Do you feel like you’ve tapped out the national market for your products or services? Going global could be the right choice, as long as you’re tactical about planning and team-building.
When your company is not gaining traction or generating revenue nationally, you might wonder how to quickly improve your profitability. One strategy is to expand into the international market. While this decision requires careful consideration, it can help you diversify your customer base and potentially withstand future economic turbulence within the country.
International expansion is not a new concept, of course. Many companies have been pursuing global expansion for years. In a recent survey conducted by Outleap, 44% of high-growth organizations indicated that they plan to expand their presence in global marketplaces in 2024. However, it may not be suitable for every business or situation.
Moving outside your country’s borders as a business requires thorough planning because failure is always possible. Consider Walmart’s unsuccessful expansion into Japan. Though it happened more than a decade ago, it is still upheld as a prime example of how not to expand a brand into a new country. However, many companies experience success when they expand into other regions of the world. This is why visiting a McDonald’s on six continents on Earth is possible. (Sorry, residents and visitors of Antarctica!)
What is the secret to succeeding in international expansion? There is no single solution. That said, the following strategies will help you establish your business for growth.
- Acquire the talent you need.
It’s impossible to expand if you have the wrong people in the wrong positions. Your team needs to be sufficiently large and prepared to progress. Therefore, take the time to create an internal flow chart to illustrate how everyone’s distinct roles will interconnect.
Be prepared for the possibility of having to do some restructuring. You might even want to consider transitioning to a flatter organizational structure, as recommended by McKinsey and Company. This approach can empower employees to act quickly, make internal decisions, and adapt. No matter what kind of organizational design you choose for your team, make sure that you have carefully considered each position. By doing so, you can avoid scrambling to keep up in case your global expansion leads to a sudden increase in processes, workflows, and responsibilities.
- Conduct market research.
Before moving to any country or region, conduct thorough market research. As mentioned earlier, Walmart experienced a setback when it attempted to establish a presence in Japan. The reason? Walmart didn’t understand the Japanese customers’ perception of value.
Market research will enable you to see international customers from their perspective, not yours. Remember that you may be biased by nature as an outsider. Unless you have lived in a foreign country for an extended period, you probably don’t understand the people there. By gathering data and conducting a comprehensive market analysis, you can identify opportunities and avoid pitfalls.
- Focus on expanding your partnerships and alliances.
What could be better for your brand than having an established organization introduce your company as a partner? Forming alliances with key players can provide instant credibility and visibility for your marketing and sales efforts. You won’t have to work as hard to prove that your business belongs in the market when you have a local ally.
It’s worth mentioning that another way to establish partnerships is through global mergers and acquisitions. Could your company benefit from this $2.87 trillion industry, as reported by Axios? Perhaps, if the timing is right. Although international mergers and acquisitions slowed in 2023, they remain a viable strategy for many companies to quickly establish relevance in a new country.
- Enable customized, localized business strategies.
No two nations are the same regarding customer preferences, legal regulations, tax expectations, or anything else. Consequently, ensure your company is prepared to develop and implement localized business strategies. As a reminder, these business strategies may simply be small “tweaks” of what you do nationally or radically different.
For example, consider how Dunkin’ examines doughnut production worldwide. Dunkin’ is known for incorporating local flavors into its stores. From date donuts and pork floss donuts to kimchi donuts and lychee donuts, Dunkin’ remains adaptable to maintain its competitive edge. Your company can do the same with the products you offer, the types of marketing you implement, your sales and support efforts, and more.
- Utilize technology to ensure everyone is on the same page.
One of the major challenges of expanding your team and organization is keeping everyone informed. When your team members are located in different time zones, they will likely work asynchronously. As a result, they need to have the right tools to communicate effectively and efficiently, especially your leaders who manage direct reports remotely.
Technology can come to your rescue by providing software, platforms, and other solutions, enabling everyone to connect and share. Don’t forget that the right technology can also enable you to “virtually gather” for your annual corporate awards ceremony, quarterly team meetings, and other events. The easier it is for your team members to complete their tasks and collaborate with their colleagues, the stronger your entire company will become as it grows.
You don’t have to be the biggest company in your industry to establish a global presence. You can find a place in the international market, whether a startup or a small business. You just need to invest the time and energy into strategizing your expansion to improve your chances of reaching your ultimate goals.
Written by Mike Szczesny.
Have you read?
Revealed: Most Physically Demanding and Difficult Jobs in the United States, 2024.
Revealed: Most In-Demand Education Careers in America, 2024.
Here are the top 25 industries with the highest potential for job creation in 2024.
These are the richest fashion designers in the world, 2024.
Revealed: Countries with the strongest military forces in the world, 2024.
Thank you for supporting our journalism. Subscribe here.
For media queries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org