Guest post by Christian Arno
In part one of our series on small business expansion we discussed expanding web presence, blogs & social media and researching markets. Read on to learn how small businesses can work towards expanding.
Taking on new staff can be a big commitment in an uncertain economy. An alternative is paying freelancers to do some of the work. Expertizing.com, a media company based in Newton, MA, has outsourced much of its work to virtual assistants. This means it can concentrate on its core function, with extra resources when needed. The non-profit organization, the International Virtual Assistants’ Association, is a good source of information.
Did you know Spanish speakers are one of the fastest-growing sectors of the population, and more likely to spend money online? Sear’s, Amtrak and Best Buy are some high-profile companies who saw sales soar after launching Spanish language websites. Catering for Hispanic customers (or speakers of other languages) is also an effective strategy on a smaller scale. If you already have Spanish-speaking staff, consider advertising this on your website. A translation of your homepage and key product information doesn’t have to be expensive, and can result in big pay-offs.
Think outside your borders
Going global seems like an impossible dream, but it can be easier than many business owners expect. If you have a thriving ecommerce site, the chances are that you’re already showing up in search rankings for customers in Canada or the UK. Tools such as Google Analytics can pinpoint where your existing traffic is coming from. Research the best payment and shipping options for these countries, and include details on your site. If there’s enough interest, you might consider a dedicated website aimed at your target country.
Despite a tough economy, thinking outside your city, state, and borders can pay off for small businesses. A little research and imaginative thinking can put you on the path to success.
For help in developing your marketing plan, download “7 Steps to a Complete Small Business Sales & Marketing Plan.”
Christian Arno is founder and CEO of the global translation agency, Lingo24. Originally a home-based start-up, it now has hubs on four continents, a network of 4000 translators, and translates 65 million words a year. Clients include American Express, the UN, Bloomberg, MTV, and a wealth of small businesses. Lingo24 made The Times International Track 100 in 2011.