Strategic business advisor Maarten de Jeu discusses eight factors that he believes every business owner should consider before expanding into the international market. As the founder of SVM Advisory, a consulting firm that works with tech start-ups, Fortune 100 financial service companies
and individuals with assets in excess of thirty million, he boasts a successful career in financial services and international business, as well as the understanding of the different cultural institutions that deeply influence the far-reaching business networks like those in Asia and Europe.
First, a business owner must focus on quality and consistency because the first impression may be the last impression if a company consistently markets defective products or services. A standardized product or service that delivers every time is essential to building a good reputation that perpetuates. People’s opinions of products fluctuate, it’s normal, however a company should shrive to maintain the favor of it’s consumers.
Second, respect and understanding for a country’s local language, as well as their cultural norms, is mandatory. Understanding the differences between one’s own tongue and that of another’s can be a deciding factor in prosperity. A word or saying, and even gestures, in the English world can
translate into something else in a foreign culture, which could lead foreign consumers to feeling offense, even if it wasn’t intentional. Maarten de Jeu recommends talking with local representatives in order to learn the local trends, both business and cultural.
Third, a company looking to expand into the global market should cultivate long-term relationships with foreign consumers and/or partners, consultants, basically any entity that would help increase staying power. De Jeu recommends hiring locals, as opposed to transferring employees from home, to operate overseas. A dedication to staying power is a must.
Suitability is the next factor. A business enterprise needs to observe the local market to determine is there is a need for their product or services. If the demand for something is there, then the money is, as well. Offering a product or service in an area without demand would lead to failure.
Getting to know the local business market of an area and applying standard business practices is the next factor. Owners have to plan it out thoroughly; where to find consumers, their hiring practices, and so on.
Import regulations comes next. Knowing the laws and regulations of a country would ensure a smooth operation.
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Finding potential investors is also important. Expanding into the international market takes time
and a considerable amount of money.
Lastly, a company on the path to globalization need to learn to adapt because the road to this kind of success is often unpredictable and different obstacles will almost definitely arise. The more flexible a business venture is, the more it will be able to grow.
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