Canada is one of the best countries in the world to live and conduct business. Professionals thrive in the Canadian business landscape and can start a career, launch a business or house the headquarter of a corporation.
Canada recently topped numerous global lists by U.S. News, ranking first in quality of life, second in citizenship and third in “open for business”. The “open for business” ranking is determined by several factors including, absence of corruption, a favourable tax environment, bureaucracy, transparent government practices and cheap manufacturing costs.
Despite the optimal environment for a business venture, professionals should always consider building an international client base and engaging in international business management to expand their list of customers and partners.
International business management is “the management of business operations in an organisation serving markets and operating in more than one country.” Conducting international business demands skills beyond standard business expectations, such as:
- Familiarity with local markets and competitive conditions
- The local legal and financial environment
- The capacity for multi currency transactions
- Managing business across borders
Professionals learn the knowledge and skills required for international business management in an MSc management degree. However, before you can nurture international business relationships you must connect with quality leads. Technology has developed an increasingly connected world that makes forming international business partnerships easier than ever.
10 Tips for Building an International Client Base
One of the primary skills needed for professional success is the ability to grow an international client base. There are several ways internal business management professionals can start developing a breadth of high-quality connections.
1. Conduct Market Research
Familiarity with local markets, competitors, financial environments and other factors is crucial when determining the success or failure of international expansion. Market research is the first step in an international expansion plan, which should act as your roadmap for success.
Large companies can use their budget to hire market research companies to compile research. Sole proprietors and small businesses can conduct research themselves by investigating their competitive position with the following:
- Demographics and segmentation
- Target market
- Market need
- Barriers to entry
The goal of the market analysis is to solidify that international business management professionals understand the market, confirm that the market is suitable to expand the business and authenticate that the market is worth investigating for an international clientele. An MSc management degree teaches you how to verify these factors before seeking connections.
2. Explore Your Existing Alumni Network
Student connections can be one of the most effective roads to building professional connections. Julia Freeland Fisher, author of “Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations that Expand Students’ Networks” says, “Networks unlock valuable advice, insights, and influence that can either exacerbate existing social strata or be powerful levers for equity and opportunity.”
Schools offer students access to a network of like-minded peers, knowledgeable alumni and world-renowned educators and mentors. Online schools are increasingly connected and act as a gateway for students and graduates to easily connect with other international business management professionals.
Fisher went on to say that upwards of 80% of jobs are filled through networking. Before you start cold calling miscellaneous international business partners, contact the connections in your backyard—your alumni network.
3. Use Professional Networking Platforms
Once personal connections have been exhausted, it’s time to turn to popular professional networking platforms to find businesses and professionals that match the requirements outlined by your market research findings. A degree in international business management teaches you the business communications skills necessary to pitch new clients and generate interest.
LinkedIn is one of the most popular professionals platforms and allows you to connect with people in your industry and direct message leads. You can use the search capabilities to locate executives in your country and region of interest.
Meetup is a platform designed for starting and building communities. Their website allows you to search career and business events in various areas and connect with like-minded professionals online or in person. People host accessible reoccurring meetups such as the “International Traders and Financial Meeting” or limited-time events like “Create Disruption: Business Innovation & Supply Chain Management Post COVID-19”.
Xing is another professional networking companion that allows you to discover jobs, news, events and groups. This platform is based in Hamburg, Germany and mostly features a database of German-based business professionals. Canadians hoping to expand their client base could benefit from using a platform based in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
4. Attend Virtual Events
After the onset of COVID-19, more professionals are turning to virtual events to network and gain business opportunities. According to Forbes, virtual events are up 1000% in 2020 on various platforms. Virtual events are unrestricted by geographical boundaries like in-person meetups. As a result, you can attend virtual events and connect with the client to support your international business management pursuits.
Where can you find relevant virtual events? Eventbrite is a platform that hosts virtual international business events and allows Canadians to connect with international communities. Navigate the online events page and look for business events with an international focus. Not only can virtual events expand your knowledge of international business management, but it can also act as an entryway to meeting like-minded professionals from different countries.
