Unlocking Your Market Potential

Ensuring your First Success in International Business Development
(with some comforting advice on avoiding three common pitfalls)

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Pitfall number 3: I built up the company by myself here, I don't need help abroad either.

People who build successful companies have a lot of characteristics in common – a belief in themselves and their business vision, attention to detail, and quite frankly, they’re often control freaks. They want to control the evolution of their company abroad in the same way as they controlled it at home. But if you’re the do-it-yourself type, then you’re going to be burning up a lot of time and hard cash on the plane and in hotels, and you’ll have to occupy all of your spare time on those planes and in those hotels reading up on the way the locals do business if you really want to set everything up personally.

Very often, the type of person that successfully grows a small company from scratch to the point where there is a solid customer base and a healthy revenue stream might not be the best person to guide the company through the next level of expansion. Initial organic growth may be replaced by more extensive partnerships and distribution channels, as well as mergers and acquisitions. The successful recipe for international expansion is definitely more akin to this second phase of development than to the initial phase of organic growth, with a corresponding requirement for a new set of managerial skills.

So learn to delegate. There are boutique firms out here that can help you out. A boutique firm offers specialized services to a select clientele, and you’re the select client who needs those specialized services to make sure your expansion is carried out as efficiently as possible. Your cash can buy excellent professional services rather than round-trip fares.
Here are some of the core services that can help you plan and then implement on the ground: Initial market assessment and strategy, business planning, outsourced sales, office location assessment, lease negotiation and set-up, legal counseling on international business agreements between countries, interim financial planning, accounting and tax planning, recruitment, ongoing human resource management ….phew! Try doing all that yourself!

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© January 2003, Keith Rayner