The Right Way to Grow Your Business Internationally
By definition, “going global” is the worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. The concept of globalization can be traced back as far as the Roman Empire. The Right Way to Grow Your Business Internationally
For small and emerging businesses, going global is a significant undertaking that could disrupt existing business activities. Thus, it is for crucial for CEOs and business leaders to understand its full impact and determine if the rewards outweigh the risks. Stakeholders across the organization will be called on to carry more responsibilities to continue to execute on day-to-day activities in addition to the global initiative.
Taking a small business global is a complex and dynamic process. Gaining a deep understanding of the targeted markets, the competition, current local market trends, and the requirements to successfully launch and drive growth lays an important foundation.
Understand the need of your Products/Services in the International Market
Before going global, it is critical to understand what the full impact on your business will be.
- Prepare a market segmentation analysis to determine if your product will sell in the local market.
- Prepare a product gap analysis against local products. Is there a demand that is not satisfied by a local company?
- Perform a SWOT analysis against competition. Your product will likely be higher priced than local products. Will the market buy your product?
- Consider market opportunity/sizing. How big is the market and how long will it take you to capture your targeted sales?
Develop a strategy and business plan
Each market has its own nuances due to economic, cultural, governmental, and market conditions. It is important to develop a localized strategy and business plan that drives local success while remaining integrated with the overall corporate strategy and objectives.
- Define short-, medium-, and long-term strategy. Set reasonable goals to measure progress and cost/benefits.
- Define goals, objectives, and success metrics.
- Complete the business model and structure. Decide if you set up a separate company, a branch, or a sales office.
- Develop a top-down annual budget.
- Develop a tactical project plan with commit dates.
Discover strategic partners
If you are thinking about the expansion of your business internationally, for example in Hong Kong, then you need to have different strategies for Hong Kong markets. As a matter of fact, embarking into a new territory would prove to be difficult for a single entity to execute expansion smoothly. Always consider finding a strategic partner for your business, one aware of all the new trends of the market in that region where you are hoping to expand.
Establish a beachhead team
Many global companies try to launch with executives from the parent company or rapidly build a local team from scratch. This is time consuming, risky, and slows time to market. Using proven senior interim executives allows the company to hit the ground running, quickly validate assumptions, and drive key readiness initiatives while the company hires the right senior management team.
- Bring on senior interim executives with deep domain expertise or outsource interim leadership to executive leadership organizations.
- Establish the financial infrastructure—consider outsourcing this to local service providers.
- Begin the recruiting process for the permanent leadership team.
Expanding your business overseas is not for the fainthearted, but for most businesses it will be inevitable as global markets offer greater opportunities for growth. By paying attention to details and outsourcing administrative functions, the difficult job of “going global” can produce great results