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A global payroll can be a vital tool in ensuring your international expansion is a success. Yet before you reach the stage of implementing the international payroll, there are many more stages to taking your company overseas. Here are five tips for successful globalisation. 

1. Assess the global market 

History shows us that there are numerous analysis-related pitfalls for organisations seeking global expansion. Those pitfalls can come not just from failing to evaluate (and truly understand) the market they plan to move into, but from failing to keep a weather eye on the market at home. 

When it attempted to build its presence in the US, Tesco is widely regarded as having misjudged its expansion from strategic, cultural, price, marketing and stock perspectives. At the same time, the company’s focus on the US may have compounded the brand’s exposure to shifting consumer habits in the UK and a rapid scaling of the competition. 

The result was a $2 billion loss and the closure of 200 US stores. 

This example shows that it’s vital that organisations not only gather political, economic, structural, supply chain, market and employment data, but that they enlist the expertise they need to truly understand its ramifications and apply that to their go-to-market strategy.   

2. Adapt to local preferences 

As Pulp Fiction so memorably told a global audience, there’s no such thing as a Quarter Pounder with cheese in French outlets of McDonalds. Of course there isn’t – the French (and much of the rest of the world) use the metric system and wouldn’t know what a ‘pound’ was. And so we have the Royal Cheese. 

This is an example of glocalization, a blending of international brand consistency with local adaptations that make your products more appealing to a particular audience. See also Walmart Germany’s removal of store greeters (because they freaked out German customers) and Whirlpool’s famous sari-friendly washing machine agitators for its 1990s Indian market. 

For any organisation with global expansion on its mind, it’s important to balance the things that make brand expansion worthy with local concessions that demonstrate your understanding of local cultures, preferences and practicalities. 

3. Understand the international competition 

Call it oversight. Call it arrogance. Call it naivete. Sometimes, brands blaze into new international territory and appear to completely fail to understand the local market and the competition. Take Starbucks, which in 2000 launched its push into Australia in the belief that the lack of a major global coffee chain represented an obvious gap in the market. 

What the Seattle brand failed to realise is that coffee in Australia is a local tradition, delivered by lots of (relatively) low-cost independents. Australians weren’t eager to change, and the Australian competition saw the final Starbuck outlets sold in 2014. 

4. Get the marketing right 

Tailoring your sales and marketing channels to each country in which you expand would seem like an obvious requirement, but it’s one international organisations continue to get spectacularly wrong. 

Our favourite (with apologies if you’re eating) – the Coors beer company launched its ‘Turn it Loose’ campaign on an unwitting Spanish audience whose understanding of that phrase was related to suffering a nasty bout of diarrhoea. 

5. Implement an international payroll 

It’s not just a major factor in terms of operational simplicity and cost efficiency. A global payroll is the key to ensuring that your global workforce is a) paid on time, b) paid consistently and c) paid in the right currency. When you commit to treating your people equally, an international payroll is a vital part of showing you mean what you say. 

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