With technology advancing quicker than you can say ‘global competitiveness’, international business is more feasible now than ever before.
Accordingly, companies looking to grow can expand their horizons, in the true sense of the word, by seeking opportunities on distant shores.
However, if you are looking to branch out into international markets, choosing which one(s) to target needs to a very calculated decision, based on a number of different factors.
Location, location, location
The first thing you will need to decide is where on earth, quite literally, you want to expand. And the only way you are going to find that out? Research, research, research.
An Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by Citi entitled ‘Hot Spots 2025: Benchmarking the Future Competitiveness of Cities’ earmarked Sao Paulo in Brazil, Incheon in South Korea and Mumbai in India as countries that business leaders should be keeping their eye on.
The report predicted these cities would experience the most significant surge in worldwide competitiveness between 2012 and 2025, based on how able they were to attract investment, business, talent and tourists. It also considered other key indicators, such as the state of the economy and the country’s social and cultural characteristics.
Despite these being named as the ones that would experience the most impressive growth, the top ten competitive cities in the world came in as Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore, Stockholm, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, Chicago and London.
As was possibly to be expected, North American and western European locations tended to retain their competitive lead over more emerging economies, although the latter appear to be playing catch up more than admirably.
At the end of the day, the best cities into which to expand will be entirely dictated by the product and service you have to offer, and so this is why market research is absolutely key to a successful international expansion project.
Once you have chosen your location and have a plan of attack for entering that particular market, it will be important to ensure you have covered all bases by identifying any possible challenges that you may face and, more importantly, implemented plans to overcome these.
Some of the same obstacles are even faced by regular tourists visiting far-flung destinations on their holidays, the language barrier being the more obvious of these to spring to mind.
However, others are a little more complex than making a visit to the bureau de change. What sort of presence will you have on the ground in that particular city? Do you know how you are going to approach talent acquisition? Have you considered taking an international partner? Have you considered a localisation strategy?
Thankfully, when it comes to business translations, the services available have come on in leaps and bounds to the point that they are now so sophisticated, that it needn’t be a barrier to your commercial aspirations. Solutions provided by companies such as London Translations eliminate the block of a language barrier and allow you to focus on the finer details of your expansion.
Other challenges you may face include particulars of legislation, currency conversion and cultural differences, so you will need to ensure you have the necessary expertise on your team to tackle all of these head-on.