Numerous companies have tried their luck going international after being successful in their local markets.
Most of these companies left very little place for luck but undertook a strong process, from considering international expansion to going for it.
Here are six major steps successful companies consider and validate before the big jump.
Successful internationalisation always starts from a strong corporate governance and an alignment among investors, board members and directors that expanding is the right choice to fulfil the company’s mission.
Often successful in their local markets, company leaders have a comprehensive vision of what they need to achieve with their business, aka a plan and how going global will help them to transform this vision into reality.
Having robust finances is key to going international. From setting up an operation with incorporation and necessary legal costs to running it on a daily basis. Those things, when properly done, don’t come cheap.
However, doing it right is key to success. Hence, understanding how much is available for such operation or where to raise money either through debt or equity is necessary to be able to plan things financially and define the return over investment.
No business can be successful without its people. Making sure people will succeed from an expansion is one of the keys to success. Understanding the current skills present in the organisation, the ones missing and how to get them is essential. Training or recruitment, are the options there?
Speaking the language of the targeted country is very important. Remember: not everybody is good or willing to do business in English. Understanding the readiness to learn of your teams and their capacity to achieve change is essential for a successful move.
4- Process and Systems
If people are the soul of companies, process and systems are the skeleton to allow teams succeed in their mission. Understanding the current level of automation to do the tasks in the organisation is vital.
Going global means doing more, more often, and with more complexity. Making sure to define how you are managing the customer cycle from prospects to customers and how to support them is crucial. On a financial point of view, it is vital to adapt the current tools to something that can operate in a few languages, currencies or accounting mechanisms too.
5- Marketing & Sales
One of the main question to answer is how you will be able to reach new customers. Successful companies have a robust acquisition process defined by customer segments they want to approach where they can present their competitive differentiators.
Then, you need to define who will be doing the actual sales. A local person you will hire from HQ, a subsidiary you will create or building a strong partnerships with local companies to facilitate the transition.
Localisation is one NOT to forget. To build trust and engagement, you must engage your customers in their mother tongue showing how you can solve their use case. Tracking marketing results and conversion is capital to be able to tweak customer acquisition costs and sales return on investments.
6- Corporate Social Responsibility
Customers care about CSR or the Triple Bottom Line (People, Profit, Planet). You must understand how your product or solution will make a positive change in your destination market and use this as a competitive differentiator for success.
Successful companies that have expanded globally show the positive impact of their products to their customers and their communities. Their solutions are profitable for the companies and develop their employees skills and salaries over time. They become ambassadors of the business by promoting their solutions, contributing to a more sustainable planet.
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