You want to build your business overseas.
That should be straightforward, right? You get customers, you service the accounts, and you expand!
Well, it’s straightforward IF you have the right strategy. Big companies and small companies, well known brands and newcomers … the ones that do well are the ones that have PLANS.
What kind of plan? Well, plans can vary a little, depending on the product and the market.
But there are some mistakes in planning that I’ve been watching for years. And they apply to everybody. I know why expansion plans fail when they fail.
There are 10 mistakes, and I’ll tell you what they are.
If companies make any of these – EVEN IF THEY’VE GOT GREAT PRODUCTS TO SELL – they can fail.
What are they?
Mistake number 1:
Asking for business and confirmed orders before making your investment in your business.
Don’t think you can invest AFTER you get the orders. It doesn’t work that way. Invest first, so that you can service those orders. THAT’S good business. Not the other way around.
Mistake number 2:
Not tracking quotations, inquiries, and tender results.
That’s pretty obvious, but people don’t do it. You need to know what the state of play is, in detail, so that you can take the right action.
Mistake number 3:
Having no idea about what competitors are doing, what share of the market they have, or what their prices are.
It’s amazing, how little some people know about the market they’re entering. It’s crazy. You have to know who’s doing what before you can start to compete with them.
Mistake number 4:
Thinking there’s no time to develop a strategy.
You get guys thinking they’re too busy keeping up with the business to take time and work out a real plan. Business without a plan? That’s not business – that’s chaos. Good luck with it.
Mistake number 5:
Hiring the wrong export manager.
I’ve seen it time and again: managers who don’t bother with much of a marketing strategy, or who don’t really believe in the products. You want someone who’s really on your side. So be careful who you hire.
Mistake number 6:
Assigning the wrong distributors.
Some of your distributors may be nice guys, and they may mean well … but do they really have experience with the products? How are their finances? Are they really committed, and how do you know?
Mistake number 7:
Trying to do everything by yourself.
Nobody is Superman except Superman. Third-party arrangements are there for a reason. You can’t do everything alone … and you’re a fool if you try. Don’t get all heroic. Build a team and get more done.
Mistake number 8:
Not being flexible in forming partnerships.
Do you prefer simple, direct partnerships? Do you not like the whole ‘commissions’ thing? Don’t be too rigid. You often find that partnerships evolve into really efficient, productive, win-win arrangements that you hadn’t even thought of doing!
Mistake number 9:
Not spending any money on marketing.
You get guys saying, “I’ll put all that money back into improving my business.” Sounds great … but without marketing, your nice business goes nowhere. It’s like saying, “I won’t buy gas for my car. I’ll use the money for a new paint job instead.” Yes, your car looks great, but it’s going nowhere.
Mistake number 10:
Refusing to learn from failures.
Sometimes things don’t go right. Of course they don’t. You can either say, “That was terrible,” and quit, or “That was terrible,” and do it again exactly the same way … or you can say, “That failed for a reason – let’s find out what it was!” Success? That’s about learning and relearning and getting better. It’s called PRACTICE. Get used to it.
And that’s it. That’s the 10 reasons for failure in expanding overseas. I hope you’ll keep these in mind trying to overcome them.