International Business Development - the time is NOW!

Dave Kaupp | Jul 23, 2012

Not yesterday....and not once everyone else catches on!

What is international business development? Is it as simple as getting on a plane and flying to a foreign country for a sales meeting? Or, if your CFO determines that the FX rate are more favorable in Panama and decides to investigate manufacturing options in that region. Perhaps it’s a simple as translating your website in Spanish and hiring multi-lingual telemarketers to contact Latin American prospects.  Actually all the above in-it-of-themselves certainly constitute some aspect of international business development however, the key to any scalable international business initiatives encompasses much more - it is equal parts art & science.

According to Wikipedia, international business development evolves through the normal processes of trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, and the advancement of technology in undeveloped nations. In order to achieve sustainable global business development, business professionals often must find ways of adapting to the cultures and societies within which they operate and conduct business. With huge growth opportunities created by the emerging middle class of nations such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC countries), many companies in the developed world are stepping in to provide goods and services to those countries' consumers, and business development professionals provide the necessary legal, financial, and cultural bridges between supplier and consumer.

It’s a Small World

The world’s becoming much smaller each day and our ability to adapt US business practices to overseas business opportunities requires a clear understanding of the target market, culture, language, and economy. As the globalization of economies, societies, and cultures continues, and markets become more integrated through technology and the internet, international business development and global strategic management continues to evolve into real opportunities for growth and expansion from US companies. Global firms that employ business development professionals in multiple locations who share exactly the same body of knowledge, ethics, practices, and standards benefit from a shared body of knowledge and ethics. These companies are well positioned for growth, as are the societies in which they operate.

Obtain the critical skills or get help

Anyone who’s considering entering international business development must attain specific skills relating to the countries where they function. To be truly successful, do your homework and gain a thorough understanding of the economy, history, culture, laws, business practices and trade forms of the target country. Many companies new to international business development, or new to a geography engage fail to engage the help of third-party consulting firms who specialize in either cross cultural work or in a particular country in order to develop their business plan and often times, help execute on that plan. A step by step approach to properly developing international business requires a carefully prepared strategic plan, and an understanding (and real-world practical experience with) the many aspects of international business which determine success. See our eBook on 12 Things Most Exporters Don’t Know About International Business

International business development and global strategic management/marketing industry is a specialized field of commerce that penetrates existing markets, and often creates new ones, by introducing new products and services to businesses, individuals, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Each interrelated aspect complements the others - and a proper international business development plan includes aspects which a casual effort will omit.  For instance, marketing localization, proper compliance programs and government relations are elements which are often overlooked as companies focus on "transactional details."

VISA foreign market grows to 1 Trillion

Ms. Elizabeth Buse, Visa Inc’s president for Asian Pacific, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has a portfolio that spans more than 25 markets, from Ethiopia to Australia. Ms. Buse manages some of the world’s most complex markets, with varying government regulations and levels of development, and with huge growth potential for the company’s business. Last year, payments through the Visa network in Asia-Pacific topped US$1 trillion for the first time, a sign of the region’s growing affluence and its increasingly hungry consumer class. In a recent Business without Borders article Ms. Buse stated, “Visa’s opportunities outside the U.S. are endless; in Asia alone, 70% of transactions remain cash-based. Frontier markets like Myanmar (part of the amazing ASEAN opportunity) are just opening up, too, and with mobile payments and e-commerce expanding, the company says it can now reach consumers who were once “excluded from the financial mainstream.”

US SMB’s need to take advantage of similar international sales opportunities in these growing economies and focus their strategy towards global sales and international marketing. Just be sure to do it right!  Contact Consilium to discuss your particular situation.