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Good to Great: How to Scale With an Outsourced CFO

Small to medium-sized businesses reach a point in their growth where access to the skills and talents of an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is required.  The question they often have? Is there enough work to warrant a full-time CFO? The answer is yes.....

When it comes to business, there is a whole world of endless possibilities. So if you think entering the international business market will give your company access to new customers and potentially increase revenue, then you are rightly so. As long as you remember that success ultimately comes down to how well you implement your international strategy. 


So You Want to Go Global.

Here are seven tips for crossing the border and entering your untapped market. From there on, the world is your oyster!


Tip 1: Be Customer Driven, Always

Research, research, research––start by identifying the right market to enter. And whatever you do, don't jump feet first. You may find inadequate market demand for your product or local legislation is too burdensome to warrant the effort. So pay particular attention to market potential, competition intensity and local government legislation. Doing so avoids costly disappointment down the track. 

Here are a few potential questions to initiate your research. There are plenty more to follow, so put your thinking cap on.

  • Is your product or service in demand?
  • Is there market growth, and if so, at what rate?
  • Are there already competitors? How many?
  • Is your product affordable to local consumers?
  • Will the cost of transport outweigh the benefit of going global?


Tip 2: Localise Your Strategy

First and foremost, when entering the international business market––be aware that you will need to adapt your current marketing strategy. Although it may be effective domestically, crossing the water introduces various factors, from different government constraints to varying competition and everything in between. Tailor your strategy to the market in which you plan to operate. Again, this will come down to research, research, and more research.

One way to differentiate yourself in an international business market is to highlight the relationship you intend to build and how you intend to give back. Remember, consumers, don't necessarily buy goods and services. They buy relationships. If they can connect to your mission, then they have a higher chance of becoming loyal customers.


Tip 3: Understand the Local Culture

Cross-cultural blunders? They've happened, that's for sure, but it makes for a great learning platform. Commisceo Global listed ten of their favourite cross-cultural marketing failures. Here's just one of many to ponder. 

"In 2002, Umbro, the U.K. sports manufacturer, had to withdraw its new trainers (sneakers) called the Zyklon. The firm received complaints from many organisations and individuals as it was the name of the gas used by the Nazi regime to murder millions of Jews in concentration camps."

The moral of the story? For communication to be effective, your marketing message needs to reflect that it understands your end-users customs, traditions, religious beliefs and learning processes. It should also identify how and if they fit or clash with what your business brand represents.


Tip 4: Expand Your Understanding to Include Business Culture

While it's essential to understand the culture of the market you plan to enter, so is the culture of businesses operating within that market. Companies within different countries may also have different management styles. And as such, considering what foreign colleagues expect of you will also come into play. 

Take, for example, a 2017 article titled,  Being the Boss in Brussels, Boston, and Beijing, published by The Harvard Business Review. It pointed out that "cultural differences in leadership styles often create unexpected misunderstandings." One business culture noted in particular was that of China. In this market, employees measure their success by their capability––doing and doing it well. It is not their place to contribute to ideas but follow instructions.


Tip 5: Be Aware of Local Business Regulations

Every country has their own set of local business laws that businesses must meet to trade. Take, for example, toy compliance. If a foreign business enterprise were to launch a product in Australia, it would need to comply with toy safety regulations. In Australia, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) determines and enforces regulations for toy safety, ensuring that all toy products meet all regulated safety standards. Vice versa is no different. Understanding local business regulations is essential to the success of your product and, as such, your brand. If you are considering crossing the border, a good start would be to engage local legal counsel. They will be able to offer an in-depth look at the requirements you will need to meet.


Tip 6: Work Together: Strategic Alliances

Businesses looking to break into the international business market can potentially use strategic alliances to help get them there. A company that has already entered the market can give you access and amplify your competitiveness by leveraging the resources of your new partner. Such an approach works well for those who are uncertain of entry, are large, or need to access the market quickly. 


Tip 7: Keep It Local 

When expanding internationally, hiring the right team to get your product off the ground is essential. We've established that every market is different. So having a local team means that you have knowledgeable people on hand that can explain the customs and buyer habits that are unique to the market you are penetrating.


Utilise the Experts: Altus

Taking your business global can allow you to tap into new markets to build your brand and unlock a world of potential. However, a lack of knowledge on how to proceed often keeps most people from expanding. At Altus, our CFO services can provide your business with high-level financial performance reporting and cash flow management recommendations that would determine if your business is ready to go global. 

Could Your Business Benefit from an Outsourced CFO?

Set your business on the right path with this simple guide.

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Prospective Business Owner - Succession Checklist

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