The Essential Characteristics of Successful International Businesses

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In the global market we live in today, companies like Google and Apple make it look easy to expand internationally with success. What is unknown to most is the amount of competition and strategy that goes into these expansions.

Big names like Redbull, Google, Amazon, and H&M are just a few companies that have mastered their global marketing strategies and expanded beyond their initial customer bases. What are these companies doing differently that is leading them to success?

Value Opportunity to Expand

Diving into the unknown can deter a lot of companies from even taking the opportunity to expand their market. Those that see it as a negative opportunity are losing out on an even larger customer base that they could be profiting from.

High-growth companies view international markets as untapped markets full of potential. These are the companies that become successful on a higher scale than those that stunt the growth of their company by not seeing the value in this opportunity.

Understand Different Cultures

American companies that have a strong presence internationally often have a founder or leading executive on their team who is from a foreign country or a first-generation American. These executives’ worldly experience helps prioritize the global market and answer any unknowns. Companies without this knowledge should research and understand the different cultures they are tapping into in order to be successful in not only building key relationships that will open up doors down the road, but connecting with the right consumers as well.

According to a study by The Partnership for a New American Economy, more than 40% of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by foreign-born immigrants or first-generation Americans. A great example of this can be found in Google’s very own co-founder, Sergey Brin, from Russia. Companies that adopt an outside perspective will have a more globally focused marketing strategy, better cultural understanding and have a wider scope of expansion goals, making it easier to propel their business outside of their home market.

Turbo-charged by the Internet

Companies that invest in the Internet and produce web-based products are more likely to grow globally because there is less money involved in their international expansion. The most successful of these businesses is Amazon. This company is solely based on the Internet and was able to reach a global market with ease.

H&M is an apparel company that has already been successful in reaching their international consumers through not only stores, but by optimizing the online experience of their online store. With an online shop available in 21 markets, including the U.S., H&M is doing everything in its power to create a user and mobile-friendly online shopping experience.

Carefully Chosen International Partners

Choosing the right partners to help you grow your company in other countries is vital. Without the right people to vouch for you in that country and build trust with the consumers, becoming the market leader could be close to impossible. Again, this means companies must be aware of different cultures and business practices among countries in order to connect, be efficient, and stay on the same page.

Apple made a strategic partnership with China Mobile, the largest wireless network in the world. This partnership enabled Apple to become the number one smartphone maker in China and beat out the previously dominating five local competitors.

Before becoming business partners, know what you want and have clear expectations. Sticking with these goals will help you choose the right partners and tap into the right markets.

Measure Success

When expanding to other countries it is important to keep track of the success and make sure it is worth the company’s resources. According to Albert Subbloie, CEO and Founder of Tangoe, a good benchmark of whether your company should continue efforts in a country is when 20-50 percent of your business is coming from outside the United States.

Companies that are successful outside their home base are those that act fast. By keeping track of their numbers, they can act fast and learn from failures. By reevaluating the current strategy and finding new ways to innovate, it becomes easier to reap the benefits of the company’s successes.

Think Globally

The most essential characteristic of any successful international business is implementing a global way of thinking. If this is the main thought process behind a company’s decisions, the rest of their international marketing strategies can be implemented with ease.

One company that has mastered their international strategy is Redbull. They have created such a global brand that most think that it is from America or their home country, yet Redbull calls Austria home. Its most successful tactic has been to host extreme sports events all over the world. From the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix to the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Jordan, the brand’s powerful event marketing strategy takes them all over the globe and makes their brand an international product.

If companies support and welcome globalization, it becomes intertwined with their culture. Employees become globally-minded, engineers build software with other countries in mind, and the rest of the team follows. Going global is the key to ensuring your company’s growth and future are indomitable.

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