Posted: Thu 27th Jul 2023
The internet has opened up a world of business opportunities for even the smallest of companies. Here's a guide to online tools and services to help your small business go global.
Meetings and communication
You don't need to travel to a country to have a meeting nowadays as several tools exist which allow you to have video conference calls that are just like meeting in person.
There are several tools available, many of which are free, including the following:
Overseas guides and information
Looking for useful advice, tips and information on how to successfully export and expand overseas? Go Global, Enterprise Nation's new programme with partners Santander, Dropbox and Deloitte, has all you need to kickstart your international trading.
The Santander TradePortal brings together data from several sources, including a database of importers and exporters, while Santander Navigator is the company's subscription platform that helps you identify opportunities for growth, find skilled labour, build connections and more. Trade Map, from the International Trade Centre, is also useful for market analysis.
If you have burning questions about doing business overseas, you can find international trade experts on Enterprise Nation, and the Institute of Export's Open to Export service provides advice from experts.
Language and translation
If you're properly targeting overseas markets, translating your website into the local language could massively boost sales.
If you're travelling to a country to meet customers or suppliers, knowing the local language will go a long way to improving your relationship. Duolingo is a free tool that adds gamification to the learning process, and HelloTalk and italki help you learn a new language by talking to native speakers.
If you need to transfer money overseas, banks have traditionally been the first point of call, but they often charge high fees.
Innovative start-ups have begun to change that. One of the most high profile is Wise. Backed by investors including Sir Richard Branson, the site promises to save you up to 90% in fees. Other options include Atlantic Money, Currencies Direct, OFX and FairFX.
If you're a new product business trying to promote a new online store, it can be tough given all the competition. One of the many online marketplaces could be the solution because they already have the reach and within minutes of listing your product, you could gain an overseas order.
You'll know by now that Amazon is one of the world's biggest online marketplaces. You can access free advice on how to make a success of selling your products on Amazon through the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, delivered by Enterprise Nation.
Other online marketplaces are:
If you're offering a business-to-business (B2B) service, you can join Enterprise Nation as an adviser member to list your services and make connections with potential customers. You could also try platforms like Freelancer, Taskrabbit, Upwork and PeoplePerHour.
If you're looking to buy and sell products, Alibaba is the world's biggest global trading platform.
Allowing overseas customers to actually pay for your products and service is, of course, key to doing business overseas via your website.
There are several options. Perhaps the most well known is PayPal, which is available in more than 200 markets and 25 currencies. Other services include Square, Worldpay and Stripe. Do your research before signing up to any of these services to check their fees.
About Go Global
Kickstart your international trading with this free programme of support from Santander and Enterprise Nation. Take me to the international trade hub