Jane Imrie

Bdaily's Dr Roy Stanley on internationalisation: where to begin

Following on from his case for internationalisation, Bdaily chairman and entrepreneur Dr Roy Stanley has outlined how SMEs can begin to refocus their business to expand internationally.

“I love the sign on Bosch’s desk in the Prime TV series of the same name: Get off your ass and go knock on doors”. The simple answer to how to internationalise a business is to expose key people, owners and senior team to the international markets and the whole idea of developing an international business.

“This can be done through research, talking to people, through networking, mentoring and ultimately going to the markets. Although this pandemic has effectively stopped travel, there is a need to prepare for the post Covid-19 world.

“To internationalise the business. explore and investigate potential foreign markets, understanding the selling and buying processes within these markets.

“Visit the market through trade shows or contacts and establish informal networks. Develop and implement a plan for international growth.

“I am a believer in what I call the ‘bounded chaos theory’ of business development. Having set the strategy most growing firms ‘bounce from side to side’ along a narrow beam generally going in the right direction. Things happen that cause responses, unpredictable events occur resulting in many firms being faced with key decisions that influence its future.

“Back in 1999, being the owner of a manufacturing business that had 80 per cent of its sales within a 50-mile radius over the next 10 years the business had grown 12-fold and 90 per cent of the business was international.

“This was the outcome of a transnational strategy resulting from taking unpredictable opportunities when they arose and having a good team that implemented those opportunities.

“To internationalise businesses, there has to be evidence of an open growth mindset, recruit good people and have the ability to learn and implement effectively.

“Internationalise the business - explore and investigate potential foreign markets. Understanding the selling and buying processes within these markets is critical.

“Visit the market through trade shows or contacts and establish informal networks. Develop and implement a plan for international growth.

“Some questions SMEs might want to ask when looking to internationalise are:

“Is the product or service appropriate for an international market? If so, what markets?

“Do we have the infrastructure for exporting or importing?

“Who are our potential customers, suppliers or partners?

“What are the financial implications of the strategy?

“How do we want to enter the market?”

For more information on internationalisation for SMEs, contact Dr Roy Stanley here.

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