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We have been manufacturing barber and beauty tools for more than 30 years and have been addressing only the demand in our own country. But now we are looking forward to exporting our products and brand in the global market as well. Currently we are looking for distributors of barber tools starting in the UK and then expanding to other countries. What is the most effective approach to take in order to find the best distributors for our products?
It will take some research and activity on your part to find the right distributors for your products. You don’t simply want to find distributors, you want to find those that will promote and support your product, have a good relationship with your mutual customers, and will also have a positive relationship with you. Based on the kinds of products you would like to sell and the distributor relationships you seek, you can build the right business associations for your company.
Here are some of the steps that will help you get started in finding high quality distributors who are a good fit for your company. These steps work for finding distributors in other countries besides the UK, in case you decide to consider other expansion options.
1. Identify the important industry organizations for your products in the UK. Through these organizations, you can build relationships, get information, find referrals, and identify distributors who are aligned with your products and the way you do business. As you do your online search for good distributors, use the kinds of keywords in your search criteria that will bring you the best results: UK salon supplies, London salon supplies, United Kingdom barber supply distributors, UK beauty supply trade shows, barber supply associations. You will know best how to represent your business in these searches.
2. Look for related products you’d like to be associated with that are at a similar quality level and focus on the distributors who carry those item. This will help you narrow your search.
3. Contact the related associations and let them know you would like them to help you. They are promoting and supporting the industry, so should be able to give you assistance.
4. Get introductions from organizations and associations to distributors. The more targeted you can be in your specific request, the easier it will be for them to help you. If done correctly, this activity is beneficial to everyone, so the organizations and associations are interested in promoting business.
5. Once you have identified distributors with whom you’d like to do business, get a list of client references from them so you can vet them with their customers. Make sure they have the same level of customer support that you do so that they will represent your brand as you wish.
6. In order to make this process as effective as possible, attend shows, get to know the market, meet distributor candidates, and look for those who will support and promote your product along with the others that they sell.
Good luck with your global expansion!More
The question of whether or not to localize your online presence is best answered by knowing your international market, your short and long-term goals and the strength of your brand.
If you have a strong, globally recognized brand, then chances are you can do business online in the short term in spite of not having localized content, and you may already be seeing international online sales via your English website. Luxury clothing brands, for example, are readily sought after in-market because of their globally recognized brand value – and international consumers may be more forgiving about the lack of a localized experience in the earlier stages of local product launch. By focusing your international sales efforts on markets across the world that have a strong understanding of English, you may be able to achieve some international growth in the short term.
However, the greater the competitive landscape in-country, and the more sophisticated the economy, the more it matters to local consumers that they have access to localized content, particularly when you have an eCommerce site and are trying to drive online purchase behavior. The CSA’s study in 2006, refreshed in 2014, called “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy,” found that 60% of international consumers, regardless of English language ability, rarely or never buy from English-only sites. And interestingly, countries with a higher understanding of English, but with more mature economic and competitive environments, can be even more demanding of an authentic localized experience.
For example, if you’re targeting western Europe, you may find that providing a high-quality localized online experience will make the difference between success and failure.
If your ultimate goal is to grow your international customer base, then localizing your content will be necessary. Not rushing to localize everything, however, is also advisable. Translating your website gets you an online presence, but it’s the baseline and doesn’t in itself drive user engagement and sales. Working with a localization partner that can help you determine the market opportunity and plan your localization strategy will help ensure that you get results out of your localization investment.More
Google Translate is a great tool for gaining the gist of content in another language, and it can be helpful in translating purely informational content. However, Google Translate has serious limitations when it comes to the accuracy of even remotely creative content.
Most companies that are considering localizing their websites (i.e., adapting content and visuals for international markets) are doing so because they see an opportunity to sell their products, services and, ultimately, their brands to customers abroad.
In order to truly engage with international customers, the quality of your translated content – on your website, advertising and marketing collateral – is absolutely key to making the most of the market opportunity.
A poor translation, whether produced by a machine like Google Translate or a low-cost translation service, conveys the wrong message to your international audiences. Your international customers may understand your translated content, but they’re unlikely to feel connected to your brand or trust your product unless their experience of your in-language content is authentic. And unless your online content is optimized for local search trends, you risk not being found by your potential buyers in simply translating your US English. Google Translate cannot optimize your content for search.
