December 2009

Expanding sales globally has become a requirement for businesses to survive and grow.

This is not difficult and there are many resources available to help you succeed.

Even though this business article is written for businesses in the United States, much of the information is applicable to business in all countries.


In this article, I will try to summarize many years of experience and extensive training in expanding sales internationally.


My intention is to keep the information brief, simple and easy to understand.


I will explain to you in simple words and terms, how to proceed with efforts to expand sales internationally.

Businesses in the United States appear to be lagging behind with expanding their business internationally while many businesses in other countries have been very aggressive in expanding their business internationally and into the United States.


For many years, other countries seem to have a business culture to expand their businesses internationally and even rely on such for most of their business.


As to why businesses in the United States have been as aggressive and the business culture lacking such, reasons can be many:


1. Lack of business leaders and management staff that knows how


2. Lack of US business culture to expand international business aggressively


3. Dependence on local and national markets


4. Not enough formal education about international/global business


5. US, state and local governments lacking progressive and aggressive programs to encourage all businesses in all markets to expand international business


6. Lack of the US Government keeping trade regulations and trade agreements current, equal and fair, globally with all countries


7. Lack of motivation until the economy significantly declined and unemployment increased


8. Lack of motivation until sales and profits declined substantially with many businesses failing


Each of the above points can have some major discussions and debates.


There are more possible reasons that can be added to this list as well.


This article will not discuss any of these points.


In todays’ tough economic times, those businesses and companies that have expanded their business internationally are finding that this is what is keeping them in business while many of their competitors not doing so are struggling and failing.


Unfortunately, not all products and services are good viable candidates to expand sales internationally but it is amazing how many actually are; all markets and all industries.


Some business organizations attempting to grow sales internationally struggle needlessly due to lack of knowledge on how to do so successfully.


The first thing to do is to have a detailed competitive analysis of your products and services, national and international/global.


1. How do your products and services compare?


2. How do they differ that can truly solve problems and issues for customers and clients?


Using trade publications, internet searches and trade association resources;
determine 1 to 6 countries to target and have detailed good reasons as to why these are selected.


Next, contact:


1. Your State Department of Commerce


2. Your Federal Department of Commerce


3. The nearest university that has an international business curriculum
(ask for the dean of the business school of such and they will direct you to someone)


These three sources can help you proceed with:


1. Determining if you have viable products and services for the international market


2. Determining the best choice for your top 1 to 6 countries to target


3. How to network to establish the appropriate international business relationships


4. How to market and grow sales internationally


This is far easier than you think.


There may even be state and federal grant monies available to help you.


The Department of Commerce has a global network of service providers that can help you develop sales internationally in most countries.


Yes, you heard this correctly!


They already have professional individuals and relationships established in most countries that have the contacts and knowledge on how to grow your sales.


They will actually do most of your work for you.

You will be surprised to find out how inexpensive and easy it is.


The cost is far below anything you would imagine.


Once you start expanding sales internationally, you will probably be angry at yourself for not doing this many years ago.


To have a chance for success; a business organization must have staff directly assigned and responsible to coordinate international sales efforts.


You must clearly understand that expanding international sales is a 1 to 4 year time frame and Not 1 to 4 months.


The staff responsible for international sales and marketing must get training in this and most of all;
they need to utilize the services and resources of the Federal and State Department of Commerce and possibly the assistance from the nearest university that has a curriculum in international/global business.


Doing so will help a business to succeed with growing sales internationally.


There are more things an organization will need to learn but again, The Department of  Commerce and the nearest university with an international business curriculum will assist you with these things:


1. Cultural differences


2. Language differences


3. Time zone differences


4. Communications challenges


5. Pricing and currency exchange rates


6. Financial terms and bank considerations


7. Making sure that you get paid and collect monies due


8. Shipping and logistics


9. Special packaging considerations


10. Special labeling considerations and in different languages


11. Tariffs and taxes


12. Trade regulations and laws


13. Distribution and sales channels


14. Representation


15. Developing business relationships internationally


16. Formal paper work


17.  And more


Remember, I want to keep this article simple and the amount of information minimal, to get you going.


I will not discuss each of these since this would require far more time than this article can cover.


This is enough information to head you the right way.


Expanding sales internationally will significantly help you survive and grow.


Products and services of all types and in all markets and industries have potential for international business.


You can use this article to proceed on to start growing international sales right now or contact me directly for assistance.

Michael Marshall, PhD
Email: michaelmarshall@new.rr.com

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