Taking your business global

Growth-minded business owners, the rest of the world is their oyster. Seeking international growth by going global as an importer-exporter offers opportunity aplenty.
Some of the specific advantages presented by successfully growing globally are as follows:
  • Reduce your dependence on the markets you have developed in your home country.
  • Extend extensively the sales life of existing products and services by finding new markets to sell them in.
  • Make entry into new markets with different or even countercyclical fluctuations cause by business due to seasonal changes or demand cycles.
  • Exploit corporate technology and know-how.
  • And to end this, by entering the global marketplace, you’ll learn how to compete against foreign companies.

What if your aspirations prompt you to debut your concept in a foreign land instead? Wesley Johnston, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Business and Industrial Marketing at Georgia State University in Atlanta, highlights the factors that can either make or break your business when you try to grow by going global. Here are key questions to ask yourself:

  • Will the product sell well in the targeted culture? Think market research. The good news is most American products and services are embraced overseas. But if many of your potential consumers are lactose-intolerant, you’d want to steer clear of opening an eatery that sells only cheese pizza, says Johnston.
  • Is your target market familiar with your product or service? If not, be prepared to invest a lot of time and money in consumer education. On the flip side, if you’re the first one to introduce a new and exciting concept, “the product then becomes synonymous with your company name or chain,” Johnston explains.
  • Do you feel comfortable in that country? Since you’ll probably have to live there temporarily to operate the chain in its early stages, you’ll need a working knowledge of the language and culture.
  • What is the infrastructure like? Can you get Western-style accommodations and support? How good are the roads? Are your supplies guaranteed? What about the reliability of hot water?

If you don’t get the answers you want with the first foreign market you’re considering entering, that may not mean your idea is poor-just that you picked the wrong place. “It’s a big, big world out there,” Johnston says. “I don’t think there’s any one idea that won’t work somewhere.”

Along with promise, going global carries an equally heavy load of peril. From chasing too many opportunities to getting whacked by currency fluctuations, the game of international expansion has many threats that domestic-only businesspeople never see. You can grab the brass ring of growth by going global, but only if you avoid the pitfalls.

Going Global

Doing business around the world can seem a long way from doing business in your hometown. But each year countless small businesses make the trek. Like most long journeys, going global can be boiled down to a series of steps. Here are the six basic steps to going global:

  1. Start your campaign to grow by international expansion by preparing an international business plan to evaluate your needs and set your goals. It’s essential to assess your readiness and commitment to grow internationally before you get started.
  2. Conduct foreign market research and identify international markets. The Ministery of Commerce is an excellent source of information on foreign markets for goods and services.
  3. Evaluate and select methods of distributing your product abroad. You can choose from a variety of means for distributing your product, from opening company-owned foreign subsidiaries to working with agents, representatives and distributors and setting up joint ventures.
  4. Learn how to set prices, negotiate deals and navigate the legal morass of exporting. Cultural, social, legal and economic differences make exporting a challenge for business owners who have only operated in your home country.
  5. Tap government and private sources of financing-and figure out ways to make sure you are getting paid. Financing is always an issue, but government interest in boosting exporting and centuries of financial innovation have made getting funding and getting paid easier than ever.
  6. Move your goods to their international market, making sure you package and label them in accordance with regulations in the market you are selling to. The globalization of transportation systems helps here, but regulations are still different everywhere you go.

International expansion is not necessarily the best way to grow your company. Your home market is big enough for most small businesses to expand almost indefinitely. But entering the international arena can protect you against the risk of decline in domestic markets and, most important, significantly improve your overall growth potential.

Read more :  Growing Your Business

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