The Center for Global Business (CGB) presented the second installment of a new series of webinars by the MAPIT Alliance focused on risk when entering international markets. In the webinar, “Choosing and Entering Foreign Markets,” experts shared helpful tips and best practices about how to make informed, strategic decisions and limit risk when considering expanding businesses internationally. They also provided guidance around the types of information to consider when researching potential markets.
The webinar featured insights and best practices from Paulo Procho, assistant dean and clinical professor, Maryland Smith, and Phil Grove, chair, MD-DC District Export Council and international sales manager, Ellicott Dredges. Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of CGB, moderated the conversation.
Prochno began the discussion by walking through the risks involved and what must all be considered in an expansion strategy, including local regulation, taxes, managing and producing from afar, consumer interest in and willingness to purchase your product, and local competitors. He also presented two key questions a business should ask itself when deciding to expand globally. The first question encourages businesses to think about whether their unique offering will add value in other countries. Prochno introduced a market selection framework and suggested, “When you are starting to go abroad...try to be close to the high ability to exploit, even if the market is not that important...because if you start there that will generate some early wins and...momentum for global expansion.” Oftentimes, firms focus on the significance of a market based on its size or growth rate. However, if they are not able to capitalize on that market, they end up having to alter their business model to be successful in that new region. The second question inspires firms to build their ability to exploit a market by learning more about the country through experimenting, acquiring a local company to support your business, or partnering with another entity to grow your business abroad.
Grove then provided recommendations for selecting an international market for exporting. He emphasized the importance of doing research to understand the current business and economic environment in a particular country and competitors in that market. Grove added that engaging with customers, partners, suppliers and internal teams will help gain a better understanding of the current state of that market. He also encouraged visiting the market to build local relationships.
The MAPIT Alliance is a partnership of Maryland Smith’s Center for Global Business, Maryland-D.C. District Export Council, the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of International Investment and Trade, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Baltimore.
Watch the recording of the webinar. Learn more about the MAPIT Alliance and the Center for Global Business. Review available resources for the ExportMD Program, Exportech and MD Global Export Consulting Program.
This event was sponsored in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
— By Jordan Heitzner, graduate assistant, Center for Global Business