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A Guide to Preparing an International Business Plan
By: FITT Team
An international business plan acts as a framework that identifies goals and objectives, specific target markets and clients, resources required and strategies to be developed in pursuit of international business opportunities. The plan allows for the monitoring of progress via metrics against which success and failure can be measured. A comprehensive international business plan will be comprised of a number of integrated strategies related to business functions, including communications, sales and marketing, finance and production.
What Is an International Business Plan?
An international business plan is a valuable management tool that describes who a business is, what it plans to achieve and how it plans to overcome risks and provide anticipated returns. It can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as to:
- Set goals and objectives for the organization’s performance.
- Provide a basis for evaluating and controlling the organization’s performance.
- Communicate an organization’s message to managers and staff, outside directors, suppliers, lenders and potential investors.
- Help the planner identify the cash needs of the business.
- Provide benchmarks against which to compare the progress and performance of the business over time.
A comprehensive and detailed plan forces the planner to look at an organization’s operations and re-evaluate the assumptions on which the business was founded. In doing so, strengths and weaknesses can be identified.
Although highly dependent on the individual business case, on average it takes a three-year commitment to establish a successful presence in a foreign market. This process may require tremendous human, technical and financial resources during the developmental period.
The Planning Process
An international business plan is subject to repeated adjustment and revision to keep it current with the changing circumstances of the organization. The plan is a feedback mechanism through which new information is continually incorporated into the organization’s operations. Planning always precedes action. Therefore, planning must be thought of as a continuous cycle. The analytical tools presented here are not intended to be used just once. If they are to be useful, they should be used repeatedly as part of a process of improvement and incremental adjustment.
Plan Preparation Guidelines
These 7 guidelines will help in preparing a comprehensive international business plan:
- Clearly define the objectives for producing the plan : Who is going to read the plan, and what will they need to do? These objectives can help you decide how much emphasis to put on various sections.
- Allocate sufficient time and resources to thoroughly research the plan : A plan is only as good as the research that went into producing it.
- Show drafts of the plan to others : It can be very useful to obtain feedback from others, both inside and outside the business.
- Create an original plan that is done specifically for each business case : A common mistake entrepreneurs make is to borrow heavily from a sample plan and simply change the names and some of the numbers. There are two big problems with this approach. First , the emphasis placed on various sections of the plan must reflect what is important to the particular business in question. Second , a good plan should flow like a story, with the sections working together to demonstrate why the business will succeed. Plans that borrow too heavily from other plans tend to be disjointed, with some sections contradicting others and various key issues left unaddressed.
- Outline the key points in each section before the writing starts : These points must then be reviewed to ensure the sections are consistent with each other, there is little duplication and all key issues have been addressed.
- Ensure financial projections are believable : For many readers, the financial section is the most important part of the plan because it identifies the financing needs and shows the profit potential of the business. In addition, a good financial plan will give the reader confidence that the author really understands the business.
- Consider writing the executive summary as the last step in the process: It is usually easier to provide a concise overview after the detailed content has been created.
If you’re having trouble getting started with your business plan, try writing like it’s a series of tweets—one for every section of your business plan. To get your point across, 140 characters is all you need.
Forcing yourself to boil each section of your business plan down to one main point is an exercise in decision making and strategy all in itself. When you’re done, you’ll have everything you need to take your next step, whether that’s practicing your pitch to potential investors or a business partner, or sitting down to expand each tweet into a full section of a more traditional business plan.
The international business plan is the culmination of all of the work done to determine the appropriate venture for the organization’s growth. As part of the feasibility process, the organization will have determined its own internal readiness, conducted comprehensive target market research and carefully analyzed any relevant risks.
At this point, the organization can take all of this information and analysis and formally document the plan for moving forward. There are many different models and examples of how to put together a formal business plan, rather than one correct way.
The right format will depend on the organization, the venture being pursued and who will be accessing the business plan and for what purpose. However, there are some basic guidelines to follow.
One of the reasons business plans are developed is to convince investors and/or bankers to invest in the venture.
Increasingly, they are looking for a business plan to include two sections: one relating to online strategy (in terms of e-marketing, social media and ROI) and the second relating to corporate social responsibility (including quality, health, safety and environment policies).
The inclusion of these topics gives more credibility to the company by demonstrating its commitment to the community and to employees’ well-being.
Telling a Story
One trend in business planning is to use a narrative structure in the document, rather than traditional technical writing techniques. Storytelling techniques are increasingly being used throughout the business world to create personal and organizational brands, deliver marketing messages and develop persuasive plans.
