In general, companies go international because they want to grow or expand operations. The benefits of entering international markets include generating more revenue, competing for new sales, investment opportunities, diversifying, reducing costs and recruiting new talent.
Going international is a strategy that is influenced by a variety of factors and is typically implemented over time. Sometimes, a government will incentivize companies to enter their country's market in an effort to build their economies.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Companies expand into international markets for a variety of reasons, such as increasing brand awareness and reducing costs. There is one overarching goal that all international businesses share: increased profit.
Improving Profit Margins
Improving profit margins is one of the most common reasons for entering international markets. When growth strategies are used up on the national level, the next path is often to seek out international growth. Distributing your products in additional countries increases your customer base. As you offer compelling solutions and build loyalty across international markets, revenue strengthens and escalates as well.
There are also significant cost savings that can be associated with going international. A company may want to reduce costs by relocating closer to a supplier or benefit from lower production costs by expanding operations to another country. Doing business internationally may open up new investment opportunities. Further, a lower cost of acquiring customers may be another compelling reason to expand internationally.
Competing for New Sales
Closely connected to the goal of improved profit margins is the desire to increase sales. Even if company operators generally are satisfied with revenue levels, international expansion can further improve overall revenues. The race to expand internationally is often about gaining a presence in foreign markets. Being the first to arrive in a new market can provide significant advantages.
If you don't enter a ripe market with your solution, competitors do. Not only do you miss the revenue source, but you lose out on other valuable assets that you could use to promote your company at home and abroad. In some cases, a strong domestic company gets overrun by a lesser player that succeeds globally and grows big through global synergy.
Bear in mind that in the modern economy, many companies are already global thanks to technology. Companies develop specific international strategies in order to gain competitive advantages in the new global economy.
Diversifying the Business
The international expansion allows a company to diversify its business in a couple of key ways. First, you spread the risk of slowing demand across multiple countries. If one market never gains or loses interest in your offerings, you can pick up the slack with success in other countries. In addition, you can connect with suppliers in international markets and take advantage of raw materials and resources unavailable in domestic markets.
Also, companies often enhance innovation and develop additional variations of their solutions when they operate in multiple countries. Product diversification similarly insulates you from the risks of declining interest in a particular item.
Examples of Diversification
For example, Xiaomi, one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in China, seeks to expand in India over the next few years. In addition to mobile devices, the company is planning to sell electric folding bikes, self-balancing scooters, fitness bands and other products. This will allow it to reach a wider audience and diversify its operations.
Diversifying your brand's offerings and its customer base are two popular reasons for international business expansion. Sometimes, a product isn't a bad product, but a bad fit for the market where it was originally launched. Launching that product again in a different market, toward people with a different culture and a different budget can mean an entirely different, much more positive reception for that product.
Recruiting New Talent
Operating in international markets also gives businesses access to a larger and more diversified talent pool. Employees who speak different languages and understand different cultures enhance connections with a broader customer base. Having an international brand that is well reputed will invite top talent to the company. Businesses can also structure global work teams in a way that allows for synergy in building a global brand.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.