10 Tips Shared by Companies Who Have Gone Global

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At a recent How to of Going Global event in Dublin sponsored by KPMG Private Enterprise, supported by Enterprise Ireland, Ulsterbank and Business Achievers, companies discussed the challenges and opportunities of scaling and going global. Here are 10 tips shared by companies who have gone global:


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1. The importance of story

What's the story behind the business, this becomes a key marketing and brand building element. And combined with good PR, you can use this in your new markets, with a couple of provisos, you have to understand the market and know that the story will resonate there and you also have to ensure your distributor knows your story and can tell it.

Your story, the emotional buy, what's the struggle you are overcoming? 

The CEO is Chief Storyteller, as CEO you need to tell that story regularly, trickle it consistently down the organisation, so everyone in the company knows the story. Your distributor has to understand the story and be able to tell it.

Own a theme and tell stories around the theme, aiming to get to the point where people see your brand and know the story.

Story can also drive innovation.

Think about your brand story in terms of DNA - what can't be copied - what's unique about your story, what's true to you, what is authentic. Build your communications and emotional connection around your brand DNA.

Recommended reading: Top Tips for How to Go Global

2. You need a distributor on the ground

Germans buy from Germans, Chinese from Chinese, etc. so a distributor on the ground is essential.

What matters to distributors? Distributors will look at

  • innovative product
  • scale - can they achieve x sales in y years on your product
  • reliable supply chain
  • technical and marketing support, e.g. are you using social media to create awareness with end consumer

3. You must understanding the psychology of the new market and the buyers

For example, in China people never buy off top shelf they mistrust that and go to bottom shelf. Take the time to research and understand the psychology of the culture and the buyers.

4. Go regional to start exporting in a new market

Piloting in one small area then applying learnings to next area to expand. Don't try to tackle the country as a whole at once.

Recommended reading: 5 Mistakes Companies Make When Trying to Go Global

5. Understand the eco-system that you are selling in

No business is an island. You need to understand the value chain and the eco-system and see where you can add value. For example, in retail in the States, no one is interested in your product by itself, they are looking at how they can get your product to sell other products on the shelf.

Not only looking at what problem are we solving for end consumer but also what problem are we solving for the members of the ecosystem. How can we add value, solve issues, etc

Analyse the value chain, start with consumer and work back.

6. Control your own media

Build an email list and sell to that. Email transcends borders.

7. The importance of market intelligence, market research and the data

Do your market research. Ask these key questions

  • Do you like this product?
  • What would you pay to use it?
  • Would you replace what you are currently using to use this?

Avail of market research and feasibility funding offered by LEO and EI.

The results should inform strategy for PR and marketing, enabling you to target the right segment, unlike Microsoft when launching the Surface Pro who went after millenials for their market not realising until they had spent a pile of money that it was 45-60 year olds who were buying it.

8. Being available both physically but also mentally

Physical availability - the product is there for you on the shelf
Mental availability - will I think of your brand when I'm in the market

9. Build relationships with 3rd level research institutes

They offer technical resources, people resources, grants including access to European and overseas funding, and could also become important first customers.

10. Twice as long and twice the cost

Be prepared for it to take twice as long and cost twice as much as expected to get there. Use your advisors wisely (pay for this advice!) and put in place the right kind of finance for the scaling and new market entry.

The 'How to of Going Global' events series is sponsored by KPMG Private Enterprise, the next invite-only events will take place in Cork, Dublin and Galway. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

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