It takes an extraordinary amount of hard work to set up a business. It takes a greater deal of hard work to make the business a success.
It takes a greater deal of effort still to turn the business into a globally successful one.
When companies such as Tesco and Starbucks find it an uphill battle to achieve worldwide success, that speaks volumes for how fiendishly tough it is to have a globally successful brand.
Hard work alone is not enough to make it big on a worldwide scale. The key ingredient is often understanding how overseas buyer cultures work and being able to adapt your product or service (and indeed your overall business) accordingly.
What are the key mistakes to avoid in going global?
- Lack of research.
This is often the one that scuppers dreams of global business domination. Every international market has its own unique characteristics.
For instance, your domestic market might have a culture of impulsive buying, but a foreign one could be far more conservative.
- Failing to adapt.
This is another common error in international expansion.
What works in Ireland or the UK, for example, is by no means guaranteed to work in the USA or Japan. A level of adaptation to other cultures is essential.
- Inadequate budgeting.
You know that going global will cost big bucks, but a lot of businesses still don’t budget sufficiently to meet the investment that international expansion demands.
- Expecting a quick return.
The costs involved in going global are so steep that you would be utterly foolish to think you’ll make the money back quickly.
International expansion is a long-term game.
- Casting the net too wide.
Some businesses decide to expand internationally and try to crack numerous markets straight away, when they would be much better off focusing on one or two. Expansion can be incremental.
What are the benefits of going global?
This all makes it seem as if international expansion is a disaster waiting to happen, but if you develop a sensible strategic plan, you could be on to a winner.
- Continued growth.
You could settle for being top dog domestically, but then are you really progressing?
If there’s a genuine chance that the business will succeed internationally, go for it if you want the company to grow.
- Reduced domestic dependence.
Just because you are number one at home now doesn’t mean you will be forever. A seasonal lull in the domestic market could be tough to endure, so why not try to pounce on concurrently strong periods elsewhere?
- Brand development.
A globally recognized and respected brand is worth millions. Think of how McDonalds and Google are world-renowned names.
If you play your cards right, you too could have a brand that enjoys a positive image all around the world.
- Shooting for the stars.
If the chance to challenge the world’s biggest brands doesn’t excite you as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be in business.
Every entrepreneur should relish the opportunity to take on the big boys at their own game, because it’s an opportunity that only comes along for a very select few.
Depending on what your business does and how it would translate to foreign markets, international expansion may or may not be for you. The least you should do is fully analyze the likelihood of succeeding globally. After all, you’ve achieved a lot in setting up the business and bossing the domestic market, so think of it as another rung on the ladder.
About The Author
This is a guest post by Colette Cassidy, Director of Irish tax consultancy firm All Finance Tax.