This past decade has proven that businesses that expand to international markets tend to fare better than purely domestic ones. The most well-known American companies - such Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonald's - all have significant overseas footprints. Many of the products sold in America are also produced overseas. For the 21st century, countries are inextricably linked to one another in trade, taking advantage of exchange rates to import and export with maximum profitability. The international market is currently four times the size of the American one and growing, making it an essential part of any company's expansion strategy.
Multiple free-trade agreements now exist between global participants that help fuel the rapid pace of globalized businesses. Organizations such as the WTO and cross-country agreements such as NAFTA and GATT reduce and eliminate trade barriers and tariffs, which are seen as detrimental to global corporate growth. Participating countries benefit from importing goods by acquiring a wider variety of available products, which increases local competition and in turn improves quality and decreases prices. This ideally produces a self-sustaining system in which only the best quality products sold at the lowest price survive, forcing companies to refine their production capabilities repeatedly to remain competitive. What are some examples of industries that have evolved from domestic businesses into international powerhouses?
The Tech and Agriculture Industries
The titans of the tech industry are strong examples of successful global entrepreneurship. Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google and Yahoo all evolved from small startups with limited funding into massive multinational corporations. The reason for the rapid spread of these companies is that the demand for these technologies - operating systems, search engines, office software and smartphones - is universal in developed nations. Successful tech companies have all been led by visionary leaders - such as Gates, Jobs, Page or Yang - who have are able to look a decade into the future to predict the evolving needs of customers.
Large chemical companies - such as Monsanto and DuPont - are also successful due to their ability to cut through the noise of the markets to draft out a long-term business plan. With the global human population increasing at an unsustainable rate, food shortages will become a harsh reality in the next few decades. Agricultural companies, which produce fertilizer and bio-engineered crops, are well positioned across the world to reap the profits of the growing demand of farmers who are increasingly required to maximize their productivity.
Other industries, such as fast food restaurants, apparel retailers and miners have all found success in international markets. The two characteristics that these all share are universal demand and long-term business forecasts. Businesses that are well positioned for growth will offer detailed calculations of the anticipated growth in demand for its target market. Common target countries and considerations include China, Latin America and developing third world nations, which lack infrastructure but are rich in natural resources. Consult the most recent International Trade Statistics Yearbook of the United States to find the code of your product or service, to determine the hottest global growth areas for your company.
When doing business with other countries, modern technology is your best friend. Technologies such as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Skype make it much easier to conduct international business with just a computer with an Internet connection. The Internet makes it much easier to build a network of contacts quickly, who can help you start to establish a presence in the target country. Touching base with a local team can help you understand the current market conditions in the country, the demand for your product or service, as well as the business culture. Doing business in Japan differs greatly from Europe or the Middle East, so localizing your product and your attitude can increase your chances of success. Entering a country via a joint venture or franchise may decrease your risk exposure while allowing you to gauge your probability of success.