Embarking On International Business

Embarking On International Business

The next challenge for the entrepreneur is to grow beyond the borders and become a global business. Not everyone can manage to get into international business as seamlessly as they should, and to be fair, not every business is meant to be a global business. But if you have ambitions to go global here's what you need to know if you want to run a successful global business.


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The challenge in growing beyond the borders becomes: how you can leverage your skills and current expertise into being a success in the global arena? After all, you don’t want to remain the biggest fish in a small pond. You want to become a success by embracing international commerce and availing your goods or services to the rest of the world.

Below are a few pointers or tips that you should consider if you want to run a successful global business.

1. Develop a global mindset

Every entrepreneur has a particular temperament that has made him or her successful at what they do. At the same time, you have to be able to do some inner reflection to know that you have the right skill set and attitude to be able to operate on a global scale. You have to be able to determine how being a success in a local business differs from, or is similar to, being a success on a global scale.

In other words, you need to have a global mindset or quickly learn how to think with a global mindset. But with all the different qualities and temperaments of successful global entrepreneurs and international expansion executives, they all have a few traits that are consistent. These include:

  • self-awareness
  • awareness and sensitivity to cross-cultural similarities and differences
  • an open and authentic attitude to the world
  • a need to engage with different cultures and do business under diverse conditions and circumstances
  • being able to adapt quickly
  • an adventurous spirit with some international travel experience
  • core business and life competencies

If you can genuinely say that you have these skills or that you will be ready to put in the work to achieve these skills, then you will most likely find a way to succeed in international business as well.

2. Is your business ready for the global arena?

The next most important step after determining that you are ready for international business is to determine whether your business is well placed for international trade. One of the best ways to do this is to find out if you will be relevant on a global scale.

It may be best to have organic growth and test a particular market before jumping in with both feet. This means that you should have an international mindset, but have a local mindset in the countries where you will be operating.

For example, if your business has a product line that includes 20 different products that have been a success in your country, you should realise that it may not be so in another country. The people in the particular country may be used to choosing between one or two products only.

Other considerations include:

  • Do you have enough production capacity that can be committed to the new international markets?
  • Does your company have the financial resources to support the growth and expansion into new markets including administrative capacity, marketing, legal, import and export, customer care, and so on.
  • Does your company have the skills and expertise to dedicate staff, time and resources to the global expansion plan? Or can you acquire the same?

3. Put in place the right team

After you ensure that your business is ready for expansion, then you will need a specialised team to ensure that your business will be a success in the global arena. Your most important goal, as you begin to put your global team together, should be to get the following skill sets as a priority:

  • An accountant with international credentials and experience: your accountant should especially have skills in accounting standards, taxation and currency trading. The accountant should be able to help you avoid overpaying taxes due to operating in two different jurisdictions and protect your cash flow from attrition due to international transactions including currency conversions.
  • A lawyer with international trade and commerce experience and with good networking skills: the lawyer will help you play hard ball while also helping you remain within the confines of the law, and protecting you and your business from those who want to take advantage.
  • A savvy banker with international skills, who has put together, or used different international financial vehicles: the banker can help you finance an export sale while protecting your investment and the banks at the same time, advise you on the risks of international transactions as well as protect you from them and help you structure competitive payment terms.
  • An expert in international logistics with experience in import and export, and different government customs and tax regulations: a logistics expert is important in ensuring that goods move safely from the country of origin to the destination, negotiates with taxes and customs officials in foreign countries, organises the safe shipping of goods while ensuring the correct goods are sent to the right place. A seasoned logistics expert will help you use the path of least resistance while doing things legally. They should also minimise your risk and costs of doing international trade.

Other members of your international team will also be necessary, but the ones mentioned above will be crucial to get as soon as you are ready to begin planning your expansion.

Putting together such a team will definitely require a lot of resources and networking on your part, but if you succeed in putting together a good team, you will have more than halved most of the problems that would have been stumbling blocks and prevented you from succeeding in international business.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2018
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