Like most business owners, you see growth as a measure of success. Expanding into international markets is certainly an indication of growth.
When you begin moving into other markets, though, you’ll need to take steps to secure your success. This is very true when you plan to expand into Canada. There are right ways and wrong ways to go about managing expansion into the Great White North.
Being aware of some of the wrong ways can help you avoid the missteps others have made before you. Learn about these mistakes as you plan your expansion, and you’ll be better prepared.
Don’t Plan to Expand into Canada Rapidly
Perhaps the best example of this misstep comes from US retailer Target. In 2011, Target bought up a number of locations in Canada and opened 124 stores in the span of less than a year in 2013.
The chain ultimately opened 133 stores before closing up shop in 2015. While there were numerous mistakes made in the Target saga, one of the key factors was rapid expansion. If Target had opened a few stores first, it could have focused on working out issues like supply chain management on a smaller scale.
Many companies have used the slow expansion model to conquer the Canadian landscape, and it generally works much better. If your brand isn’t as well-recognized as Target, take heed. Even popular brands can fail if they take on too much too soon.
Study the Culture
There are many cases of businesses experiencing culture shock when they expand to an international market. You merely need to look at the example of Mattel marketing Barbie in China. Chinese culture emphasizes educational toys and skill-building, so Barbie didn’t fare well.
In some cases, the differences in culture are much more subtle. This is certainly the case in Canada. Canadians share many cultural similarities with their American cousins, but that doesn’t mean their culture is the same.
Take some time to study Canadian culture before you expand into Canada. Whether you’re looking to connect with your employees or market to consumers, understanding cultural nuances will go a long way to ensuring your success.
You Ignored Market Trends
British supermarket Tesco tried to expand into the US in 2007, in what was a case of poor timing. Tesco’s messaging about fresh food appealed to US consumers, but the economy was on the brink of the worst recession since the 1930s.
It’s not just the economic indicators you’ll want to pay attention to when you decide to expand. You’ll also want to take a look at the competition. If your market is oversaturated, you’ll have an uphill battle to convince clients to switch to your business. If there’s no competition, are you looking at an underserved market or a non-existent one?
Doing your market research is imperative when you want to expand into Canada or any other market. Don’t forget to look at historical trends as well. If the market is shrinking, you want to know before you head across the border.
You Got Caught up in Red Tape
You hired a Canadian employee, but you forgot to file the paperwork. When it came time to let someone go, you fired them on the spot and didn’t pay termination pay. You aren’t sure about the rules regarding tax withholdings, overtime pay, or vacation time.
Legislation can protect you, your business, and your employees. It can also lead to noncompliance as you expand into Canada. Make sure you’re aware of the employment regulations and how they affect your business.
You can avoid all these mistakes and more when you work with an experienced PEO. If you need a helping hand as you expand into Canada, get in touch with an expert team today.