Developing your business when you are in one country and the market you are targeting is in another country can be challenging. Especially if this is your first time… and you don’t like picking up the phone.
Here are a few tips to help you through the initial phase:
Set A Goal And Be Ready To Be Flexible
You can only research one business avenue at a time.
If you decide to develop your international markets and expect someone else to tell you what you should sell and how you should sell, you will waste your time.
In order to get to know your international markets you need to start someplace. Look at what you sell. Take an educated guess as best you can. Decide on selling one thing to one country. It does not really matter if you get it wrong at this stage.
This will give you one place to start.
Flexibility will help you find the right product to sell to your international markets. But you need feedback and market knowledge beforehand. Maintain one objective and stay ready to be flexible.
Consistent International Market Research
You must consistently touch base with the international market you are targeting. A half hour here, and a half hour there throughout the week, every week, is much better than one session where you expect all the answers.
You need time to adapt to your foreign markets.
Take it one step at a time. Remember that flexibility.
Focus on Finding Solutions
Cultural barriers pop up in the most unexpected places sometimes. Do not focus on them, or you will lose your international mind-set and never develop your business abroad.
If you encounter any barrier, immediately switch on your curiosity button.
- Ask questions.
- Try to understand why people do things differently.
- Keep that curiosity alive
There is no universal right way to do business. Curiosity will often show you the solutions fairly quickly.
Focus On Creating Relationships
Business is about relationships, and international business is the same. If you focus your efforts on building relationships with your foreign markets you will get over any cross-cultural barriers you encounter.
Remember to initiate creating the relationship. Keep at it with small touches, regularly. If you also look for feedback from your international markets, you will learn how to build the relationships you need to develop your international business.
Often, the relationships you create with people in other cultures are stronger than many of the relationships you create at home. When effort is required, it strengthens the friendship in the long run.
Look For Opportunities
Constantly look for opportunities. In fact, this should be part of your international mind-set, together with constant market research.
- When you notice how others do things differently, look for opportunities.
- If you notice other people do not use or do something you do, look for opportunities.
The sweet spot in international business is the extra business opportunities.
The opportunities you would not have thought of or found if you did not make the effort to sell to foreign markets.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: international business development
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