To stay competitive in today’s global workplace, savvy companies must rely on the technology available today, while preparing for what will come tomorrow. (Think of what mobile has done for helping make the world "smaller.")
But beyond staying current on the latest technology, organizations need to react faster than their competitors – especially when it comes to scaling and expanding to new, international markets.
However, this begs the question: How can you set your company up for success in the global market?
Related: Break Into the Global Marketplace
Here are a few tips to prepare you to take over the world.
1. Scale the cultural wall. It is still important to establish a local presence within the region you are entering. Once a region is selected, think about the specifications for that market. If you want to conduct business in São Paulo, for instance, you will need to hire a local executive who speaks Portuguese and is familiar with the country’s culture, hiring practices and processes, so they can act as a “bridge employee” between your company and those individuals you seek to hire. This is a key role to businesses that want to expand globally, as bringing on a “go-to” person removes the gap between the company’s headquarters and operations and the new in-region team. These employees can help break down the wall of relationship-building within regions.
One of the most important factors for any company to understand -- regardless of size or breadth -- is to evaluate the cultural differences in each region and develop strategies to address each of them. As noted above, there is a huge wall in relationship-building within regions and an even bigger wall between countries that are within these regions. For example, there are big differences between France and Germany, France and Italy or even France and Holland. The nuances of these differences enforce the need to be local to penetrate that market well.
Related: Reaching Beyond Borders
2. Consider legal implications. The legal requirements when establishing a local presence and hiring in-region are complex. To create a system that will meet regional requirements, the company must set up a legal entity, establish a local bank account, obtain local counsel and engage a global-accounting firm. It’s important to be patient throughout this sometimes lengthy, but necessary, process.
3. Measure success. When planning for global expansion, think through your entire global strategy and align the appropriate resources. A good benchmark of whether you’ve successfully penetrated a region is when you are seeing 20 to 50 percent of the company’s business coming from outside your core region. If this sort of milestone isn't achieved, you may need to reevaluate your strategy.
In the race toward globalization, the companies that win are those that act fast. Through a combination of the right timing, appointing local resources, and understanding each region’s cultural differences, you can get ahead of the changing business landscape and reap the benefits of going global.
Related: How to Take Your Company Global