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Six mistakes to avoid entering a Foreign Market

Surely could be more than six, but those one are the most common mistakes, so I hope you can get inspired reading it.

Mistake 1: Expansion for the wrong purpose

The first mistake companies make is in choosing the wrong reason to expand internationally. Going abroad simply because the domestic market has little or no growth is a bad reason: too many times, that kind of thinking results in adding many new costs that do not deliver new value, so before to take such strategic decision, better to evaluate all other opportunities doing a very detailed SWOT analysis.

Mistake 2: Translation Errors

Now you taken decision to be international, pay attention to the local or international language you MUST use! It’s amazing how many businesses that want to operate abroad will skimp on translation (or even not do it at all). Translation should be a priority from the outset. Potential customers who cannot understand a product or service simply will not buy it. Does it clear?

Mistake 3: Failing to get expert advice

Few entrepreneurs possess all of the knowledge and skills required to lead their companies into a global expansion. Many experts have been there before and can provide the advice and guidance to help avoid the many missteps and pitfalls awaiting the unacquainted.
Surely, expert advice is not cheap, but it pales in comparison to the costs, missed opportunities and damage to the corporate psyche and reputation caused by failed first attempts or other errant initiatives.
Additionally, commit the internal resources required. Select an internal staff for which the international expansion is not just an extension of their current responsibility. Have this as their primary responsibility.

Mistake 4: Failure to Localize

Beyond translating product, specification sheets, user manuals and other marketing material into foreign languages and using expert advice to approach the foreign market, it’s critical to understand the cultural norms of a foreign market as well. Language professionals refer to this stage of the process as market “localization.” For many products, this is crucial point, sometime you need just a formal local approval for technical product, sometime procedure are much more complex or simply your service or product is not comply with local law. Be carefully in choosing the right country for your business. Obvious? Well sometime is not so obvious.

Mistake 5: No Local Sales Representation

Many times I met in my career companies want to enter into Polish market without local sales rep, technical support, customer care/after sales thinking they can manage everything from the HQ located in another country (it’s EU so what’s wrong? We have same time zone….). This is very simple: buyers simply do not want to call or speak to someone on another continent when they have a local option (why? Which is the benefit in doing that?). They want next-door service (possibly fast), and the number of local contacts you need depends on the country’s size.

Mistake 6: No Market Entry Plan

There is always a difference between what a new market requires and what a market needs when you already have an established presence. That is why it is essential to establish a country-specific plan when you want to enter a new market. Again main mistake I met: I would call it “copy and paste” strategy: you are leader in your own Country and without any real, professional market analysis; you just want to replicate your business model in another Country. Sorry the bad news is that it does not works.

Never assume your existing program is perfect for your new territory. It is not. Sometimes, you can build upon the program you already have in place, but it is never a good idea to expand into a new area without engaging someone who understands how the campaign should be adapted to local marketing norms.


So now the he good news or bonus tip: there are global markets now open to companies of every size, and qualified translators, marketers, globalization consultants, export managers, sales experts, HR international consultants, are readily available to help you succeed. With the right team on your side, you can speak the language of success anywhere in the world.