Friday, October 19, 2007

Major mistakes companies make when they decide to expand internationally

I want to share my experience having interacted with many business owners who would like to expand internationally and I hope it will help you to avoid mistakes in your business. Here are some classic examples:
1. A company has no idea what exactly it wants to do: just to export a product, open an office in a different country, set up a number of distributors, etc. The objectives change in the process and as a result there is no clear vision of where the company wants to go.

2. If it is the first "international experience" there might be no specific person on staff responsible for this project. The project might be allocated to a marketing manager, business development manager or anyone else who also has his/her own primary responsibilities and has vague idea about international business. As a result the project is stalled each time an important decision has to be made, i.e. there is no structure in place to successfully develop the project.

3. If a company already did a new market entry there might be a belief that any subsequent new market entry will be very easy and each new country will be pretty much the same. It is erroneous to think that the experience in Russia will be the same in Romania or Hungary, for example. The simplistic approach to doing business internationally may cause a lot of troubles based on the lack of understanding another country's culture, business models, values, etc.

4. There is a wrong belief that a lot of valuable information required for the project are available on-line. Indeed there are a lot of sources of information on the Internet but it is important to remember to study not only English language reports but the ones in the local language which sometimes can only be found through a local search engine (not standard Google search) Sometimes the mos valuable insights are the ones that have not been translated into English yet.

As an International Marketing and Business Development consultant I try to help people to avoid these pitfalls, I also always utilize my local knowledge and experience on every project I work. I will keep posting information related to the topics mentioned above and I hope they will be useful to many.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

International networking made easier

Nearly everyone knows about such popular networking sites as LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook. You can find profiles of millions of people around the world: your colleagues, classmates, friends - current ones and those you have not seen for years.

Recently I found out about a great new site that actually makes your global search for people much easier. It is called WINK the people search engine, You type the name of a person (and a location globally if you know it) and it will give you links to his/her profile wherever it can find it. When I typed my name WINK pulled out my LinkedIn profile AND my membership page at Institute of Management Consultants USA. Thus, you don't need to guess which network a person might belong to and perform a search on each of them. You just search once and see all results immediately. I found it very helpful.