Many companies get carried away at the thought of internationalisation and expansion into new foreign markets. After all, you’re looking at long-term growth at a global level, higher return on investment and a wider network of overseas clients. A company that wants to embark on international expansion has to have all the adequate measures in place before growth can scale. One of the most important decisions to make before internationalisation, is whether a company has the capital and resources required to be successful in overseas markets, or whether they need help from a third party, i.e. a foreign partner.
We’ve already explained the benefits of having a foreign partner in one of our previous blogs. But how do you know if this potential foreign partner is the right person for your business needs? After all, you have to choose wisely because their skills ultimately determine how well you perform in foreign markets. Here are some key qualities that a foreign partner should have:
A foreign partner who is willing to nurture a relationship based on trust
The internationalisation process requires a lot of time, effort and dedication. It won’t just happen after night and companies need to decide whether they can carry on satisfying the demand in the domestic market, as well as nurturing and supplying to the new foreign market. For smaller companies that don’t have the staff and resources in place to internationalise on their own, a foreign partner can ease the workload when launching products into overseas markets. Inevitably, this requires a higher level of trust because you won’t have full responsibility of the international operations.
You need a foreign partner with whom you can get on with, communicate easily and most importantly, trust. Initially, your foreign partner will solely be in charge of running and monitoring operations in foreign markets. You won’t have full control so make sure they are professional, friendly and overall, confident in their ability to perform well.
A foreign partner who has firsthand experience in your target foreign market
For those companies that are new to the internationalisation journey, a foreign partner is ideal, especially if they don’t have the time to dedicate all their efforts into international market research. Choose a foreign partner that is a native of that target market. If they have conquered this market already and know the market regulations and trends, they can tell you honestly whether your product has potential or whether it needs adapting to fit the needs of its international consumers.
A foreign partner who was impeccable interpersonal skills
Your foreign partner will be the voice of your company in overseas markets. Not only do they need to either fluent or native in the language of that target market, they need to be able to communicate well. You’ll be relying on your foreign partner to handle all communications in that foreign market, including nurturing relationships with potential overseas clients, managing contracts with foreign distributors and foreign suppliers and any other third party involved in the internationalisation process. Therefore, a foreign partner needs to be friendly, charismatic and ooze confidence in order to grow a respectable relationshipwith people in your foreign market.
A foreign partner whose own goals are aligned with those of the company
Make sure you are on the same page when it comes to internationalisation as conflicting goals always end badly. Establish what you want to achieve in a certain amount of time with SMART goals - goals that are Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. What do you want to gain from working with a foreign partner? Maybe you want to expand your overseas client base by 20% or increase sales by 40%, every company is different. But make sure your foreign partner’s goals and values are in alignment to the company goals. You’ll be focusing on managing your domestic demand so you don’t want to keep checking up on them to see whether they are coping with operations in the overseas market.
Above all, your foreign partner shouldn’t be trying to run before they can walk and trying to internationalise too quick can actuallybe harmful to your business. A foreign partner is the door for you to get your foot into foreign markets and these things should not be rushed. After their help, you have the option of developing further in the future, whether it’s maintaining current international sales levels, growing and nurturing international sales teams or even expanding into new markets.
So bear these pointers in mind when hiring a foreign partner and you’ll be on your way to dividing and conquering new markets and achieving higher level of growth all around the world!