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Key Considerations for Expanding into International Markets
Expanding into international markets can be—and has been—an excellent opportunity for many businesses. Part of the secret to success is to make sure the decision is strategically based, and that the potential strengths and challenges of such an undertaking have been carefully assessed. Here are some important areas to consider.
Conduct due diligence to assess whether expansion is right for your company.
- Size the likely opportunity for your product or service in specific countries or regions
- Profile the business environment in your target markets to ascertain the business culture, infrastructure, legal and regulatory environment, language(s) spoken, etc.
- Assess the level of in-country competition
- Research the internationalization efforts of your key competitors in the U.S.
Create an internationalization plan.
- Incorporate a detailed SWOT analysis to identify potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- Establish a dedicated in-house team with the requisite international experience and expertise to add immediate value to the company’s efforts
- Secure and promote senior executive support for your internationalization expansion
- Create an initial expansion path starting with more familiar markets (e.g., those that are geographically close or share common languages or business practices)
- Evaluate the optimal level of investment to reach different markets, e.g., through exporting, joint venture or other partnerships, or through acquisition of in-market assets
- Determine the desired distribution network for your products and services, e.g., developing a relationship with in-market distributors or by acquiring/building your own distribution assets.
- Establish a multi-year plan, with annual, measureable milestones
Leverage information from key centers of influence.
- Take advantage of the variety of information available from trade promotion organizations (in the U.S. or in overseas markets), industry associations, channel partners, and chambers of commerce
- Reach out to your financial services provider for guidance. Your PNC account management team has extensive experience and expertise in providing solutions for clients’ international payments needs.
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