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Trade Routes: Global Threat or International Opportunity?
By: Michael Wynne
Posted: May 4, 2007
page 4 of 4It also pays to contact the local consulates of specific countries. It is amazing the volume of useful information—including names of contacts—they can provide.
A note of caution about choosing markets: Don’t be misled by size. For example, China and India are huge markets with extraordinary potential, but are they right for your products and services? Many of the customs, circumstances and values of China and India are very different from those of the U.S. Be sure they have a major impact on what people like and can afford to buy.
On the other hand, don’t be misled by generalizations either. India is viewed by many as a poor country, yet its middle class is larger than the entire population of the U.S.
4. Finally, think big—but start small. Dip your toe into the water; don’t plunge into it. Because there are so many differences, especially cultural ones that can have a major impact on the acceptance of your offerings, you need time to go up the learning curve in every international market. The Italians have a saying, Piano, piano, va lontano, which essentially means, “Slowly, slowly, goes farther.”
Bottom line: You are in the global market because competition from around the world wants to take business away. To survive, you must retain your customers. To do that, create interdependency. Find ways to converse with your customers thereby creating customer intimacy. You must also grow faster than your home market. Go where the faster growing markets are internationally. Choose carefully, proceed methodically and cautiously, and you will go far.
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