What Is Group A-2 In Fire Prevention International Building Code Top Ten Tips Every Business Should Consider When Planning To Enter International Markets

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Top Ten Tips Every Business Should Consider When Planning To Enter International Markets

TIP 1 – FIND SOMEONE WHO DID IT

There is nothing worse than learning through trial and error. Especially when you are talking about international markets where you probably know little about the culture, customs and language. Find someone to point out obstacles and opportunities. Someone who can introduce themselves, has the resources and network to help. Someone who knows how to approach the market with their products.

It costs something. But the money and time you save will be far less than what you would have wasted going it alone.

TIP 2 – DON’T DEFEND THE EASY ANSWER WITHOUT LONG TERM THINKING

So you agree that you should look for someone who has already done this – now the caveat: choose your partners carefully! You may be “partnered” with them for a long time and they will be key to your success. How do you choose someone if you know little about the international market? Seek referrals – international trade organizations or industry groups in your state are a good place to start.

But don’t stop there: create a list of criteria and a profile that is most important to your company. Then interview, check references, and make field visits to those on your list. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of potential partners relative to your company’s needs and wants can help you make an informed decision while allowing you to make a timely decision.

TIP 3 – NOT FOR SALE IN THE UNITED STATES

Not so fast: Approaching new markets with the same best practices that make you successful at home may work – but most likely won’t, and you run the risk of negative brand perception upon launch.

This does not mean that you do all the work yourself. After all, that’s why you have partners. However, it’s worth managing the process and working with your partners to understand which parts of the sales process are most critical to localize versus what’s good. Yes, it’s more cost-effective, but more than that, it allows you to focus on what will have the biggest positive impact on sales straight from the slide.

Language, culture, humor can be key (English is not the same!). Also consider the infrastructure – how advertising is done, how many people or businesses are online, etc. Look at your end user motivations and influencers; may differ from those on the domestic market. What works “here” does not work everywhere; plan ahead for key differences.

TIP 4 – BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, NOT MIRACLES

“Sell! Sell! Sell!” There are many reasons to expand into another market, and of course increasing revenue is usually at the top of the list. If you currently live in a culture where sales professionals are primarily motivated by money, it may seem counterintuitive to spend time building relationships with your new sales channel. Then why? It will pay off in the short and long term, again and again!

I recently heard a story about a guy who worked for a company that had a huge banner hanging in the lobby where employees entered the building. The message: “You work here to make money.” The company survived; there was a lot of turnover. This single focus resulted in an employer/employee relationship that lacked trust, respect and communication. It worked well in good times. In bad times it was a disaster.

Building good relationships with your representatives in new markets allows them to mutually understand and get to know each other and their respective businesses; its values, expectations and goals become clearly known and understandable. Trust, respect and mutual support will grow as you partner over time to increase market share, increase revenue and sustain profitability. Find what your partner is good at and take advantage of it. Fill in the blanks and support them where they are weak. Good relationships lead to good customer experience. Everyone is happy.

Focus only on the money and you will likely end up at the bottom of the list in terms of attention to your products. Others may be looking for an opportunity to jump ship—perhaps to competitors. It’s just not worth it. Take your time – build the relationship.

TIP #5 – DON’T FORGET YOUR LANGUAGE

Surely many people around the world speak English – it has become the language of business. Does this make it easier to do business across borders? Simple things can be difficult. Even native English speakers can have misunderstandings because of the language! Be diligent about product naming, translation of instructions, advertising, and more.

History offers many examples of this theme:

• The American presentation of the “Nova” car in South America did not “go” very well

• “Snapshot” is slang for “butt” in German and Dutch

• Japanese hotel notice to guests: “We ask that you take advantage of the maid service”

• A Hong Kong dentist claims to extract teeth “by the latest methodists”.

• In Copenhagen, an airline once promised to “carry your luggage and send it in all directions”

A personal example: I attended a conference in a large hotel in a country where I did not speak the language. After an all-day meeting, a large group of people rented a small bus to visit the local science and technology museum. I decided to join them at the museum later and asked the Porter to get me a taxi that would take me to the museum to meet the bus. Imagine my surprise when my taxi driver rushed down the narrow streets and told me “we’ll catch the bus”. I tried to explain, but he drove on, forcing the bus to pull over so I could join the group, and calmly informed me, “Madame, it’s your bus.” What can I do? I paid the driver and got on the bus.

