The Challenge

Man Looking Across ChasmUp until now, start-up companies have taken a similar approach to developing international markets.  They first take their product to their domestic market, because this is what they know best.  They make some initial sales, gain some market traction and then at some point they decide that they need to have a strategy for getting into international markets.  This process often takes years.

Once the decision has been made, these companies face a significant challenge.  How do you prioritize which markets to enter first?  How do you hire the right people to get the job done?  How do you navigate the myriad legal, regulatory, cultural and linguistic issues you will face in each particular market?  Will your product require any localization?

And then there is the cost.  Even with a minimal operation it can cost $1M or more to enter a single international market.  Is this the most efficient allocation of your capital?

Finally there are the intangible risks.  Entering international markets can be very disruptive to an organization.  Will localization requirements eat up your R&D schedule?  If you choose to focus on the wrong markets, you pay a huge opportunity cost.  What are the risks to your reputation if you enter a market unprepared?  Are you prepared for the challenges you will face?

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