In the age of the Internet, it could be argued that there is less of a need for companies that expand internationally to establish a physical presence in new countries simply to establish access to and to service a new and larger customer base. However, the reality is that people still buy from people and ultimately this requires a physical presence in key target markets.
The United States’ early emergence from the recent economic downturn has meant that companies based there have been in a stronger position than many other companies in the western economies to consider and plan for expansion into new markets.
For US headquartered companies the most popular regions to expand internationally are Europe and Asia-Pacific. In Europe, the most popular destinations are the UK followed by Germany.
Entering a new market and establishing a physical presence there is a major decision for any company, regardless of its size. Expanding overseas is often a time-consuming and expensive process fraught with commercial and reputational risks.
The prime issue for US enterprises entering new territories is to find, hire and train the right staff. Not understanding the local culture when it comes to recruitment and addressing this lack of empathy.
The great advantage for a company looking to establish a presence in an overseas market today, compared with say 20 years ago, is that there are specialist firms that can assist in these areas, particularly in the early phases of territorial expansion. Selecting the right partner to represent and work with you in an overseas location is imperative.