the man in the arena...dust, sweat & blood

Ed Marsh | Aug 24, 2011

Teddy said it right

One of my all time favorite quotations - "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly"

Have you been there?  Have you gotten off the plane in a dank airport in a strange country?  Yes?  Good!  You're in the arena!  You've Poked the Box! (Read "When can you start?")

Valiantly, but to what end?

Many companies have given it a go. They may have spent tons of money flying folks to far flung locales on spec; and they may be discouraged with the results they have many cases negligible vs. the resources expended.   They may export to one market only - a vestige of a noble effort that fizzled in frustration.  They won't give up that business but hesitate to subject themselves to the pain of opening another market.

And this is perhaps one of the biggest risks of embarking upon an export campaign - expecting that launching in India, for example, is akin to setting up a satelite office in another region of the US; that timetables and expectations can be merely tweaked but that business is business.  It isn't.  Exporting is a different beast.

But having taken the huge leap and allocated resources they find themselves discouraged and either abandoning the program or settling for the mediocrity of an "accidental export" program.  What a shame!  Sure, 97% of the worlds consumers outside the US borders is a seductive prospect, but you must endure frustration to begin to reach them.

Strategic and Deliberate

Just because it is different doesn't mean it has to be daunting.  A strategically designed Global Business Development program will target markets not based on the current avant-garde pop wisdom, but rather based on the company's broader goals and strategy.  It is founded on realistic expecataions of timeframes and investment requirements.  And it is appropriately diverse in critical areas so that the inevitable dissapointment in one area doesn't doom the program.

Once you've overcome the common concern about the Huuuge risks of exporting, and jumped into the arena, ensure that your plan supports consistent activity so the blood, sweat and dust don't distract you.  You've taken the bold step - don't let mediocre execution and/or unrealistic (normally inexperienced) expectations and assumptions disuade you from executing a strategy which will be critical to the long-term health of your business.

And if it feels too daunting to tackle on your own, or if you are one of those companies who left the arena bloodied and bewildered, don't fret.  We can help.  Contact us.