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Whatever the reason you start to explore international expansion of your company, a weak local currency, growth in emerging markets, or the need to tap into global pools of talent & resources, it is crucial that the decisions you make in the early stages of the international business development are made from a fully informed position. Knowing how to prioritize potential markets and grow sales in a new country can be critical for the realization of your business goals. A focused international growth strategy is a must, and if you don’t have a good grasp of the issues, then it is imperative that you acquire professional and qualified assistance. This strategy is a multifaceted process, each step, while seemingly complex, can be accomplished when broken down and understood as detailed below. The first step is to conduct market surveys or market research. This will include a geographic survey to determine potential locations best suited to your particular business. Market surveys will help to identify macroeconomic trends, import and export trends, social and business factors as they relate to your goals, and competitive benchmarking. The end goal being to select a short list of target countries for international growth or expansion. Once a target country/city is selected through a geographic survey, the next step is to conduct a detailed local dynamics survey. A detailed local dynamics survey in the targeted country/city is used to specifically determine the local business dynamics as related to customers, competitors, suppliers and product/service attributes. Secondly, you will need to build local infrastructure, in the form of a local presence, for the targeted region/city. Options for local infrastructure vary and can include a virtual office, a physical office, acquisitions, joint ventures, franchising, licensing or finding local distributors/resellers. The local infrastructure option chosen should depend on the amount of control the company would like to have in foreign operations , the company's understanding of the foreign market, investment budget, growth goals and the successes/failures of competing firms entering the market. Finally, you need to establish a comprehensive local sales and marketing campaign. This campaign can be achieved through direct marketing, media buys, sponsorships, trade shows, a sales force, working with local agencies and devising a locally appropriate go-to market/distribution strategy.
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