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The Importance of A Detailed Strategy When Going Global

The Importance of A Detailed Strategy When Going Global

12 October 2015
Author: Alison Larson

Many brands make the mistake of not formulating a proper strategy before attempting to expand internationally.  


It may be tempting to seize a hot opportunity to go global but in the long-run it has proven best to come up with a detailed game plan before taking the plunge.  The majority of companies who 'shoot from the hip' end up making critical mistakes and having to backtrack to fix the mess that was created.

Here are six tips that will help you take your brand overseas without a hitch:


1. Strategy, strategy, strategy


Thoroughly research the markets you aim to expand into and develop a detailed overall strategy as well as sub-strategies for each country. Assess your brand’s strengths and weaknesses and determine where you need to make adjustments.


2. Do your research


Narrow down the markets you want to conquer once you’ve done a decent amount of primary and secondary market research. You want to be sure that your company is prepared for what lies ahead and that your brand will be well-received in this unchartered territory. Remember that every market is unique so your strategy may be different for each country.


3. Buddy up


Ensure that you have someone on the ground in your new market who you can trust to represent your brand. Think of these relationships as the life-changing partnerships that they are and don’t be too hasty to enter into one.  Treat this search as you would a marriage!


4. Prepare for logistical challenges


The logistical side of your business MUST be running smoothly at home before you consider taking your operation further afield. Think about the unique challenges of each market - import restrictions, duties and labelling requirements to name a few, and make sure that you are prepared to manage these effectively.


5. Call in the experts 


Invest in the right people both home and in market - people who have experience in the markets you are trying to infiltrate will understand the roadblocks and act as your eyes and ears on the ground. Don’t assume that you can get your inexperienced domestic team to get the ball rolling overseas and execute a business that will be successful over the long term.


6. Put your money where your mouth is


Don’t attempt a move to a foreign market unless your finances are in order.  This is a long-term commitment and will require long-term investment - be prepared to wait before your initial spending will make a significant return. 

In summary, the quality of your strategy will set the stage for your success overseas.  Don't take shortcuts!  Moving too quickly almost always ends with disastrous results and significant losses in time and money!


If you need guidance in launching your fashion brand overseas or are struggling with your current international business, please contact Alison G. Larson (alarson@worldblazer.com) of WorldBlazer Consulting LLC (www.worldblazer.com) to schedule a free consultation.

Alison G Larson has 25+ years of experience in launching and developing fashion businesses in over 40 markets around the world.  She works with apparel, accessory and other fashion-related companies looking to expand or more fully develop their brands or businesses in overseas markets. 

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