet the needs of your clients in that market. This might be a bit inefficient at first. Just remember that the long-term goal is to get a platform that supports your entire clientele.

4. Smart Calendar

This one is something of a no-brainer. Keeping track of the time differences across different time zones in a single country can be difficult, much less across the entire globe.

You’ll need a calendar that automatically converts all meeting times to the local time of whoever is a recipient. Moreover, select a calendar that makes you and your employee schedules fully visible. This makes it easier for your clients to choose meeting times they know will work. The sad alternative is ping-ponging emails for days in the hopes of finding an open half hour.

5. Automated Content Publishers

The same principle applies to content management. You want to deploy your content in certain places, at certain times, visible to certain people. Publishing at the right time is crucial for maximizing content engagement.

With which group of people are you hoping to maximize engagement? Publishing at noon somewhere might mean publishing at 2 a.m. somewhere else.

Don’t allow for high levels of human error with this sensitive mechanism. Find a content management system that can be set to publish your work at the exact moment you want. That way, you can ensure that you’re targeting the right international audience for your business.

6. Logistics Tracking

Shipping around the world is a completely different ball game from shipping around the corner. Just figuring out the cheapest way to get something from point A to point B can require a significant amount of research…and that’s assuming everything goes well. If there’s a snag in your distribution, fixing it from across an ocean can become quite the headache.

To circumvent this issue, you’ll need a logistics platform that can track the movement of your goods every step of the way. When something goes wrong, your system should be able to tell you where, when, why, and how. You’ll need answers to all of these questions if you want to solve the issue.

7. Translation Tools

Translation tools may well be the first thing you think of when it comes to conducting business internationally. The reason it’s not higher on this list is that businesses are simply spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right one for them.

There are dozens of translation tools out there. Many include different features and specialties that can help you distinguish between them. While some close interactions may require a human translator, most online translators are sufficiently advanced to process emails, marketing materials, and other cornerstones of modern business.

8. Project Management Platforms

Another tool you’re likely already familiar with, project management platforms are a cornerstone of any efficient company. How does yours accommodate a company potentially expanding abroad? How well does it facilitate foreign workers? What are its capacities for handling multiple languages? How is it at handling multiple time zones?

These are questions you’ll need firm answers to before you commit to a specific platform. Again, localization may be another option here. If your company can’t coalesce around a single platform, consider one for each country or region in which you operate.

High-growth businesses can only stay in their local market for so long before it’s time to really put their foot to the gas. Taking your business international is a risk, true, but it’s one that can pay off in spades when done well. With these tools at your disposal, there’s every reason to think you can do exactly that.

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