International expansion can help a business grow and develop. It can provide it with access to new resources and valuable new markets. Although it offers many benefits to an organization, it’s also associated with some challenges.
Most companies today have a global appeal. Demand for their products isn’t limited to a certain country, region, or culture. Whether a company develops and sells antivirus software or handmade jewelry, with the latest developments in ecommerce and international shipping, it often makes sense to consider selling on a global scale.
With any international expansion, it’s important to choose the country or countries you intend expanding into carefully.
When choosing a foreign market, it can be helpful to ask yourself these questions:
When expanding for the first time, it’s generally advisable to enter markets that are very close to your own country in terms of proximity and culture. An inexperienced product manager in the UK is more likely to succeed in Ireland than in Bolivia. However, cultural and legal similarities are much more important than physical proximity. The same inexperienced product manager in the UK is more likely to succeed in Australia or Canada than in France.
If culture and proximity aren’t relevant, then you could consider tying your product or service to macro and micro economic factors. For example, you’re likely to find the same premium, luxury goods in Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Norway. Although these countries are culturally and legally distant, they share a high standard of living and citizens of those countries enjoy higher than average incomes. Similarly, hairdressers offering 10-minute haircuts in train stations are usually found in cities with bustling fast-paced lifestyles such as Tokyo and New York.
Use a tool like the one we've developed for you below.
This tool is designed to help you work out and plan for expanding your business into other markets. It's designed to help you calculate according to these criteria:
The tool explains each criterion, what you need to cover in each, and lists suitable sources you can use to gather the information you need, such as authoritative online publications and data banks.
Based on your research and findings you can score each criterion per country, and once you've collected the total score for each country you can then rank the countries.
The higest scoring country is the most attractive to your international venture.
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