Market Entry Strategies

The first question I ask all the companies I have supported over the last 20 years with their international expansion is “Why do you want to do this?” I get comfort from a clear vision around the end goal, a realistic appreciation of timescales and budget and of course the commitment from the very top of the organisation. Moving into international markets can sound very exciting and attractive; the pathway is littered with costly disasters. When a simple process is followed it can assist the company to grow profitably and offer expansion that is hard to mirror in the UK. Executed poorly and IPR can be lost, budgets burned, profits turn to losses and damage done to the home market. Done well it can lead to new partnerships, advancing technology, new sales, greater profits, improvement in the home market credibility and market share.

So how do we ensure a customer of the Growth Partnership tackles international markets successfully?

Our plan is simple;

  • map existing products, services and markets to test for suitability to enter new international markets
  • develop a simple plan that is owned by the whole company and includes budgets, timescales and leadership roles
  • before getting on a plane research and understand the market, look at existing networks including UKTI, Chambers to identify trustworthy links into the new market
  • critically plan each visit to the market to source information, meet potential partners, licensees, franchisees, stakeholders, regulatory bodies and competitors
  • triangulate all information gained from the target market, especially when it comes from a trusted source.
  • have a cold shower, test your data, don’t be afraid to walk away, review budgets
  • if decision is taken and owned by the whole company to move to mobilisation phase, plan, plan, plan
  • invest in trusted sources in the target market, including suppliers, staff, stakeholders and partners
  • appoint local chairman
  • relearn your communication and performance management style to reflect the distance of your staff and the prevailing culture
  • check, review, evaluate and stay on top of this new venture

So many times I have seen UK management teams throw away their years of business experience, because they feel they need to behave differently because they are in a different country. Whilst it is true that UK leaders do have to adjust and adapt to the culture/language of the new market this is a 10-20% shift in behavior. The worst mistake is to throw the baby out with the bath water and succumb to a management transformation. The old adage that works for me is “If a foreign deal looks poor to the experienced leader from the UK it most probably is a poor deal.” Just because you are in a foreign country poor deals do not suddenly become good deals.

We are experienced in working alongside UK companies to identify and secure profitable business in foreign markets.

Please contact me for a confidential discussion if you feel we can help you realise a vision for international market entry.