“The world is your oyster”. If you’re a businessperson or are planning to start a company, the phrase may speak more to you in terms of seeking international growth. There’s a whole world out there with audiences interested in what you have to offer. Seeking international growth by taking your company to the global level offers plenty of opportunities.
One big difference between doing business domestically and internationally is culture. According to Hilka Klinkenberg, founder of Etiquette International in New York City, less than 25% of U.S. businesses abroad are successful. “A lot of that is because Americans don’t do their homework or because they think the rest of the world should do business the way they do business”.
Klinkenberg recommends that entrepreneurs build relationships before they get down to business. This entails making small talk and getting to know each other before getting into business discussions. Klinkenberg also recommends researching the host country. Likely you will need to localize your product or service for local languages, currencies and laws.
Products and services tailored to foreign audiences will be more successful if research is conducted beforehand. Georgia State University Professor, Wesley Johnston, claims it’s critical to research the targeted culture when doing business internationally. According to Johnston, iyou must research your potential consumers’ values, beliefs and likes. For example, you may want to steer clear of opening an eatery that sells only pizza with cheese if a large number of your potential customers are lactose-intolerant. As an example of an effective adaptation, McDonald’s introduced a halal menu in Kuala Lumpur, and sculpted Ronald McDonald’s hands into a traditional bow to greet Thai customers.
“It’s a big, big world out there,” says Wesley Johnston. “I don’t think there’s any one idea that won’t work somewhere”. Just spin the globe, do your research, and find an opportunity to take your product or service global.
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