Most companies decide to engage in international business activities for different reasons from developing export sales in overseas markets to raising capital.
Becoming engaged in international business activities is a process which when undertaken correctly can lead your company towards achieving its international goals. The process of going global will vary slightly from company to company and by industry as well.
But international markets can be full of surprises; a law that don’t allow you to take your money out of a country, an RFP process that gets cancelled ten times, you get stuck with a local partner that doesn’t deliver but the local law prevents you from cancelling your contract, and so on..
You need to be prepared and willing to go through the unknown. For that, the first step towards success in global business requires a detailed analysis of your organization. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what does your organization do well and what does it do poorly?
Organizations, like people, tend to amplify their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. An entity which does not clearly recognize its strengths will fail to take advantage of good opportunities when they are presented. An entity which has failed to understand its weaknesses will be unable to compete effectively in a global marketplace which changes rapidly. Obviously, it is very important to recognize and enhance your strengths while improving upon your weaknesses.
So to expand internationally, it is important to consider if your business is ready and to be sure that you understand exactly what going international entails before you start.
Whether you’re new to international business or not, addressing clients abroad consumes time and money, and requires strong management commitment.
When a company seeks to diversify its markets for the first time, the challenge is to assess the potential to develop in a sustainable manner or occasional transactions with foreign countries and adapt its offer and sales procedures to a different business environment.
So, what does it take to be ready for international business?
Although the nature of each company’s products and markets will dictate the way forward, I have prepared a set of 50 generic, non exhaustive, self-analysis questions that in my opinion will guide throughout your process and ensure you’re addressing all aspects of getting clients abroad.