Expanding to new foreign markets: Navigating opportunity

A few things to know before you go

In an increasingly global marketplace, expansion, relocation or consolidation affects nearly every business at some point in its life cycle. Important decisions about where to  expand or locate new facilities—logistics and distribution centers, manufacturing, research and development, back-office and shared service centers, or company headquarters—require thoughtful consideration about the short- and long-term business objectives of the organization combined with the impact on resources.

Before entering a new market, taking time to define why and how expanding, relocating or consolidating is the right choice is critical to ensure the desired results are achieved.

Take a long-term view

Expanding into new domestic or global markets takes time. Consider your overall objectives and goals of having a global footprint, and how you are going to measure success. Establishing clear strategic milestones and criteria will increase your ability to determine if the global expansion met your objectives.

Manage risks strategically

Identify and assess specific risks that may sidetrack activities and threaten success. Document risks, evaluate their potential impact to the overall project, and document strategies to mitigate them. Determine if you have the people and resources needed to implement an expansion successfully.

Explore cultural and legal differences in foreign jurisdictions

Understanding that how business is conducted in one country does not necessarily mean that it will be the same across the globe is an important consideration when looking to expand, relocate or consider consolidating business operations.  Ensure you have considered cultural, labor and regulatory differences across locations you are considering and make note of where those differences may affect how you implement your expansion efforts.

Leverage professional support

Bring in advisors who have a deep understanding of the cultural, legal and regulatory considerations in foreign jurisdictions, who have professionals in the countries you are looking to enter into and have a record of accomplishment helping companies successfully expand into new market. Often, the experience needed to engage in successful expansion does not fully reside within one organization.