Is your company global? Before you quickly answer no, do you have a website? If so, you are global! Add in the ability to market to customers anywhere in the world via social media and you have a virtual 24/7 international connection.
So why hasn’t your company consciously made the global leap? Would you be more inclined to pursue global opportunities after learning that during the recent U.S. financial crisis, companies with at least 30 percent in sales outside the country increased productivity and became more profitable? Still need convincing on why you should go global?
Which of these statements are true?
- 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States
- More than 75 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside the United States and growing each year
- Fewer than one percent of businesses in the United States export
The answer is all of the above. What does that mean for your company? It means lots of opportunity to increase market share.
TDS blogger, Laura Schmitz, recently outlined several things to consider before determining if going global is your next market opportunity. In addition to her excellent advice I’d like to share insights I gathered from attending an educational seminar co-hosted by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Madison International Trade Association (MITA) on why conditions are right to go global.
Federal and state support for those expanding to global markets is increasing. The National Export Initiative seeks to double U.S. exports in five years. And the United States has free trade agreements with 20 different countries.
The Middle and Upper Economic Classes may be declining in the United States and Europe, but they are rapidly growing in China and other Asian countries. These consumers with newfound purchasing power are great target markets for automobiles, appliances, financial services, food products, leisure activities and travel. They want our knowledge too so consider offering global consulting services.
If you want to pursue international market opportunities, here are initial considerations suggested by Ken Wasylik, Managing Partner at E.M. Wasylik Associates LLP at the Chamber/MITA seminar.
- Assess your internal resources.
- Develop a plan. Where will you market first?
- Get help from outside resources.
- Start small. Expect a learning curve.
- Don’t stop because of fear of the unknown.
Another seminar speaker, Mark Schmitz, Principal and Creative Director of Zebradog, shared insights on international business. It is very important to understand the language in foreign countries so your communication is on target. He provided the example of a car formerly manufactured by Chevrolet that sold well in the United States but not in Spanish speaking countries. That’s because the car’s model, Nova, means “no go” in their native language.
Chamber President Zach Brandon cautioned that certain colors may have negative implications overseas. While planning a business trip to China, he learned that giving a Green Bay Packer hat would be a huge faux pas because in China, a green hat is associated with infidelity.
While these last two stories are a bit amusing, they are a great reminder that you should do some research before finalizing your global marketing plan. There are excellent resources available to help you such as international business consultants, trade associations, customs brokers, trade compliance specialists and international law firms.
If you’ve already made the global leap, what stories can you share to help others? If you are thinking about expanding your market overseas, what is stopping you? What questions do you have? Please share below or contact me @Delora4Biz or on Google+.