Running a small business can be very rewarding, but also a lot of hard work. So when you start to see your hard work pay off in the form of your small business growing, it can feel amazing. But this growth needs to be maintained – and hopefully grown further.

There are plenty of ways a small business can grow and plenty of tools you can use to make this happen. For example, you could use marketing, diversification, or partnerships. However, the question to consider today is whether you should look locally or internationally to grow your small business.

There are possible consumers everywhere – from down the road to thousands of miles away. But who should you market to in order to create the most growth for your small business?

Consider what kind of small business you run.

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Some businesses are better suited to international demand than others. For example, those who work in perishable items, like cheese or vegetables, might find that international selling is harder work. In those examples, local demand might not only be a better option but, in fact, a real plus: local customers will enjoy these perishable items at their most fresh.

However, some small businesses are better suited to international demand. For example, small businesses in unique goods or services might find they sell well in other countries because of that very rarity.

Consider the nature of your small business and whether that nudges you towards local or international demand. Of course, one isn’t better than the other, but knowing which group to sell to allows you a uniformity of marketing and allows you to focus. 

Consider shipping costs. 

If you are selling a product as part of your small business, there will likely be a portion of your costs that is made up of postage charges. Therefore, when considering international or local focus for selling, keeping in mind shipping costs is essential.

Shipping to countries abroad is going to be more expensive. Not only is the shipping itself more expensive, but you also need to bear in mind packaging costs. For example, if you sell something particularly fragile, like glass vases, you’ll need to spend a lot on protective packaging so your product can survive the international journey.

If you make a large profit from your products, a higher shipping cost might not be too bad. However, if that margin is a bit smaller, focusing on local demand may be smarter for the time being. 

Consider the form of marketing you need to do.

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Marketing to international and local consumers is going to be different. Global marketing will require mostly online marketing, considering you don’t live in the country you are marketing to.

Whereas, local marketing can use both online and in-person marketing. For example, home customers can be attracted using local SEO services, which use google maps to show customers that your company is nearby. This is trickier for international customers.

It might be better to sell internationally if you already have a strong online presence. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get the attention of those you are trying to sell to.

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