How To Internationalize Your Business: Basic Toolkit

Internationalizing a business has become almost compulsory in many industries where global competitiveness is high and local markets have turned too small. Opening our business to foreign markets is not a choice anymore, it’s a strategy we have to assume in order to secure the development of our company.

As internationalization is a rather recent need in many companies, there are very few trained professionals in this field, since most degrees in business administration ignored it or at least didn’t address it in depth. Anyway, we can achieve the necessary knowledge with an International Business Master of science, where we will be able to understand the best strategies and procedures for opening new markets abroad.

“Internationalizing companies has become a new need in many industries but companies have difficulties when looking for trained professionals in this field”

In this post we are going to understand how to internationalize your business, talking about some points you need to have in mind in order to start a successful import and export plan.

Company Analysis

The first step should be getting to know ourselves a little bit better. That’s why we should start performing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

The strengths and weaknesses identified, along with the opportunities and threats arising from the analysis of our market, will be the basis for the diagnosis of the company and for defining the objectives and strategies of the internationalization plan. But what should we take into account when performing this SWOT analysis?

  • Strengths: Capabilities, resources, achieved positions, competitive advantages of the company… and everything that will help us take advantage of market opportunities.
  • Weaknesses: All those aspects that limit or reduce the development capacity of the company. They represent difficulties for the company and must therefore be controlled and overcome.
  • Threats: Forces and pressures on our industry that may prevent or obstruct the growth of our company, reduce the effectiveness of a strategy or increase the risks in relation to the environment and industry we operate in.
  • Opportunities: All the aspects which may represent a chance to improve the profitability of the company, strengthening its sustainable competitive advantage.

Economic and Financial Viability

This is a key point for an internationalization project. We can have resources and a good product or service but if the project is not economically feasible, we must make the necessary adjustments or, once exhausted all possibilities, reject the idea of internationalizing.

Analysis of the Environment and Markets

At this stage we must collect information from the market or markets that we are interested in, analyzing them in depth and drawing up a list of opportunities and threats. We also must analyze the most profitable ways for accessing these new markets.

We can always find valuable information in chambers of commerce or asking directly to specialized consultants.

Internationalization Plan

The internationalization plan is the business plan tailored to foreign markets, where we will explain every point we have already talked about. We can use it as a scorecard for our project, but it will also be useful for presenting it and seeking funding.