By Philip Scott, and EO Sydney member and CEO of Quantum Advantage Pty Ltd.
In my years as an entrepreneur, I’ve found that international markets, while often times attractive, can offer significant challenges. They can be large and fragmented, leading to mounting cultural differences and hiccups while conducting business. I know from experience.
A few years ago, my software business was looking for a partner with the market coverage, desire and resources necessary to immediately capitalize on international opportunities. After four years of searching, we stumbled across a major industry provider and managed to reach new levels of success. The journey, while successful, proved arduous and trying. We learned a lot more than we anticipated when we decided to breach international markets.
Here’s what we learned throughout our search:
- International markets are an opportunity for our business to grow to new levels of credibility, operational efficiency, team morale and financial success.
- Success in international markets is achievable for even the smallest of businesses.
- A distributor with a strategic imperative is a motivated partner.
- We need to create end-user demand. If we don’t have the capability to do this, then our partner must have the resources and the desire.
- We must provide everything our distribution partner needs to be successful. Our partner is buying into the promise that we will ensure their success.
- Support our partner until they tell us to leave them alone. Regular face-to-face meetings, phone calls, reporting, marketing collateral and anything else we could think of helps.