Written by Mona Pearl

Enter the global game: develop competitive and cost-effective strategies for international expansion

In order to create cost-effective as well as competitive global strategies, the frame consists of five main steps to follow:

Step 1: Identify the company’s edge for the strategy to exploit that edge and prioritize the investment to sustain it.

Step 2: Develop competitiveness through partnerships and collaboration. Basically, who are your partners?

Step 3: This is the innovation component: how are you going to differentiate yourself from a marketing standpoint? In a world of constant global market pressure we must focus on innovation as a key component of our competitive strategy.

Step 4:  Take an entrepreneurial approach. Think out of the box and do things in a way that were never done before.

Step 5:  Evaluate the level of competency in your company—do you have the right people on your team to make the right decisions? Why not take the opportunity of new markets and expand your business?

Are you taking advantage of these developments to get your business to where it should be?

The main mistake is not doing anything, but waiting for events to happen. Reacting to the market instead of developing a plan/strategy to lead and be proactive.

Another mistake is not having the right people in the right position in the company when deciding to take operations globally. Even your COO, or director of corporate development who enjoyed a stellar performance the U.S. is usually not equipped with the tools and skills to make decisions on global growth.   Ask yourself: do you have the right mix on your board that will help you make the right decisions on global issues?  Is your board qualified to make these decisions?  Making the wrong decision can be very costly as well as embarrassing. And these are not the worst—it may affect your chances of ever getting back into that market(s).

Another common mistake companies make is following the crowd. Target markets change rapidly and countries they may have been “cheap”, have caught up and need to be re-evaluated.  Look at future trends, understand the culture and the lay of the land, and then make an informed and sustainable decision.