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Expanding your business into new markets, both locally and globally, may seem like a daunting task. But with current advances in communication tools, there’s never been a better time for entrepreneurs to grow their business by selling their wares in uncharted territory.

Globalization, and the trade lines it creates, is the great equalizer. Companies with one or 10,000 employees can now access the same opportunities and the same target demographic. According to the latest Key Small Business Statistics report produced by Industry Canada, nearly 85% of Canadian exporters were small businesses in 2002 (latest data available). This group was responsible for 20% of the total value of exports, with an average value of $2.3 million.

Make your Web site more effective

Bearing these new opportunities in mind, your business took the necessary steps to enter this international market; you’ve conducted research into prospective new markets, defined a business plan for accessing them, and identified a value proposition for the customer base. You’ve even spent money on advertising in the new area. By all accounts, now you’re ready. Is your Web site? While your current virtual storefront may be perfectly tuned to your local customers, it may not be as effective for your new audience.

When expanding into a new region remember to:
  • Ensure your Web site is available in the new audience’s language
  • Convert prices into the local currency
  • Include shipping, handling and applicable taxes
Sometimes, expanding to new markets may drive the need for a new site altogether. Web site design and development services from Bell can help you with the nuances of an effective site — from graphic design, online marketing, logical content organization and categorizing, to programming and technical insight.

With the influx of new hits on your site, make sure it can handle the increased traffic. This is the time to assess your site’s hosting capabilities. Does your current Web-hosting solution still make sense? If you already run a Web store, investigate your site’s e-commerce functionalities and upgrade as necessary to accommodate different currencies. For example, Bell’s e-commerce tool, EasyStoreMaker, provides support for multiple currencies, tax codes and pricing — perfect for the growing business.

Open new markets

Your Web site is just one avenue of support for your new customers. For them, access to toll-free numbers to contact your business is paramount. Toll-free numbers can be customized as much, or as little, as you like. You can choose from a 1-800 number available in North America only or one with global coverage. Geo-targeting capabilities tailored to where you will be conducting business can also be arranged. If you want to track inbound calls by country, choose different international toll-free numbers specifically for calling from within your company’s various markets.

Beyond your toll-free number’s features, added personal touches can provide your enterprise with an edge over the competition. Consider adding IVR menus available in other languages, and representatives well-versed in your new market’s business landscape. These valuable add-ons can convey your business’s commitment to serving prospective clients.

You can test a potential new market by setting up a virtual number with Business IP Voice from Bell. With this feature, clients in Vancouver, for example, will dial a number that appears local. Meanwhile, you can retrieve these calls from your primary business line in Toronto. This way, small businesses can appear as global giants.

Growing your business has never been easier with access to the right technology tools. To find out more about Internet and telephony solutions for your growing business, visit bell.ca.


Available to business customers in Ontario and Québec where technology permits.