Your friends and colleagues are telling you to expand, opening in places like China, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Thailand. You ponder the question and think about how good it will look to the shareholders if your brand becomes a household name in a country with 1 billion consumers.
In fact, it is a good move to expand. A company that remains stagnant will eventually fail.
However, before you jump on the international bandwagon, you must first examine a wide range of questions that should determine your company’s readiness to make such a move. Does your product or brand suit the cultural demands of the country you seek to expand to? Will the people there be offended in any way by your product or service? Can you adapt it to suit any differences without affecting your brand?
There are probably 100 more questions to be answered before the big one… are you really ready for expansion?
What may sound good on paper or in conversation may not work at all well in practicality and the worst thing your company and your management could possibly do is expand and fail.
Do you have any resources in the countries you want to go to? Have you hired any people there? Do you have a team ready to explore the requirements, the nuances and the differences? Do you have a marketing strategy in place that accounts for linguistic, cultural and religious differences?
You see, when a company expands, the people in the country where you open may love your brand as an American success story, but they may not like your product or have a cultural or religious aversion to it. Didn’t think about that when your brother-in-law mentioned opening in the Far East, did you?
In reality, the expansion is not impossible, but it is definitely not something you want to attempt without a properly thought out game plan considering every possible factor, especially costs.
China, for example, is a wonderful market, but the way local business people and government leaders conduct transactions may seem almost illegal to Americans. You can expect to pay ‘brokers’ and government officials ‘fees’ that constantly add up to a point where your expense may exceed your short-term benefit. Your new location may not generate real profit for several years as a result.
What you should consider is the assistance Epicurus can provide to your company in the very early stages of your thinking. We can provide you with not only the questions, but the analysis to help you make a rational and informed decision. Additionally, we can help you organize your strategy into its necessary components and see you through to a successful expansion.
By helping your company develop its game plan, we can keep an objective, responsible perspective on the work that must be done and help you develop, train and position your key expansion team.
We can also help you identify the issues that may affect your expansion in the new market. Remember, Columbus arrived in the New World lost. He wasn’t heading here, but to the East Indies in search of spices and gold. Don’t go on a long and perilous voyage without a map!