International Market Entry – What are the Key Success Factors

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“Plan your work, and work your plan.”

An international market entry plan contains hundreds of elements, but these initial 20 are the most critical for success abroad:

An appropriate amount of planning time. Too often companies approach foreign markets and cut corners on the necessary planning time. The idea of “getting on a plane and getting a deal” simply does not work overseas.

An actionable goal. A goal is a number (think of hockey goals). The goals can be sales volume, number of accounts, market share, points on customer satisfaction surveys, margin, profit, ROI, or whatever benchmarks the firm uses. Can you explain these goals to other people?

A realistic objective. Objectives refer to the situation the company wishes to be in, usually in regards to market position. For example, are you the low-cost supplier? Are you the market leader? Are you associated with a luxury position in the market? Are you aiming for profit or market share?

A logical market screening mechanism. Buzzwords like “China’s 1.5 billion people” or “Denmark’s 4.2 million citizens” point to a laziness when defining which markets to approach. A matrix that makes sense to your organization needs to be employed.

A true understanding of the market conditions. How is the how the market organized? How does distribution work? What are the price points? Who are the major players?

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    Bill Decker is founder and managing director of Partners International Inc., international business consulting firm. Bill consults in foreign and domestic market penetration, business negotiation, cross-cultural understanding, and marketing strategy fo…

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