This is the 3rd post in a 5 part series on global entreprenuership, in celebration of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Now that you've decided to expand your small business internationally, you have to make some big decisions about what you are going to do next. You'll have to make judgments regarding many important questions, such as: Where is the best place to sell your product? What markets are particularly receptive? What is the best way to market your product in different regions? Is there a good supplier, or partner near your international target market? These questions are all fundamentally about strategy.
What is Your Strategy?
Every business has a goal. Any time you make a decision, you do so out of a desire to create change, movement in the direction of your goal. Every business also has a strategy to get towards that goal. Even if it's mostly unwritten or even from your gut, you are still adhering to a general plan of action. So what is it that separates the successful from the unsuccessful? Simple: a winning strategy.
What Makes a Winning Strategy?
In order to carve out your winning strategy you have to know more than the competition, and have the judgment to make the right decisions. Knowledge is the most important aspect of business. You lay out a strategy based on your knowledge of the world. This means a lot more than just statistics and trends - this encompasses all areas of understanding. In order to execute strategies the most effectively you have to understand motivation. In order to get the best out of business partnerships you have to understand negotiation and psychology. In order to ensure a fiscally sound foundation for your business, you have to understand finances and have discipline. In order to generate the most sales you have to understand the nature of your target market, and the best way to frame your product. Every aspect of your business is a reflection of its creator. The knowledge of the executive strategist (you) defines which businesses succeed and which fail, because your knowledge defines your strategy.
How Can My Strategy Be Improved?
In the international arena, the best strategies come from research. You can't always meet face to face with your partners, and even if you can, there are often huge cultural and linguistic barriers that make it hard to connect without researching the best way to approach your audience beforehand. Because of this geographic separation, much of the first-hand, instinctual knowledge that has guided you to moderate success domestically just won't cut it globally. Engaging with diverse cultures necessitate formulating diverse marketing strategies. Supply and demand driven limitations or advantages that you have become accustomed to at home are often turned upside down when doing business in a foreign country. Every aspect of where you decide to invest counts, right down to the currency you are dealing with. It is crucial for the global entrepreneur to gather as much information as possible in order to formulate the most effective strategy. At globalEDGE, it is our job to collect the most credible resources on the internet and compile them here for your ease of use, so that you can acquire the most knowledge and make effective strategic decisions regarding your global business endeavor.
Here are some examples of great resources you can use to enhance your strategic knowledge of doing business globally. These resources all revolve around the theme of marketing to different cultures, and doing business in different nations. We hope you find these, and the rest of the thousands of resources on globalEDGE, to be a key component of your search for global business knowledge.
Market Potential Indicators - globalEDGE's in-house analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of various emerging markets
DIBS - Another globalEDGE exclusive, the Database of International Business Statistics is an in-depth resource for IB stats
Doing Business Indicators - This service provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 181 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level
Country Insights - This is one of globalEDGE's most popular sections, compiling resources from all over the internet to provide deep knowledge on every single country
Center for Intercultural Learning - The government of Canada has put together a website that provides useful information on foriegn cultures, for the purpose of doing business internationally
Global Cities Index - A highly relevent analysis of the top 60 global cities for business
Information Society Index - Ranks nations based on their "ability to access and absorb information and information technology"
Global IT report - Provides a comparative ranking of the impact of information and communication technology on the competitiveness and development of nations
Culture - our interactive course module, providing an introduction to understanding international cultures in the context of business
Multinational Marketing - our interactive course module on global marketing techniques
Developing an Export Strategy - this course module provides an introduction to developing your winning export strategy
Global Market Oppertunity Assessment - this course module guides you through the proccess of assesing which market is the best to do business with.