Jane Imrie

Bdaily's Dr Roy Stanley on internationalisation: embracing a growth mindset

On the fourth day of Bdaily’s internationalisation series, business leader Dr Roy Stanley examines the connection between mindset and international expansion.

“A major contributor to the seriousness of the impact of Covid-19 is obesity so it is that the phrase “small is beautiful” (Schumacher) is very apt.

“Small firms can sometimes be at an advantage. They can often be more flexible, open, dynamic and innovative. Disadvantage of small firms are mostly of a financial nature; lack of capital, development funding and cash flow.

“Other than adequate financing the other major limitations to the internationalisation of business that SMEs have to face are lack of entrepreneurial, managerial and marketing skills.

“The majority of entrepreneurial SMEs have a high level of expertise in their products and services but they can lack broader managing skills. This can have a negative impact on their ability to develop and succeed.

“In order to go international from predominantly operating in domestic markets, as with rapid growth, the firm needs to have a radical change in mindset.

“Self-belief and the willingness to learn are fundamental to international growth. Knowledge tends to breed confidence: acquire the knowledge and in turn the confidence to go abroad.

“People or entrepreneurs who run SMEs tend to prefer to be practical (as opposed to theoretical) in their approach: gain practical knowledge of doing business overseas.

“A mindset change of scale is critical, I use the phrase “think global act local”: begin thinking and acting like a bigger, bolder business. Most SMEs recognise that there is a trade-off between risk and reward, in order to grow your need to invest and allocate appropriate resources: begin investing for greater growth.

“The final stage in the journey of becoming an international business is managing and operating AS a global business.

“This entails developing business models and corporate structures that look at the business from the perspective of international markets. These processes will support firms to grow further and learning to overcome the barriers that occur develops further as the business grows.

“When looking at mindset, businesses should consider:

“Is there a mindset for growth?

“What is the mindset towards becoming international?

“How can internationalisation be funded?

“Does the firm have the management skill and capabilities?

“How can we acquire the appropriate knowledge?

“Does the business operate as though it is a big business?”

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

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