Going Global: International Expansion Strategies

I recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a Kansas City International Trade Council workshop focused on global expansion with Dianne Hofner Saphiere (via Skype from Mexico) and Janet Graham, who is currently a Baker University adjunct professor of International Business, Marketing, and Economics. We had a diverse group of business professionals, university professors, independent consultants and college students who actively participated in the workshop held at the beautiful Kauffman Foundation facilities.

Janet Graham brought a wealth of knowledge, discussing the various entry strategies when considering expanding globally. Some key decisions organizations must make in order to form a clear market entry strategy that she referenced include: which market to enter, when to enter the market and on what scale, and which entry mode to use? Great questions to which she provided some resources (such as globaltrade.net, globalEDGE, and WorldoMeters) to help direct the decision-making process. She quoted a local business leader from Hill’s Pet Foods who said the countries in which they have been most successful they’ve had a dedicated local distributor who markets and sells their products – and the relationship is key!

We then got to have fun bringing culture into the picture! Dianne pointed out that culture touches all parts of the strategy – communication, negotiation, competitiveness – and will ultimately affect how successful your business can be at expanding globally. I had the opportunity to showcase the Cultural Detective Method with the group by working through a global expansion incident involving a local specialty beer manufacturer exporting to Canada. We ended with an activity that tied the learning together by incorporating Values Lenses into developing strategies for expansion. The workshop was quick and to the point but brought together some true experts in the field and real world application of the Cultural Detective tools to meet local business needs.

The International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City was a gracious host and sponsor for the global expansion workshop – have you checked within your local community to partner with such organizations? It’s a great way to link the cross-cultural skill development to relevant community and business needs!

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