TIP #6 – CULTURE, CULTURE, CULTURE

Business language, greetings, addresses, business cards, conversation topics, negotiations, introductions, business meals, public behavior…need I go on? All of these and more must be addressed within the culture in which you do business. Tips and guidelines are available for many cultures.

But what about colors, price standards, truth in advertising, humor, product names, packaging? Culture drives the attitudes and behavior of business partners and prospective customers, and new market entrants must be ready to adapt – “localize” where it matters.

See how people buy and sell: Exporting channel strategies that work in one country can feel more like a square peg in a round hole:

• There are many small player strata in Japan

• There are many small shops in Brazil

• Mall Argentina was like being in the United States

Cultural differences can trip you up if you’re not paying attention – the little things mean a lot, so do your homework and pay attention to the details from the start! Bonus: you’ll have more fun and build stronger relationships!

TIP #7 – DON’T LEAVE THE POLITICAL SITUATION

Ownership, operational and remittance risks are key areas to consider when assessing the political situation of a new target market. You already know that knowing and appreciating a country’s history, language and culture is critical – review the political background to get the full picture before making a long-term investment. Monitor political developments and factors beyond government control, such as strikes, and create country-specific approaches to your business model, including contingency plans.

Be sure to consider any laws or regulations that may affect the marketing of your products, such as

• Import of goods

• Anti-dumping/below cost sales of products

• Licensing

• Recycling fees and CE marking issues

• Health and safety regulations

• Advertising

• Membership requirements (e.g. chamber, trade union)

• Nationalist buyers or suppliers

• Currency and transfer restrictions

• Added value and export performance requirements

There are many things to consider, but the good news is that there are many resources available both in the US and in your target market.

TIP 8 – DISTANCE MAKES EVERYTHING MORE DIFFICULT

When making go-to-market decisions, it’s critical to look beyond the “mathematical equation” – the sales potential may be great, but is it really the next best option? Distance can make a difference, and “distance” is more than geographical.

In his 2004 Harvard Business Review article, Distance Still Matters, Pankaj Ghemewat proposes a framework for evaluating markets that examines “distance” through a number of lenses:

• Geographical (common border, suitable transport or communication systems, physical distance, climatic differences, time zones)

• Cultural (religion, race, social norms, language)

• Administrative (currency, trading agreements)

• Economic (income, distribution/channel quality)

• Where does it manufacture?

• How do you handle customer service or working with vendors?

• Does the distribution system support your product?

• Will the purchase conditions remain the same?

• What about localization needs?

• Is sharing a language more important than geographical proximity?

The answers to these questions will vary depending on what product you have and where you are in your company’s international business life cycle. Understanding what matters most and acting on it will be a key driver of successful international expansion.

TIP 9 – DON’T RECRUIT IF YOU WANT TO

Local laws and regulations vary, but are often much stricter than US labor laws, especially when someone needs to be let go for business or other reasons.

You could say that this is a classic question of “control” and “risk”. While many more companies are “born international” in today’s economy, most companies are still working through the “going international” life cycle. On average, 15% of exporters stop exporting each year, while 10% of non-exporters start exporting. Companies progress more or less through the stages until they reach (or stop) their capabilities or products, with the most critical turning points: starting or stopping exporting.

As mentioned above, you should exercise caution when selecting any partner, whether a distributor or an employee. It can be tempting to get in touch right away with the idea that there will be more “checks” like with a distributor relationship. However, the risks can be similar and disconnecting can be even more costly, so make sure you really need it before taking that step. There are four key factors to consider when making your decision:

• The degree of standardization of the product range

• Marketing program beyond the product

• Location and extent of value-added activities

• Competitive scenarios

Finding a balance will be key to success.

TIP 10 – NOT ONLY THE PRODUCT

• Messages

• Marketing materials

• Sales and channel tools

• Customer service and support

Everything is set, now the question is how much “localization” do you need to do to get sales? Language, culture, and purchasing habits are just some of the factors that can affect the effectiveness of your product support structure and materials.

Ideally, it would build adaptability in advance, but usually companies think about how to adapt products and services that are already successful in the domestic market. You may or may not need to adapt the product itself to local markets, but it’s likely that materials, packaging, training, and more will need to be modified—at least marketing and sales materials translated into local languages—to succeed.

The most important thing to know: don’t skimp on what you need to support international markets.

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