Now is the time to get started with global business. It’s worth it! Consider that the U.S. population represents only about 4.5 percent of the total world population of more than 7.2 billion people and is growing less than the rest of the world. China now has the second-highest number of millionaires in the world, according to Lloyd’s, and McKinsey reports that the Chinese middle class is growing rapidly with urban household income expected to double by 2022, with foreign brands highly desirable.
When a depressed U.S. economy weakens your sales, there are other economies that are strong. And if you have a large market share in the local market, new untapped global segments can propel your growth. Yelp just beat its revenue estimates for 2Q14 with international diversification, increasing its user base by 95 percent as a result of moving into Mexico and Japan. Power industry manufacturer Thermax has been recently challenged in the domestic market, but expects to increase international revenue in SE Asia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East from 35 percent of total revenue to 70 percent in the next few years.
Where do you start? Create your Business Model, the foundation of your business plan, to include values, mission, strategy and, most importantly, your Value Proposition. For each potential global market, include a deep understanding of market drivers, culture, language, legal, logistics, communications, administration and other key factors. Define how you will incorporate these. As you proceed, your most attractive opportunities will become clear. Seek as much information and knowledge as you can from experts in your organization. If you need help, there is considerable expertise right here in Arizona.
Getting your plan right makes a difference. As more U.S. companies chase the vast global market, not all have succeeded. The winners understand that it’s not just transplanting their U.S products or services and translating the language on the box. Understanding the culture, behavior, social factors, emerging local trends and other indigenous factors is critical.
Since 1987, KFC has been thriving in China mainly because it adapted locally, offering traditional Chinese fare and food seasoned to the local taste. Home Depot failed in China despite rapid housing growth. They didn’t do their homework and missed local economic basics like the fact that cheap labor makes do-it-yourself less attractive.
Capitalizing on global opportunities is exciting and challenging. Building a global business plan is hard work and requires a solid understanding and integration of many aspects. When you’ve completed your business plan, you can begin to experience the excitement and rewards of a “whole new world” of business growth. What are you waiting for?
Greg Bischak is the principal at Giles & Company Strategic Business Consultants, Inc.
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