The strategy in foreign markets is essential to be successful, to achieve the positioning of the products and services of the companies in the foreign market. This strategy has little or nothing to do with the moment when the entrepreneur established his current company in the Spanish market. However, it has a lot to do with the attitude and mentality that led him to become an entrepreneur, to create his own company, his own life.
Foreign trade requires entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who remember their first company, the reasons that led them to create and establish their company. Generally, it was their desire to do better than the boss of the company they worked for was doing. It was the desire to make money and to work for yourself knowing that the customers, the market, wanted to work with you wherever you were. The need to offer something better to the market, to turn the inadequacies in the products and services that customers were receiving into advantages.
You have made a company out of nothing, you have taken the reins of the family business and you see how now you have to make sure that it does not disappear, you have to continue making it grow and everything you have done up to now is not enough. You see how the institutions and private companies tell you what you have to do, what you have to invest, the meetings to attend, the countries to export to, how badly you are doing, what you have to improve and you ask yourself “am I so stupid, so ignorant that I do not know what I have to do?
No, you are nothing like that. You are a successful entrepreneur who wants to continue to be successful, who wants to continue to enjoy yourself as you did when you set up your company, as you did when you started to make your first decisions: with fears and insecurities. Foreign trade is the same. It is starting a new business adventure but much easier, much simpler because your company already exists, your company already has an experience and a history in the business world.
Surely when you formed your company you did it with a partner, with a friend. Maybe they are no longer with you, maybe you have other partners, but surely you remember the reason for your union. It was a union of skills, a union of abilities and knowledge necessary for the development of the company. You knew perfectly well what each one had to do, you knew the responsibilities that each one had to assume and so… your company was born.
Foreign trade is to create a new company, foreign trade is to renew the illusions and the energy that you had years ago to create your company and with that illusion you must seek to find new “partners” that will make you reach foreign markets. These new “partners” must have the necessary skills and the necessary mentality that will allow you to reach foreign markets. These “partners” can be employees, they can be external consultants, they can be current customers who also need to go abroad and, most importantly, they must have the concept of professionalism as their flagship. You can only be successful if you bring together the best, you can only be successful if you create a team with a philosophy of professionalism in line with what is expected of them. Bet on professionalism instead of mediocrity. Bet on seriousness instead of improvisation. Bet on wanting to do business instead of selling. Identify yourself with the binomial: my client wins; I win. That is your first step in designing your internationalization strategy.
As an example of a successful internationalization strategy, I will relate a conversation I had with a client, a couple of years ago, when we were evaluating the possibility of participating in an internationalization project for his company:
We met at an internationalization forum where I participated as a speaker in the province of Burgos. At the end of the event, he approached me and invited me to have a meeting that same afternoon or at a later date. I took advantage of my stay and we met after lunch at his offices where he introduced me to his team and facilities.
Once the presentations and visits were over, we started the conversation about his ideas of internationalization and about what he wanted professionally from me, about what I could help him and his company.
Miguel Ángel,” he began, “I do not have higher education, I only have the basics, but I have made the university come to me instead of me going to it. In my team I have lawyers, economists, psychologists – he continued – who help me when it comes to taking the business forward. I am the soul of the company, the one who sets the goal, the skipper of the ship, but without them I am nothing. I want you to help me select the optimal route to reach my goal.
Currently, this entrepreneur and his company are present in several Latin American countries and continues its growth and positioning to be present in all the countries of the American continent, including the United States.
The best strategy is always to have the best team. Select the best and not the cheapest: they will form a staff but not a team.
Original source: “Entrepreneur, don’t forget how you started to create your company“, by Miguel Ángel Martín Martín.
Photography: Four Towers by Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias.