Canadian SMBs focus on export markets to grow beyond the limits of their domestic horizon. As appealing as the prospect may be, firms are advised to be cautious and look internally before making finalizing their commercialization strategy for new markets. As part of your preparation, start assessing your internal resources and capabilities. Here are three elements to review with your team:
- Product Complexity: Does your product require training and support? A more complex product will require more support and training to be successful abroad. For example a hardware solution needing radio frequencies requires government licenses, type approval and a strong partner to find co-location sites and launch partners. Therefore a complex product will draw upon limited resources at home, both operationally and financially. One option to get around this is to work with your current partners with global operations.
- Leadership Attitude: Winning firms in new markets prioritize global expansion to support their commercialization strategies. Research presented in the Harvard Business Review found that 79% of winning export firms agreed they exhibited shared leadership attitude from the board on down; in contrast, only 40% of losing firms responded they had this leadership attitude toward global expansion.
- Financial Ambiguity: The novelty of foreign business practice, different business models and negotiating often translates into delayed revenue streams. Small firms without deep financial resources are more likely to feel pressure to abandon a commercialization strategy due to ambiguous, short term setbacks. It may sound paradoxical, but looking at your company before looking outside to new markets is a practical and important step in developing a successful commercialization strategy.
It may sound paradoxical, but looking at your company before looking outside to new markets is a practical and important step in developing a successful commercialization strategy.