We would advise against using Google Translate to provide translated content to international audiences, unless your sole intention is to provide nothing more than basic information. If you want to inspire action in your international audience, and achieve international growth, then it’s a good idea to work with a professional localization service provider and consider not only how to provide quality local content, but also what digital tactics you should employ locally to drive traffic to your website and inspire local user engagement.More
Translation is the transformation of one language into another so that the meaning of the original source is conveyed accurately and naturally. Translation delivers an understanding of your source content for international audiences.
Transcreation is the creative adaptation of your content so that your message, brand and value proposition are conveyed in a locally authentic way. While carried out in the context of your original English source material, transcreation is about translating the concept behind your messaging and may require rewriting local content to ensure that it doesn’t read like a translation. Transcreation is important for any content that doesn’t readily “translate,” particularly for marketing messaging. Some examples include advertising copy, taglines, straplines, product names and content that is heavily branded or that involves US cultural references/wordplay. Transcreation delivers engagement around your brand and messaging, with a view to driving action.
Transliteration is the phonetic translation of content from one writing system to another. For example, Chinese is represented through an array of characters, each representing a sound. Transliteration is sometimes used to represent an English word in Chinese by selecting Chinese characters that most closely sound like the English pronunciation of the word. Transliteration delivers an accessible representation of a foreign language term in the local writing system.More
As a general rule, you are only required to accept a return if the item is faulty, not as described, or unfit for its purpose.* However, it is common practice to offer a more extensive return, refund, or exchange policy. Most retailers offer their customers a policy that allows them to return non-faulty items with a few stipulations. Those stipulations vary depending on the retailer, but commonly require that the item be unused, in undamaged and original packaging, accompanied by a receipt, and be returned/exchanged within a specific amount of time. Some common items that most retailers will not accept returns and exchanges for are DVDs, CDs, computer software, perishables, and items made-to-order.
Most retailers will prominently display their return policy in store, on receipts, and their website. Keep in mind, if you do offer a more extensive return/refund policy, you are required to follow your policy.
* There are specific exceptions to this rule, including exceptions for online and phone purchases and for purchases of digital content. Those exceptions are explained in more detail in Globig’s Billing Regulations subsection of Product Localization in the UK Knowledge Base.More
There is not single or easy answer to this question. Let's break this question into a couple of parts:
1. How long do Search Engines take to add your new content URLs?
Major search engines such as Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex are adding content to their indexes every minute and smaller search sites update less frequently. Your new URLs with international content could be added to major search sites within 48 hours, especially if you ping sites such as Ping-O-Matic to send out a signal to the search sites.
2. How long will it take for my site to be discoverable?
You could see improvements in your discoverability for less desirable keywords within a couple of days or several months depending upon many factors including how your pages rank, if your SEO efforts are consistent, if you are using best practices for website structure and other SEO efforts.
3. When will my site rank on the first page of major search engines?
Depending upon which keywords you want to rank highly for, you may never be on the first page of major search engines for highly competitive keywords or it may take years of very consistent optimization to achieve the results you're looking for. Instead of making search rankings your goal, track your SEO improvement by search referrals and search driven website conversions.
To learn more about International SEO, see Globig's International SEO sections in each country and apply the best practices listed. The Globig Marketplace features International SEO experts that can help you reach your goals.More
Lawyer is a general term used to describe anyone who practices law, including barristers and solicitors. In the United States the terms lawyer and attorney are the most common, and they are used interchangeably, as they are synonyms. However, historically, many countries have had a split legal system whereby lawyers have two distinct professional tracks, that of either a solicitor or a barrister. The most basic difference between a barrister and a solicitor is that barristers traditionally represented and defended clients in court, while solicitors performed out of court legal work i.e., transactional work, and worked more directly with clients.
Over the years, the two have fused together, and in many countries today the distinction has disappeared. In many countries, a person can hold the qualification of both a barrister and a solicitor. Today, many countries that still carry on this distinction allow solicitors to appear in lower courts and some in all courts.
