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Trade Routes: Learning to Swim in the Global Market

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: October 13, 2008, from the March 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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So, as the saying goes, “The best defense is a good offense.” A little paranoia is healthy. Don’t wait for foreign competition to show up on your doorstep, because it’s already there.

Get going! Start planning your international business growth now. Pick one product or service, and look around to find a foreign market where it might do well. Don’t know how? Simple — get on the Internet.

If you have a Web site, you’re already global because people can access your information from anywhere in the world. Beyond that, you can do a lot of market research on the Internet. Once you’ve identified a potential market, the next thing to do is to contact a specific target prospect in that country. The easiest way is to send an e-mail indicating your interest in doing business with the prospect.

If that doesn’t elicit a response, phone the prospect. Ask to speak with the CEO, president or owner. You’ll be amazed at how many times you will get through to the person you’ve targeted. Have a list of questions ready to make the most of the contact and get the kind of information you need. Build a relationship based on the call and nurture it.

Is it really that easy? No, nothing worthwhile ever is. But the important thing is to get started. Of course, it will most likely take more work. On the other hand, you probably didn’t get your first domestic client without some effort either.