What are the Top 10 keys to success for companies looking to sell goods and services overseas?
More than two dozen international trade experts – including Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School, Robert Thomas of Accenture, and Jim Taiclet of American Tower - gathered at Brandeis University on April 5 and offered a roadmap for employers entering foreign markets:
- Go to the country where you want to do business; see, evaluate, negotiate;
- Local support is critical in overseas markets; hire local talent, understand local markets;
- The world may be flat world but it’s uneven, and critical differences exist among countries in terms of history, culture, customs, regulations, rhythm of commerce;
- Don’t expect results too soon—it takes more time to develop relationships and gain traction in markets overseas than domestically;
- Build partners, focus on fundamentals;
- Look for opportunity in lesser known overseas markets, for example, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Ghana;
- Consider taking a “Growing up Global” approach—not steeped in tradition, open to new ways of looking at things, not tied down by past processes;
- When going overseas, invest in experienced talent before you expect revenue, and deploy these executives in overseas markets early in the process;
- Look for models in emerging markets where processes are re-invented and efficiencies increased—there have been, for example, real paradigm shifts in India with the Nano car and inexpensive, mass-market heart surgery; and
- As financial and political stability take root in emerging markets, opportunities emerge.
The April 5 Global Trade Summit at the Brandeis International Business School drew nearly 300 people and featured a keynote speech by Governor Deval Patrick. AIM co-sponsored the event.