Key Success Factors

More In Thinking About Exporting

There are many factors you need to consider before entering the international buisness market.  These include: 

Marketing Research Quality

The quality of your market research can determine the success of your entry into new, foreign markets.  The first step is to determine where there is a market for your product even before conducting any other analysis/ research. Afterwards, narrow down your search to specific countries. These do not necessarily need to be in the same region. You should then determine the political, governmental, and economic climates of those countries to help you narrow your search as well as working with DFAIT and EDC.  Defining a targeted market and conducting successive research on that target will lead to quality market research.  Market research should be performed continuously, and as more information is unearthed, your strategy should adjust accordingly.  

Local Partnerships

In some countries, local partnerships are a necessity for doing business. These partnerships allow for cost and risk sharing and access to distribution/ new market networks.  They also provide access to local employees which can help strengthen your potential in that country. 

Local partnerships can also help give insight into making country specific changes to your product, as well as accelerate regulation, conduct translations and ensure packaging and safety standards meet requirements. 

Product Adaptations

There is no “one size fits all” in International Business. Products have to be adapted to regional needs in order to be successful.  Even within Canada, the clothing a customer in Nova Scotia needs is far different than one in British Columbia.  And these changes are not always to attract customers.  Often, product adaptations will be a legal requirement due to different safety, language and efficiency laws. Another reason why a local partner can be beneficial in these decision making processes to help determine product changes.  

Recognising the Differences Between Each Country in a Region

No country has the exact same legal proceedings, history or culture.  A product marketed to Germans should not be marketed to Swiss in the same context, even though they share a same language.  Regional differences need to be understood and marketing plans should not be copied from one region to another. Focus your efforts on marketing to a few countries at a time and tailor your business to those specific markets. 

Being Customer Driven

Concentrating on customers can often be a company’s way to differentiate itself. An effective customer service strategy in an international context can be difficult to create but is often necessary.  Having concrete CRM tools and a localized strategy is a definite added benefit.  

Understanding Different Cultures

Understanding the values, beliefs, assumptions and superstitions you’re working in and your target market can aide you in all aspects of the business including: marketing, human resource, packaging and product adaptation decisions. Understanding these differences, however, is often difficult.  Religion, social structure and communication all have a strong presence on a countries cultural make-up. But by understanding the culture in which you intend to trade, allows you to make informed business decisions with partners, employees and customers.  

Taking a Long-Term View of Market

If you’re planning to create a long-term need for your product, you will need to develop your business plan and branding strategy to include this. Not all products are needed at all times. As a foreign company you will need to spend time and money to develop a need for your product and your brand. 

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Next: Domestic Vs International

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