How then can you transition towards becoming a savvy businessman in the international scene?
Here are a few steps:
1. Expand your world.
Start at home. You can easily go home when it becomes too much.
Talk to that cleaner with the funny accent. Ask some of your colleagues at work how people do business in countries of their origin.
Read about international events. Begin to see possibilities in these emerging global trends.
2. Identify the opportunities.
See in the emerging global trends the ones that are relevant to your line of business. As you open yourself to global opportunities, you start to see how your company can be a player. Write down these opportunities as well as the areas in the world where there could be tremendous advantage for your company.
3. Identify your competitive advantage.
Identify the areas in your business where you think you have a competitive advantage over other companies in the areas of the world you have identified.
Sometimes, you just focus on only one finished product and the processes that result to this particular product.
Sometimes, when you look at the needs in other parts of the world, you might find that processes you are very good at may help them become more productive or cost effective or more profitable. These services are just as marketable as the products you sell. Think sideways. Think laterally.
4. Bounce ideas with your network.
Once you have some ideas, bounce these ideas with those who are already working in the countries you have identified as possible areas of business. Ask these people for ideas and comments. Ask people you know who had been in those countries even if they are not business people. Ask your colleagues who may have families still there to check things out for you informally.
Don't forget embassies of these countries. They are there to drum up business for their countries so they are always prepared to share information.
5. Go to those countries as a tourist.
Often, you see with different eyes when you go as a tourist. Go with a tour group. You will be privy to a lot of their comments and observations on the place. Explore the place.
6. Know the country's tradition and culture.
Knowing the people give you deeper insights as to their preferences, their work habits, their attitudes and ways of doing things.
If they strongly respect older people, send older colleagues to negotiate. If they have no facility in the language you normally use for business, learn or have one of your colleagues who is fluent in the language to be with you. If not, get a translator.
7. Know the businesses in the country operating in your area.
Know everything you can of these companies. Meet with them and see what partnerships are possible.
8. Work with Local Partners.
Sometimes, it is better to get a local partner to do all the work that needs to be done locally to win contracts or sell your services and products.
9. Just do it.
Don’t wait until you have a fully substantiated treatise before you start. Doing it will give you the experience and training you need to be sharper in other circumstances. It will refine your sense for doing business with another culture not familiar to you.
Are your bags packed or are you still hugging the shores?