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Top tips for expanding overseas, as told by the experts

Article image for Top tips for expanding overseas, as told by the experts

Expanding internationally is a key part of the growth strategy for many small businesses. Whilst the opportunities are far and wide, navigating how to make the move oversesas comes with its own unique set of challenges. So how do you do it?

Learn from the experts – here are the key tips from the panellists at the second ‘Go Global’ workshop hosted by Ross Greenwood in conjunction with OFX.

Have local champions

Speaking from his own experience, OFX CEO Skander Malcolm says it’s important to hire strong leaders in each market who can help you understand the local nuances, customer concerns and who are truly vested in your company.

“Every new market has a compounding complexity, from a new supply chain, new regulations, new people and new cultural nuances.”

“Quite early on you want to be looking for who’s going to be your person in Hong Kong, in San Francisco and so on. Having insight into what’s happening on the ground is invaluable to understanding local context.”

It’s important to not rush this process either. Take the time to assess the local structures that support your business, product, employee retention and policy.

Figure out your ‘why?’

“What is your brand story? Why do we care about it? And why should others?”

Many companies are faced with the obstacle of needing to stand out in a saturated market. Sarah Hamilton, co-founder & CEO of Sand & Sky, says having a purposeful and consistent brand proposition that answers the above three questions from the outset is core to any global business.

Getting this part right will help you reap the benefits in the long run. In fact, Sarah credits the success of her business to being steadfast on her brand and what it stands for. “We concentrated on building our brand and the rest fell into place.”

Small businesses can also be particularly vulnerable to launching in new markets before they are ready. To avoid this, Dearin & Associates’ Cynthia Dearin stresses the importance of getting clarity on your reason for going overseas; is it to help decrease production costs? Will it give you a base closer to a key market? Do you want to take advantage of favourable market conditions?

Have the right support structures in place

Setting up the appropriate tax and legal structures can sometimes be an afterthought. Regardless of the size of your business though, it’s important you are receiving the necessary advice and implementing the proper structures early on. The same runs true for managing your foreign currency exposure. When operating a global business, creating certainty around cash-flow and profit can help protect your bottom line, particularly when markets are volatile, and exposure is high.

Key questions Pitcher Partners Managing Director Rob Southwell suggests businesses ask are; how are you going to fund expansion? What existing profits are you prepared to put back in your business? Do you have a partner who can support and provide clarity on where your business is in terms of cash-flow?

For further insights and discussions from the panellists head to

About OFX

If you are looking to expand into new markets, having a partner to support your foreign exchange needs is key. OFX brings together the best of technology and a human touch to help businesses stay ahead in today’s fast-moving world. Hear from one small business to see how an FX strategy can help move your own business forward.

Joining Ross Greenwood on the second iteration of the Go Global Workshop, and pictured above are:

Skander Malcolm CEO, OFX
Cynthia Dearin Dearin & Associates
Rob Southwell Managing Partner, Pitcher Partners
Sarah Hamilton Co-Founder & CEO, Sand & Sky
Go Global Winner Dr David Kannar (Founder) & Andrew Higgs (Country Manager ANZ), Nutrition Innovation Group
Go Global Winner Tammy Green Founder, Prene Bags