Did you know that 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the United States? That going global isn’t really all that difficult?
That when you determine your business is ready to go global, you are well on your way? That resources are aplenty on the Internet
to help you expand overseas? Chances are, you’re one of the many business owners too busy to pay attention to anything other
than running your company. Our goal here is to help you get your arms around a host of issues to help you expand your business
if that is, in fact, the right thing for your business.
We consulted with leading experts in the field of international business and picked the brains of a new breed of young, bold
international entre- preneurs to learn the basics of global expansion. We came up with 14 solid tips for getting started in the
global marketplace. Read on to find out which advice suits you.
Determine how much you can afford to invest in your interna-
tional expansion efforts.
Will it be based on 10 percent of your
domestic business profits, on a pay-as-you-can-afford process or on gut instincts? “Early on, I just wasn’t ready financially,
emotionally or intellec- tually to go global,” says 37-year-old Greg Bernstein, president of Dallas- based Global Outdoor
Services, Inc., an outdoor advertising media buying service that assists clients in buying outdoor media both domestically and in
Europe. “But years later, I was. It went great only because I learned how to overcome language barriers, manage time
differences and lock in on exchange-rate contracts.”
Plan at least a two-year lead time for world market penetration.
It takes time and patience to build a great, enduring global enterprise, so be patient and plan for the long haul.
Nobody knows this bet- ter than 29-year-old Javae Wright Sr., CEO and chair of Leadaz International Sportswear, Inc., an athletic
footwear and apparel company in Champaign, Illinois. Wright’s company relies on strengthening the mentality of athletes abroad by
promoting all that the company stands for: leadership.
In his company’s early days, after its launch in 2002, Wright’s biggest chal- lenge in crossing borders was the long lead time for
orders. “We would place orders with our Chinese manufacturer and then expect delivery within a week. We would forget that the
goods—thousands of miles away—moved slowly by vessel to the port of entry and then by truck. An international ship- ment also
required customs clearance, a factor that adds even more time on
to the delivery schedule,” says Wright. “The lesson we learned and caution others on is to establish a grace period of about a week if
you want to meet customer deadlines.”
Pick a product or service to take or source overseas.
You can’t be all things to all people. Decide on something, then stick with it. “And don’t take no for an answer,”