It is a simple question if you know the answer; polar bears live in the Arctic while penguins live in Antarctica, well separated from each other. Even though polar bears probably would flourish in the south, they are still living on a shrinking polar ice and are facing a life threatening challenge that could lead to their extinction: the global warming.
The polar bears are in this situation, simply explained, because they are not able to change in the same speed as their environment. Their hunting methodology is getting outdated and they are not able to relocate themselves to Antarctica where big and fat prays are lying without knowledge of the danger the polar bear would bring.
The above mentioned situation can easily be transfered to the business world and its ever-changing environment and constant battle for survival and adaptation. If we take the technological sector as an example, it can be described as a high velocity market where you need to be in the forefront to survive. But, even if you are slower with the technology development, compared to your competitors, you can actually win. What you need to do is to be the fastest into the market and have the best agility to adapt your products, services and messages to each local market needs.
Business Scalability in Complex Markets; The Truth is Out There
The difficulty to change to new situations
As for the polar bears, the difficulty is to change themselves to new situations, environments, and to do it fast enough. The same problem exists for organizations that want to go international and as we already mentioned, speed and efficiency are the main challenges. You need to find more clients and to do it more efficient than your competitors.
The third challenge is to secure future talent and maintain the hungriness of your sales rep. Finally, the forth challenge is adaptation of products, services, strategy, messages, sales wares etc. for each market needs. In addition to the above challenges, you need to work on all ends at the same time and not lose focus on your core business, in order to keep the speed up. It is a complex formula that always will be in change.
Business internationalization methodology
In a normal internationalization methodology the first step is to do a pilot, in which you map all the processes and tools you need to use in order to make it work. Afterwards you copy the procedures and tools and make the adjustments needed to adapt the products and messages to each new market. More in detail, what you need to think of is to develop specific strategies within the following three parts: business generation, pool of trained employees with local knowledge, and the back-office operation.
Business generation is a part of your business development and should e.g. include a market research for deciding in which markets you should enter, prove of concept, qualification of the value proposition, and the sales acceleration execution. What is important to consider is to adapt all the messages and tools to the local business culture in order to interact with the market in an appropriate way.
Human resources will be the foundation for finding and maintaining a pool of trained salespersons with local knowledge. Without this part, it will be difficult to maintain a sustainable growth and knowledge base within the company. Thus, you need to think carefully about how to find, train and stimulate talent.
Finance, law and administration will be a part of your back-office and will play an important role to secure financial, tax and law compliance. In some cases it will be important to set up a local headquarter or an EMEA headquarter in order to be closer to your customers. Depending on your choice, you need to get advice to set up your CO and to structure and roll out your operation.
Of course, there are many more challenges to think about when you want to enter in a new market. Please, feel free to comment this article and explain what you think are the biggest challenges in the internationalization process and how you managed it.
Polar bears will probably not be able to go to the southern hemisphere on their own, but with the right help they will be able to do it in a faster, easy and secure way.
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