For many companies Going Global can be transformational. For some, this means launching sales and operations hubs in new markets around the world. For others, it means opening a new location in the next town over. Regardless, Going Global can set the stage for unprecedented growth and profitability, making your company more appealing to customers, employees and investors. If management has the skills and commitment to get the entire company behind an expansion effort, amazing things can happen.
Expansion is often complicated, especially during uncertain times. The level of success achieved with new endeavors depends on how well a company implements its proven best practices, products and services to effectively establish a position in new markets. Some of the key tasks facing companies looking to create substantive growth abroad include:
- Building and managing effective sales and operational teams;
- Establishing productive distribution networks;
- Achieving operational excellence in key logistical hubs
Execution Is Everything:
No matter what your expansion plan entails, Going Global requires all hands on deck. We rarely see poor strategic expansion plans but weak implementation is far too common. A client we recently advised said it best when describing a previous missed opportunity to capitalize on export business:
“Our lack of export achievement was preventable and success was there to be had, had we secured the necessary buy-in from internal and external stakeholders while staying true to what we do best.”
While this “all-in” concept might seem blatantly obvious, companies often begin major expansion endeavors without ensuring that key internal personnel are onboard with the plan. Expansion plans often begin with the CEO or VP of Sales deciding that it is time to take on the world. Without thoughtful and careful planning, problems can arise early, especially in mature, well-established companies where key personnel simply don’t see the value in expanding.
Resistance to change:
Further complicating matters, most companies have key stakeholders who may be reluctant to change, particularly if they see disruption coming to their coveted daily routines.
These people have power and are not necessarily just naysayers. They may legitimately feel that expansion pursuits will result in a company taking its eye off its core business.
Regardless of the specifics, a company can ill afford to have its own people circumventing growth simply by not being committed to the expansion strategy.
Having the support of experienced outside experts can positively impact this challenge; ensuring that key internal stakeholders are engaged and ready to do their part to ensure success.
It is critical to expect and anticipate adversity whenever structural changes are made. Smart companies don’t take this adversity personally and they don’t get autocratic. They simply understand and build this into their expansion plans.
Focus on best practices:
Companies that stay focused on building revenue by doing what they do best far outperform companies that try to reinvent their product line to suit each new market.
Effective exporters are laser focused on customer needs and agendas and then work to employ their strengths to gain market share.
There are of course exceptions to this but for the vast majority of companies, success is about successful implementation of the strongest parts of its existing platform. This approach stresses execution and on time performance to build the credibility a company needs to establish optimum new market position.
Time to Go Global?:
Smart companies plan meticulously as they work to expand. They anticipate and prepare for internal and external roadblocks that they will undoubtedly face. They understand what they do best and select markets where they are able to perform at a high level for end customers.
While current conditions seem highly uncertain for so many, tangible growth opportunities still exist. Best in class companies know this and always stay alert to opportunities that they can intelligently consider for expansion beyond their home markets.