In countries that have kept the distinction, if you are looking for or working with a lawyer to help with taxes, trademark, business regulations, etc., you are likely looking for or working with a solicitor. Solicitors generally represent a wide variety of client types, including individuals, companies, government entities, etc. In the event of a lawsuit reaching the courts, the solicitor is likely to hire a barrister to represent you in court. In countries that have abolished the distinction, you will be working with a lawyer who can either represent you in court or hire a lawyer who specializes in litigation.
Keep in mind, the legal system functions differently in each country, so you will need to understand the system specific to the country in which you are doing business.More
The British investors tend to be more conservative and less risk taking. They also appreciate third party expert validation of your data, business plan and hypotheses. Companies we talked to said their UK investors are more engaged in the day to day operations and decision making compared to their US investors. That can be both positive and negative depending upon if you work well with your investors or if you prefer a more hands off relationship. All investors are different and you can find both UK and US investors that are opposite of these generalizations.More
I believe in the value of getting negative feedback in order to make my service better, and I have heard that if I'm working with business people in Singapore it will be hard to get any kind of negative feedback from them. Is that true?
It's true that it will generally be hard for you to get negative feedback in Singapore. This can be confusing to someone who comes from a country where negative feedback is often given, may be sought in order to make improvements, and is not necessarily taken personally.
In Singapore, the Chinese concept of 'saving face' is at play, where they are concerned that they will cause you to lose dignity and prestige when viewed by others if they tell you there are problems with your product or service. Not to be taken lightly, saving face is a powerful component of the Chinese culture and it will be very hard for you to obtain negative feedback, even when you are asking for it.
Several things to keep in mind: It will probably be hard for you to get that kind of information - but they aren't playing with you. It's cultural. If you do get any, take it very seriously and even multiply what you heard to get closer to their true feelings. And very importantly, be sensitive to how you may inadvertently cause your Singaporean business partners to lose face by arguing, insulting, or bluntly pointing out factual errors, especially in front of their staff. If you cause them to lose face, your business relationship will surely suffer.
Build up a trusting relationship with your Singaporean business contacts and partners, and perhaps over time you can get the input you are looking for. If not, don't assume that just because you haven't heard anything, that you have no more work to do to make improvements. Use other indicators to understand how you are doing.More
I've got my first round of meetings in Germany soon. I'm looking for business partners there and will be telling them about my company. What do I need to know about meetings in Germany so I don't mess up without knowing it?
Great question and definitely something to think about before you go. Here are some things you should know before you start your meetings in Germany. Punctuality really matters in Germany - arrive early for your meetings to be sure you are on time. German meetings tend to be more formal and structured than meetings in the US, so be prepared for having an agenda that will be adhered to. It's less likely than in the US and the UK that you will wander off topic or take some time before getting started.
One of the best things you can do to increase your chances for success is to come prepared with data to support your position. Germans rely on facts and figures, not on emotional appeals. If you don't have real, verifiable data in support of your company and the quality of your product or service, you probably aren't ready. Show how good your company is on its own rather than saying how bad the competition is, and keep calm during your presentation - Americans can get pretty excited and that passion won't necessarily help your case in Germany.
Germans are formal people. Dress for success, bring people who are at the same level as those you'll be meeting, and don't move to a first-name basis until you are invited to. Pay attention to titles and use them when addressing people.
And finally, follow through on any commitments you make. The Germans will be doing the same and will expect you to, as well.More
My business is expanding to Germany this coming summer, because I haven’t had any prior business dealings in Germany, I am working on an appropriate marketing campaign. I believe email marketing will be one of the more important tools I can use to reach new customers. Can I use purchased marketing lists in Germany?