5. Collaborate With Other Businesses
MSc Management courses teach international business management professionals on how to collaborate with other businesses. Rather than looking at businesses in foreign markets as competitors, you should view them as teachers.
In an MSc management program, students learn how the economic environment affects a business, how operations management contributes to a company and the importance of organisational behaviour in different locations. Graduates can use this knowledge to work with international brands and get a foot in the door in global markets.
There are numerous ways you can collaborate with businesses in different countries to expand awareness of your brand or company, including:
- Cross-promote brands on social media
- Contact and collaborate with international influencers
- Engage in guest posting on your website
- Hire freelancers from various countries
6. Understand Regional Regulations
If you want to build an international client base through international business management, you must understand the foundations of international relations. Students enrolled in an MSc management program take modules that teach fundamental concepts in economics to help them develop a broad perspective on business decision-making in international contexts and applications. Students learn how to manage the following international business risks:
- Foreign exchange risk management
- Government policies and trade barriers
- Tariffs and quotas on exchanged goods
This knowledge helps you determine the international client with optimal business conditions. With regional regulations, gross domestic product (GDP), consumer price index (CPI) and manufacturing all taken into consideration, the best countries for Canadians to conduct business include:
- The United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
7. Localise Content, Products and Services
Once you have established a connection with an international lead, your website, product and services must be marketable in their region.
International business management involves marketing to distinctive clients. If you want to work with international clients you have to ensure your brand and business makes sense to the international client’s audience. Localising content, products and services is the process of modifying messaging to make it suitable for specific regions.
There are several ways you can localise content, products and services to make a partnership more attractive to an international client:
- Build microsites for each country
- Translate content into the local language
- Adjust currencies on products
- Simplify language and avoid jargon
- Alter website design (colours and images)
- Source statistics and information to be geographically relevant
An MSc management program offers students marketing courses that expand on the value of content marketing, email marketing, website content and other branding essentials.
8. Accommodate Time Differences
Time zones make conducting international business more challenging. International business management requires planning for timely communication. Use your phone to save the world clock for each time zone of your client base.
Many professionals working in international business management set alarms and wake up to accommodate clients in distant time zones. If you have multiple clients in the same time zone, it could be feasible to consistently adjust your work hours to make communication easier. Students with experience in online learning programs better understand how to build flexible schedules that suit their business and personal responsibilities.
9. Hire a Translator
Canadians are fortunate to speak English, the global language of business. With more than 1.75 billion speakers, companies such as Daimler-Chrysler, Nokia, and Microsoft in Beijing have now mandated English as the corporate language.
Canada is an officially bilingual country with two official languages, French and English. Bilingual Canadians are granted even more opportunity in the business world, making it easier to converse with businesses in locations such as France, Belgium and Switzerland.
However, when international business management professionals experience a language barrier with international clients, it’s possible to hire a translator. According to Digital Magazine, “annual enterprise spending on translation services is expected to grow to US$45 billion by 2020.”
Technology and AI have made translating easier than ever. Platforms like Google Translate, Bing Translator and Reverso make language translation easier for international business management professionals.
10. Pursue Higher Education
Pursuing an MSc management degree is one of the most effective ways to build an international client base. The MSc management curriculum allows you to choose unique pathways like entrepreneurship, finance, global business or organisational development and pursue learning in your desired area.
Once you select your unique pathway, you can build applicable skills founded in the modern business world. Students graduate from the MSc management program with an understanding of international business development, the economic environment of businesses, strategic planning and more.
Arguably the most valuable networking tool provided by higher education is the entrance to a community of thousands of international alumni. Online MSc management courses allow students to converse virtually and create long-lasting business partnerships as they learn.
Launch the Next Phase of Your International Business Management Career
Aston University’s Online MSc Business & Management degree offers courses for Canadians in marketing, strategic management, operations management and more. Aston University offers students the following benefits:
- Triple-accredited from Equis, AACSB, and AMBA
- A world-class UK university that enables you to build international networks
- 100% online, 2-year programme
- Significantly lower tuition than many similar Canadian University business programmes
When you enrol in Aston University’s MSc in Business & Management program you instantly gain access to a network of knowledgeable mentors, educators and peers that can help you start building the right international client base for your future in international business management.