To do business internationally presents far greater challenges to local activity. Taking the step could be a complex process. However, to connect the global opportunities with a careful strategic analysis and approach, combined with strong cultural sensitivity, ground for international success. Innovative business models and to act with a resilient mindset is important on the global scene.
It is difficult to generalize successful global growth. There are common pitfalls that could decrease international success. Below some aspects to think of:
- Make sure to have the correct reason to go global – great skiing and tapas hardly guarantee profitable international business
- Think long-term - quick return does not exist so make sure you are ready
- There is no such “One-fits-all” strategy - each company holds unique needs, ambitions and hence, conditions to grow sales globally
- Bring in a local expert advisor to transform business potential into positive results – it could be crucial to manage risk, identify new revenue streams and shorter time to market
- Dare to go beyond data driven decision making and bring in cultural aspects and values
- Establish and strengthen local relationships and partner up to shape synergies within local ecosystems – monitor performance and draw learnings continuously
I have worked internationally all my life. Together with former employers or supporting other companies to grow businesses. Currently I am the Swedish Trade Commissioner to Spain and responsible for our operations on the Iberian Peninsula.
A fascinating and dynamic region, yet particularly affected by the crisis in Europe a few years back. Nevertheless, the bounce back has been impressive. Spain is one of the Occident´s fastest growing economies with a forecasted annual growth of 3 percent until 2019. Together with an increased industrial productivity, this creates interesting business opportunities for Swedish companies.
In order to facilitate a successful expansion, a data driven thorough analysis, bearing in mind potential impact on business, potential and strategy, readiness (organizational, product/solution/financial/legal) is crucial when you target a new market. Nevertheless, and in addition to this, companies should bring in cultural differences to accelerate the growth, both on and offline.
Global sales, as in the commercial interaction, is still human based no matter on- or offline. Our cultural heritage, values and beliefs influences that relationship and foster its results. In addition, they are far from being standardized. Local differences will have impact on international business and that knowledge must be part of any go-to-market strategy.
Language, dress code might be the closest aspects to bear in mind. Yet, how to combine and be successful between people who plan and do one thing at a time, those lively doing many things at once and those who prioritizes courtesy and respect. To quote Mr Richard D. Lewis “For a German and a Finn, the truth is the truth. In Japan and Britain, it is all right if it doesn’t rock the boat. In China there is no absolute truth. In Italy it is negotiable”.
With increased and fierce competition, leaner organizations, demanding ownership structures and high targets, a sales strategy becomes the very tool to meet expectations. Learn from others international journeys.
At Business Sweden, we ensure that international companies can rely on our knowledge, experience and extensive network to identify new business opportunities and achieve an accelerated return on investment – no matter what industry you are operating within. Once they are settled here, we make sure they are equipped for a successful long-term presence. Our ambition is to advice, support and deliver – all the way to the finishing line.