Germany has very strict email marketing laws. Under German law, one of the most important requirements of email marketing is consent. Consent of the recipient must be transparent, voluntary, conscious, unequivocal, express, and separate. Consent must be current and you are responsible for keeping detailed records of the explicit consent you have been given by your recipients. The exception to this explicit consent requirement is a current customer who has not complained about receiving your emails. Although it is not illegal to use purchased marketing lists, because of the strict consent requirement, it would be difficult and impractical to use a purchased marketing list in Germany.More
Briefly, localization refers to making products, websites, apps, and communications feel local and relevant to the people of a country or region. A very clear example is in using the language of a country on your website rather than your own if they differ. There are other areas which are not as obvious if you are new to localization, such as the colors that you use, the images of the people on your site, the spelling of words (British vs. American, for instance), and even your contact information and time zone. When localization is done right, it's seamless and invisible. If it's done wrong or not at all, it can have consequences for your success in other countries or regions.More
Our company wants to expand its online business to Singapore, but we don’t quite understand when the goods and services tax will apply. Because we have never done business in Singapore, we only have projections to help us determine whether we will exceed the registration requirement threshold. How should we determine whether or not to register for the goods and services tax?
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies to goods and services sold in Singapore and to all goods imported into Singapore. You are required to register your business if your taxable turnover exceeds S$1 million during the previous 12 months or if you expect your taxable turnover for the next 12 months to exceed S$1 million. The GST applies to all imported goods, regardless of whether or not your company is registered. If you have an online business that is not established in Singapore, your sales to Singaporeans will likely be considered imports. In that case, you will need to acquire the appropriate import permit(s) and will be required to pay GST upon importation of the goods. If you have a Singaporean established business, you can use your projections to help you determine whether you will exceed the registration requirement threshold. Because of the complex nature of taxes, we suggest you speak with an attorney about how the GST will apply to your business.More
We would recommend you work closely with your legal counsel and international tax advisor before you decide on a path. Many companies choose to work with a sales representative, distributor or professional agent with an existing customer base to test out their product and get assistance in developing out the market prior to opening up an office or bringing in employees. Typically if you work through a company that already has a business in the UK, you should be protected from paying taxes in the UK in addition to paying taxes in the US. There are pros and cons for using sales representatives, distributors, and agencies as we outline in detail in the Ways To Do Business in UK section of the Globig Knowledge Base. Some of the pros include: -Agents have existing customers and relationships to get your product in the door -You can minimize your costs of doing business because the agents have an established business you are piggy backing -This is a low cost way to test a market Some of the cons include: -You will have to find the right agents to represent your product well -You have less control of your brand and how it's marketed -You don't own the customer, the agent does -You won't have the full focus if the agent has other products they represent -You may not get enough feedback from the agent to help you shape your product and marketing It can be a good option to test the market by working with established agents/agencies before investing in employees, office space, local business entities, and extensive local marketing. The key to a good relationship with an agent is selecting the right one from the beginning, setting clear expectations, having well defined agreements in place, communicating and staying close to the agents throughout the process.More
While the primary language for both the US and the UK is English, there are differences that you'll want to consider for your website and marketing communications content. First, there are spelling differences for common words such as 'theater' and 'theatre'. Second, there are some notable differences in the words used for the same thing. Good examples of this are 'pants' vs. 'trousers' and 'French fries' vs. 'chips'. If your strategy is to proclaim your American brand, then keeping the US spellings is appropriate. On the other hand, if you want your product or service to feel local, then you will want to review your content and copy to ensure you've made the necessary updates. It never hurts to have locals help you with this process. They will be able to find not only words that differ, but phrasing and references that may not make sense to your British audience.More
London is the top startup city in the entire EU and thus the overwhelming leader in the UK. Some other cities that have over 2,000 new startups each year include Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol, and Liverpool. The UK is a hotbed of startup activity and a great place to start a new company.More
According to The Deutsche Startup Monitor and other monitoring services, Berlin is the startup capitol of Germany with almost 31% of all German startups located there. Munich is in second place at just over 11% of German startups followed by the Rhein-Ruhr region and Hamburg. Stuttgart and Karlsruhe are also growing quickly.More
Unlike in the US and the UK, Germans tend to get right down to business in meetings and spend very little time on introductory small talk. Meetings generally have agendas which are strictly adhered to and are expected to result in decisions and outcomes, not just be a forum for discussion. While people in some countries are more apt to gently ease into the meeting content - and in fact are potentially uncomfortable with jumping right into the subject matter - Germans will waste little time on what they would consider superfluous chit chat. For your meetings in Germany, be prepared to quickly start business and don't attempt to open with idle conversation unrelated to the task at hand.More