Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What small businesses do wrong when entering an overseas market

In LeaderValues

Author Gretchen Glasscock indicates the following in her article "Going Global: Study Your Markets, Develop a Strategic Plan:"

So going global in your ecommerce efforts makes good sense, but with the understanding that serious thought and preparation are required. Deirdre Mendez, PhD., President of Foreign Business Management Consultants in Austin, Texas says: "Small companies enter international markets without a clear strategy, and without adequate preparation. They don't research foreign markets, perform due diligence on foreign partners, protect their intellectual property or understand the customer culture of their overseas operations. They create partnerships that don't work and must be renegotiated or terminated. All of these mistakes take time to rectify and cost money. Some of them cannot be undone. But all of them can be avoided by strategic planning."

Mendez identifies the key issues you need to look at, some of which are the following:

• Point of Entry - the most strategic market for your launch.
• Distribution - if you're marketing a physical rather than a digital product.
• Partnerships - this can be the make or break decision in any business.
• Product Localization - usually a minimum of some form of translation is required, even if it's just translating the packaging.
• Customer Support - Expectations vary by country and long distance supervision is challenging so this is a particularly thorny issue
• Cultural Issues - riddled with landmines. Assume nothing. Get a trusted local to guide you through this and don't expect your local partner to carry this whole burden.

I don't necessarily agree with Dr. Mendez's comments because entrepreneurs and small businesses tend to make things happen in a BIG way. Granted we might not do everything perfect the first time but we do know how to get things done and if done wrong, we also know how to correct a situation mighty quick. For small businesses, I believe the simplest approach to going global is to find a reputable customer, determine how to get your product to him or her and secure payment! Sound familiar? It should because that's exactly how you start a local business.

If you want additional information on how to quickly get up and running on the international front, read the press release we issued 2/15/05 on "Global Guru" manifesto which tells you everything you need to know about going global. Need help? I'm always around to bounce ideas by. What are you waiting for? The world is at your door step.

No comments: