7 misconceptions stopping your company from going global

Thoughts that might hold you back from the internationalization process

Published on

June 18, 2020

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to going global. It is incredibly beneficial and popular for businesses to expand to other countries nowadays. However, a lot of them still have a fear of doing so. The question is: why?  

If you are reading this, then you probably already considered expanding your business abroad. Furthermore, one of the thoughts below most likely crossed your mind and might have stopped you from proceeding with the expansion.

#1 Going global means selling abroad

A misconception is that you need to sell abroad immediately

If you have a business mindset, you probably tend to think that the whole purpose of what you are doing is to sell, sell, and sell.

Well, this might not be the case here. This is just one of the misconceptions about going global. In fact, there are three other main reasons why companies go through this process that are not related to selling abroad. It means much more than that.  

Internationalization represents a learning process that starts by observing new markets and the different opportunities present there. So you can consider leaving aside this misconception about going global.

You also have the chance to understand what other competitors have done wrong and avoid making the same mistakes. Not only that, but also experience different realities and, according to that, try new applications of your product.

This global perspective allows you to grow much faster, even if it means selling only to your home market in the beginning.

Of course, this perspective also prepares you to get customers abroad when the time is right. Therefore, if you implement this learning process from the beginning, you have much higher chances of creating a global-scale business.

Have a look at this article from Entrepreneur Europe to see how you can confront some of the expansion fears.

#2 You waited long enough before thinking internationally

The thing is that you probably waited too long to start thinking internationally. We truly defend the fact that your company should be international from day 1. Even better, from day 0.

It is important to mention again that we are not talking about selling abroad straight away. Instead, we are referring to the learning process mentioned above.

You save a lot of time and effort by understanding markets that might have better potential than your home one. Having an eye on places with high needs for your products or services brings nothing else than advantages to your growth!

You can have a look at this short video class that explains more about the right time to think about international markets.  

#3 It will be hard to enter big cities, or you should always choose one of these when going global

You don't always need to enter big markets

This is a common thought because, when you think about successful companies, they are usually located in popular places and huge cities. But this is just another one of the misconceptions of going global.

Take the example of New York, one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Just the fact that there is a substantial local market does not mean that it is the best location for you.

More important than market size, you need to understand that the market needs to vary according to each location. Furthermore, you should also take the competitive landscape, market entry cost, existing connections, and many other factors into consideration.

It is a natural choice to chase ‘obvious markets’ since it is maybe easier to observe what is happening there. However, when you consider all these factors, you realize that other locations might be much more strategic for you.

The advice here is not to limit yourself to well-known locations. Analyze and research markets with a high need for your product, but also less complicated to enter.

You can check the step-by-step to select the best markets for your business with this free e-book!

#4 I should conquer my home market first before going global

You already learned the advantages of ‘thinking and acting outside of the box’ in this case. So don’t let this misconception about going global stop you. Limiting yourself and your startup to a specific market makes you lose valuable time, which could be used to chase many other opportunities.

Observing what happens in other markets can also help you apply different concepts in your home market. Therefore, you don’t need to conquer your country first to start thinking internationally. Instead, you can do these two things:

  1. Learn from different countries and apply this knowledge into your market;
  2. Test and apply practices you already have in countries that need your solution.

Another tip here is to also keep an eye on the moves of your local competitors. Don’t forget that they might be observing your process and decide to take action before you even notice. Don’t give them that advantage!

This article from Forbes talks about how it is better to even think globally.

#5 Going global can be very costly

Going global can be very costly

      Going international does not necessarily imply high costs. We agree that if you move the whole operational process in another market and also outsource new staff, it can cost a fortune. However, it doesn’t need to be like that from the beginning. This is just one of the misconceptions about going global.

    Significant capital investments can always be considered at a later date. First, you need to be sure that you validate your business proposition in the new market. In the first stages, all you have to spend is time to do some research and observe the market.

    In addition to that, there are many affordable ways to start validating new markets. You can check 8 of them at this blog post!

#6 You need to do everything by yourself when going global

The truth is that we live in a world in which we synergize, and many companies can highly benefit from establishing a partnership with you.

To get something, you need to ask for it, and you will be amazed by how many doors you might open. Asking for help, advice or collaboration does not mean that one is weak, but rather that the learning process is going on and the knowledge and skills are to be improved. This leads to nothing than becoming better versions of ourselves and having an open-minded approach to life situations.

In this process, we advise you to search for local partners, as they are highly valuable. Having someone already familiar with the market will provide you with a faster learning process and avoid the struggle to discover everything by yourself.

Also, try to find partners that can also highly benefit from working together with you. By adding value to their current offers, you help them increase their revenues and/or better satisfy their customers. Therefore, they also put time and energy into helping you enter the market. This helps you to think somehow else about one of the misconceptions about going global.

#7 Going global means a huge commitment from the beginning  

It'a a huge commitment from the beginning

Of course, everyone should be committed to their cause, but no one needs to be afraid that this will happen in excessive amounts.

There is just a fundamental step that businesses need to do before committing too much into a foreign market, and this is market validation.

You can spend as many hours doing desk research as you want, but that will never be as effective as talking to someone who understands that market.

By having a simple conversation, this person can already validate many of your uncertainties regarding that location. They can give you a broader and practical perspective of your industry, as well as share valuable insights to support your market entry.

We have separated a list of international mentors that can help you with this pre-market validation. These mentors are experts in their home market and have proven experience growing companies.

You can easily check their profiles at this link and book a session with them. During this session, you can validate your assumptions and get started with your market entry!

They will help you think positively at one of the misconceptions about going global anymore.

All this being said, there is no right or wrong about going global. Of course, it is impossible to mitigate all risks related to the process, but they tend to be much smaller than what companies think if you follow the right approach.

You can find more free resources, just like this article, which can support your international expansion on our Go Global Platform!

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