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Exploring Global Markets: Taking Your Business International

Coral Drake | April 10, 2024 |

Exploring Global Markets: Taking Your Business International

As the world gets smaller, the global market gets more accessible. World markets today offer a wealth of opportunities to business owners looking for new places to expand. However, international business can be risky as well. Here are some global business strategies to set you up for success in global markets. 

Strategies for Taking Your Business International

Understand Your Place in World Markets Today

Before you think about expanding into global markets, you’ll need to do your research. Comprehensive market research lays the groundwork for navigating success in global markets.

  • Location: Market research reports about the demand and the size of the customer base in different regions can help you identify where the greatest opportunities for growth lie.  Understanding local regulations and economic climate ensures you’re investing somewhere you have opportunities to grow. The Global Market Finder is a great resource to help you determine what products are currently exported from the US and where they go. 
  • Competition: Analyze your competitors within global markets, both local and international. Understanding the competitive landscape enables you to identify gaps in the market; places where you can differentiate your brand and find a niche for yourself. 
  • Customers: International marketing success hinges on navigating cultural differences well and adapting your brand seamlessly to each target market. Consumer behavior, preferences, and values will all influence your global branding strategies.
  • Market-Specific Risks: Entering new territories comes with special risks. Thorough risk assessments identify and strategize against specific risks like local natural disasters, political unrest, etc. Specialized insurance coverage like political risk insurance or international product liability insurance is a safety net against the risks most likely to affect the area you choose to expand into. 

Develop an Effective Market Entry Strategy

A well-crafted market entry strategy is the linchpin of successful global business management, determining how well a business will break into new markets and establish a lasting presence. More than 95% of the world’s consumers are outside the US, but deciding how to reach them isn’t easy. 

The first step is deciding on an entry mode:

  • Direct exporting allows for the greatest control over the distribution of products, but you may struggle to find somewhere to sell successfully. 
  • Forming partnerships, joint ventures, or subsidiaries in the target market can make it easier to break into a new market, but also depends on the quality of the partnership. 
  • Licensing, or granting a local company the rights to produce and sell a product, is a quick way to enter a foreign market with minimal investment, but means relinquishing a lot of control over how the product is marketed and sold.
  • Franchising allows another business to operate with your brand, products, and business model, common in the service industry, particularly in fast food and retail. It allows a lot of control with relatively little risk, but depends on the capacity of the franchisee to adapt your brand to the local market.
  • Appointing local distributors or agents who understand the local market well is less risky than direct exporting because it allows companies to benefit from the local knowledge of their partners, but it also depends on those partners.
  • Utilizing online platforms to sell directly to consumers in other countries has become increasingly popular due to its low entry barriers and the global reach of the internet, but it is a fiercely competitive field, and demands the same kind of global inventory management as direct exporting. 

A successful market entry strategy is tailored to the target market. Local customs, business practices, and legal requirements all determine the best way to enter the market.

Keep in mind you don’t have to necessarily limit yourself to one kind of expansion. For example, you could start with e-commerce, then form a partnership to have pop-ups at local shops in the target area, and then switch to direct exporting down the road, once you have the lay of the land.

Adapt to the Culture

A consistent global brand image is paramount to your success, but that doesn't mean that every aspect of the brand must remain unchanged. In fact, total adherence to the current brand guide would be a bad idea. 

What it does mean is that core brand values and identity should remain intact at the same time as your brand adapts to reflect local cultures and preferences. Your brand must be recognizable and retain its integrity across different markets at the same time as it adapts to be as attractive as possible to specific markets. 

Adapting branding while maintaining a coherent global brand narrative is a delicate dance, but integral to your brand’s success. 

Your company’s ability to understand, respect, and adapt to cultural nuances will make or break international marketing efforts and overall global business success.

Success depends on a beyond-surface-level examination of local customs, consumer habits, communication styles, and business etiquette. An international market analysis that does a good job of taking these cultural differences into account can inform strategies that ensure your business operates in harmony with local norms. 

Cultivating a corporate culture that values flexibility and learning from different cultural contexts also leads to more innovative solutions and sustainable partnerships. Ensuring that advertising respects local cultural sensitivities is crucial. Even relatively small misinterpretations or offenses can irrevocably tarnish a brand's reputation.

Form Strategic Alliances and Partnerships

Regardless of your plan for breaking into world markets, local partnerships and the strategic use of licensing and franchising may be useful global business strategies for you.

Local partnerships drastically reduce the time and resources required to understand global market trends and navigate the complex landscape of global business management. These collaborations offer access to essential local market knowledge and established sales networks.

Licensing or franchising agreements with local operators allow for rapid expansion of a business's footprint without requiring extensive capital. 

Forming alliances embed your business in the local market, allowing you to tap into pre-existing networks, customer bases, and distribution channels, reducing the barriers to entry. These partnerships for shared knowledge, risks, and rewards, can be conducive to mutual growth, but they also make you vulnerable because of your dependency on the partnership. Therefore, it’s wise to keep weighing the degree of risk vs potential advantage of forming any given alliance. 

Leverage Technology

If you want to enter world markets today, you need good tech behind your brand. Here are the essentials:

  • Global supply chain management systems track analytics around all locations.
  • Effective inventory management ensures products are stocked optimally.
  • International marketing platforms automate personalized customer interactions.
  • Multilingual support in customer service chatbots, websites, and product documentation enables user experience for customers in different regions.
  • Payment platforms supporting multiple currencies and complying with local financial regulations are essential for conducting international commerce. 
  • Communication technologies that offer real-time translation services can bridge language gaps between international team members and partnerships.

Explore Global Markets With Confidence

Venturing beyond domestic borders offers tremendous opportunity for your brand to expand and grow, but it can be very risky too. Do your research, form effective partnerships, and leverage cutting-edge tools and resources to set your company up for success.