Business tips

CEOs on how to expand across borders

Expanding your business to a new market comes with a host of challenges. Photo: Chad Slattery / Clay Lacy Astrovision

Expanding your business to a new market comes with a host of challenges. Photo: Chad Slattery / Clay Lacy Astrovision

What should you worry about when it comes to international expansion projects? Nine experts share their experiences.

“Don’t discount the importance of education on both sides, in both your new market and your homeland. You must understand the direction your new city is going in and leverage that momentum to support your expansion, whether it’s logistics, banking or a talent base.” —Jethro Lloyd, CEO of iLAB, in a Business News Daily interview.

“Many companies make the mistake of launching in a new market without hiring any local team members. Every market is different, so having local people on the team is valuable because they can explain the customs and habits unique to the particular market.” —Adrian Fisher, CEO of PropertySimple, in a Forbes post.

“What matters is the entire ecosystem.” —Ferdinand Kayser, strategic advisor to the CEO at SES, in an interview with Delano.

“I had a client who said that they’d got 70 nationalities in their business, so they didn’t need to think about international mindset. They were looking to expand globally, into Asia and Africa. So my next conversation was: tell me about your leadership team. And they were all white, all male, and all British. So then we had a very different conversation about the message to local leaders about what it takes to get ahead. You need to have an international mindset to help you penetrate the local market, produce relevant products and connect with your clients.” —Farrah Qureshi, CEO of Global Diversity Practice, in a Legal 500 interview.

“Each country you expand to is like creating a new startup.” —François Cazor, CEO of Kpler, in a Forbes post.

“First, make sure your customers exist. Is there a need for your offering? Are they inclined to purchase? Don’t think that they might--know that they will.” —Joseph Paris Jr., chair of Xonitek, in a Business Daily interview.

“Make sure all your key executives are aligned. That means making sure your finance team, your operations team, your marketing team—everyone is aligned.” —Nicole Sahin, CEO of Globalization Partners, in a Globalization Partners podcast.

“There are many potential issues you can come across, but it often depends on how you intend to employ your workforce. Are you thinking of opening an entity in country, or use an Employer of Record to pay your staff? Are you looking to employ from within the local talent pool, or to relocate some of your current staff from another country? These two questions alone bring with them a wealth of challenges.” —Rick Hammell, CEO of Elements Global Services, in a Globalizationpedia interview.

“Before going into aggressive growth mode, I ensured that the team was working cohesively and seamlessly to ensure any new hires joined the best possible environment to support their--and our--growth. During this period, I devised a core strategy for the business and ensured that every department understands it, believes in it and is committed to helping deliver it.” —Steve Rawlingson, CEO of Samuel Knight International, in an interview with The HR Director.