By Stephanie MAGY GATEAU, Executive Firm International Strategy SC
When dealing with foreign markets, several prerequisites are necessary and too often overlooked by ignorance. It is a matter of being careful, structured in its approach and methodical to optimize and secure its approach so as not to jeopardize not only its realization but also the local structure.
Too often companies leave without being ready or “armed” without preparation or a defined strategy. Many accept proposed assignments without having a structured approach or even sometimes having validated that this market was the most appropriate for them and thus waste valuable time and budget.
The aim is above all to define an appropriate strategy that guarantees companies to perform well and avoid pitfalls through a professional approach by following a rigorous methodology that will be the fundamental key to the success of their project.
But to do this you have to go through different stages:
1 . In search of potential markets: Setting up a strategic watch
The watch is too often overlooked ahead of the decision to turn to foreign markets. Information watch should include all other watch, such as societal watch, corporate watch, competitive intelligence, commercial watch, supplier watch, image watch, legal watch or technology watch.
The name search for the name of the company, product or service will also need to be verified to find out what it means in the local language and whether the name is available.
2 . Internal and external diagnosis
The aim here will be to study the feasibility of the project using the evidence collected and analysed above.
3 . Choice of market or area and positioning
This choice will be determined by the result of the overall diagnosis supplemented by studies and supply testing on a representative sample in the market identified as being the most accessible, with the most interesting potential and with the fewest possible obstacles.
4 . Defining the international strategy
Attention, we often limit ourselves to the business strategy or we must also define his marketing strategy, communication (cultural codes necessarily different), HR or even how to work effectively with different cultural codes, managing an individual or a team. You don’t motivate an American in the same way as an Indian.
5 . Be innovative
The number of competitors found in foreign markets is by definition much larger than in the local market.
It will therefore be necessary to work to stand out whether on the definition of the offer, the functionality of a product or simply in its communication or packaging in order to be noticed! Strategic innovation is one of the keys to success that cannot be overlooked in its approach.
6 . Seeking funding
The search for funding is one of the steps to be considered even before the start of the project and not when the first mission starts: part of the budget is already started when the process may be unsuspended or premature. Its exploration and implementation budget must be assessed without endangering the national structure. Several organizations specialize in determining the types of assistance that companies can claim.
7 . Getting ready
It is a question of preparing the structure but also its teams internally as in any type of project so that they understand and adhere to the approach and take advantage of this opportunity to perhaps increase the skills of certain profiles in-house. It is imperative to improve or acquire the trade and behavioral skills related to export and its promotion and communication tools by adapting them to local cultural codes so that they are relevant.s Think to master the language, the intercultural, the rules of negotiation, do not hesitate to be accompanied if necessary by an interpreter or a Cabinet that will represent you.
The choice of a strategy for setting up abroad should not be done lightly. There are many options in terms of economic and legal structure. They must therefore meet different criteria and constraints. The choice of implementation strategy depends essentially on three factors: strategic, commercial and legal.
9 . Missions
Finally, you are ready to discover your future market with a relevant offer! Think about being in a state of mind of encounter and openness. Also be vigilant about preconceptions, prejudices, obstacles and fears that can alter the success of a project that necessarily comes first through an encounter with “the other”. In summary, the most important element in the key factors for the success of international development is above all Human, which relies on team membership. Then the preparation and structuring of the approach, as well as the support by experts but above all on the reception, respect for the culture of the country in which one wishes to develop. Intercultural training is essential. Knowing how to promote your offer, negotiate and know the rules of the country in which you want to establish yourself are necessary and too often taken into account. However, a relationship of trust must be established and takes time.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is intercultural communication. It is a set of skills that allow two individuals or two groups of different cultures to go beyond the communication difficulties that separate it. It is not just about language differences, but about the very interpretation of the world that varies from culture to culture.
Finally, we must proceed cautiously towards the contract. The notion of a written contract is inherent in international trade from the American, or European, window. But in many countries, a verbal agreement is a formal commitment. Claiming written confirmation, or just tracing the agreement in a written account, can be seen as an insulting lack of trust.
Stephanie MAGY GATEAU
Cabinet International Strategy SC
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