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International Expansion for Your Startup in Houston Through Translation

Few people know this, but Houston is the home and headquarters of companies that were once startups which became internationally well-known for their innovation and services. Not all startups have made that great leap forward despite how much easier it has become to expand internationally through eCommerce.

If you’re wondering what your startup can do to take that leap and expand internationally, then keep on reading!

Houston’s Startup industry in 2021

The New York Times reported that unexpectedly the pandemic had increased entrepreneurial activities in the US. For the past 40 years, entrepreneurship has been down. Many economists have pointed out that this led to stagnant job growth, poor economic resilience, and low innovation. 

However, the resurgence of entrepreneurship could bring back productivity and the dynamic aspect needed to rebound the economic recessions in the future. 

Houston is one of the places where you can see a boom in entrepreneurship. And there are several reasons why anyone would consider building their startup business in Houston, as it has a diverse and growing population, etc.

What’s more, Houston MSA’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) earned about USD 512.2 billion during 2019 while having 160,000 business establishments earning around USD 129.5 billion for exports alone in 2020. It is a clear indication that the business opportunities for startups in Houston are very favorable, especially if you plan to go global.  

Here are just some examples of startups that have gone international:

Elemental Coating (formerly known SurfEllent) 

SurfEllent’s startup story begins with the research of Hadi Ghasemi, whose research was licensed by the University of Houston. His research drew inspiration from North American Wood Frogs that could tolerate extreme freezing temperatures and survive the winter. 

They have since expanded their brand to cater to several industries locally and abroad that rely on automation, from marine to architecture. 

Last March 2021, they were given a grant worth $750,000 by the US air force to create “ice phobic” coatings for their aircraft.

Sysco Corporation

Sysco Corporation is a Houston-based company that has become one of the world’s leading foodservice companies. They provide support across 90 countries and operate across different continents.

In researching their marketing tactics and strategy, part of their strategy involved creating a blog dedicated to restaurant owners and professional chefs, featuring online recipe books and magazines, etc. 

Considerations When Creating an International Marketing Campaign and Strategy

Whereas Elemental Coatings, much of their marketing derived from news coverage and grants. Sysco Corporation, however, relied on digital marketing techniques through digital content to market their brand and company website.

Because of this, we’ve written some considerations when creating the perfect marketing campaign and strategy for international expansion, as follows:

Working with a Translation Company

The translation is what makes or breaks your international marketing campaign. For this reason, we encourage you to work with a translation company, especially if it’s your first time entering a foreign market, as they can guide you in how to best approach your target locale. 

We interviewed William Mamane, the Chief Marketing Officer of Tomedes, a translation company that has translated thousands of pages of marcom content for Fortune 500 companies for more than a decade now. When dealing with startups, Tomedes has assisted in translating and marketing their brands to foreign markets they plan to enter.

“Startups have the potential in bringing in innovation and technology that larger companies wouldn’t be able to provide due to constraints,” Mamane explained. “For any startup looking to go international, I advise that you take advantage of that flexibility into your marketing and business strategy. When expanding, you will have to consider changing some characteristics of your brand, your product, and services for your target locale. It’s all a matter of translating your brand so that your target locale can relate to it while retaining the essential aspects of your company.”

Local Market Research

When conducting research, a translation company can assist you with identifying your target locale, your locale’s culture, language, market, local competitors, demand volume, etc. You can conduct a feasibility study on your target locale regarding market opportunities and operations. 

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many entrepreneurs failed to take into account market research. By studying your target market, you can keep close tabs on your finances and reduce costs with your operations and marketing tactics.

Creating Content Strategy

Part of your consideration in creating a content strategy is translating your website. Gartner, a market research firm, reported that translating your website is necessary because about 66% of their survey participants said it’s important that the website is in their native language. 

A translation company can facilitate translating your website and digital content for your target locale, while at the same time helping with SEO. Your market research will be essential in your content based on the preference of your target locale. 

Online Platform Preference

During your research period, look into the online platforms where your target locale often uses. Some social media platforms, like Facebook, aren’t popular in countries, like Japan and Russia. 

Change Services and Products 

Again, marketing and operations go hand and hand. Sometimes, you will have to change certain aspects of your products and services for your target locale so that you can effectively enter a new market.

Be ready to change some things about your services and products because if you want to go global, you will need to go local.

Final Thoughts

Despite the pandemic affecting the global economy, entrepreneurship is on the rise, even in Houston. If you’re looking to expand internationally with your startup, working with a translation company is your best bet in ensuring that your marketing campaign becomes successful. 

Keetria is an entrepreneur, wellness advocate, and brand strategy coach for creatives & entrepreneurs with 16 years of public relations expertise working with some of the world’s leading brands, startups, media personalities, and entertainers. If you would like to work together, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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