Stories make presentations better. Stories make ideas stick. Stories help us persuade. Savvy leaders tell stories to inspire us, motivate us. That’s why so many politicians tell stories in their speeches. They realize that “what you say” is often moot compared to “how you say it.
Instead of using bulleted points and cold, technical language, organizations employ a “beginning, middle and end” narrative style. This engages the audience by establishing the context, describing the conflict or obstacles and arriving at a successful resolution.
The Executive Summary
Usually the last step of preparing the international business plan is to develop the executive summary, a short overview of what the plan proposes to accomplish. For some purposes, a one-page business plan can also be useful.
There is not a great deal of difference between an executive summary and a one-page business plan. The most significant distinction is the one-page plan must completely fit on one page in a readable font, while an executive summary may spread over two or three pages.
One-Page Business Plan
There is a trend towards the one-page business plan, especially if the plan is to be presented to potential partners for their consideration. Audiences for the one-page plan will be looking for a “quick hit”: a clear and concise description of what the opportunity is and how it is being pursued.
For example, a one-page business plan might include the following topics, as described in Noah Parson’s article “How to Write a One-Page Business Plan” on the website Bplans :
- Customer problem/opportunity
- Your solution/approach
- Business model (how you make money)
- Target market (who is the customer and how many are there)
- Competitive advantage
- Management team
- Financial summary
- Funding required
The one-page plan (or the executive summary, if used in place of the one-page plan) may provide the first impression the audience has of the business. This is the most important document generated out of the business planning process, and significant effort and care should be taken in its creation.
There are many websites the provide blank samples of one-page business plans, including Bplans , the GoForth Institute and Startup.com.
A Note on Strategic Plans
A strategic plan covers many of the same points as a business plan. However, a strategic plan sets out the detailed action plan to be followed to achieve the objectives of the international business plan.
It must outline specific activities, their due dates and who is responsible for each activity. It is a project plan with a critical path. A strategic plan ensures any venture is carried out in a coordinated, informed and systematic way.
A key consideration in action planning is how quickly to enter the market, which is driven by the chosen market entry strategy. If market entry is done too quickly, the potential for costly mistakes increases. However, if it is completed too slowly, opportunities may be missed and competitors will have more time to react.
The Planning Cycle
Attaching the word “cycle” to planning implies that it happens more than once. International business plans need to be reviewed periodically because new information that has an impact on both planning and operations is continually coming in.
All plans, including international business plans and strategic plans, need to be reviewed every time there is a major event impacting the business, such as civil unrest, a currency fluctuation or the presence of a new competitor.
About the author
Author: FITT Team
The Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) is the standards, certification and training body dedicated to providing international business training, resources and professional certification to individuals and businesses. Created by business for business, FITT’s international business training solutions are the standard of excellence for global trade professionals around the world. View all posts by FITT Team
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I have a company in Dubai and I am looking for someone who can write an internationally designed business plan with me for investors. Do you have an address I can contact?
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International Business Strategy: The Ultimate Guide 2023
As businesses continue to grow and the online world threatens to become even more powerful through concepts such as the Metaverse , the opportunities for businesses to tap into international markets are booming.
Perhaps you want to grow online or take your retail brand across the waters. Either way, it’s a good time to be thinking about your international business strategy.
We have many members (clients) who have developed these strategies through the help of their TAB membership, so we thought we’d collate our best tips into this article. Enjoy!
The definition of an international business strategy
An international business strategy is commonly defined as a plan for how a business will start to operate over multiple continents and countries. It’s a strategic outlook on how to take a business’ current commercial activities and turn them into more desirable, larger-scale international trading.
What kind of business should go 'international'?
The simple answer: any business at all.
Any type of business has the potential to trade across borders - if it can demonstrate a clear improvement in overall performance by adopting an international business strategy.
It can be an excellent way to grow your business and might be your best decision, but there are reasons to tread lightly.
Of course, within this, it must be considered that such an expansion will require additional management resources. It’s important to weigh this against the expected return on investment of going international.
Saying that, timing-wise, it's worth ensuring all reasonable domestic options for growth have been exhausted. You will also struggle to deliver an effective international business strategy without the time, knowledge, and funding. So, make sure these things are in order, by recruiting, or seeking investment, before taking the next step.
Our top tips for developing an international business strategy
1. speak to others.
One of the best tips we can give you is to talk to other entrepreneurs who have implemented international business strategies.
This may be through a peer advisory board, business coach, or the Chambers of Commerce.
We cannot stress the importance of having a trusted advisor in the international growth area to ensure you make the right decisions. This will be crucial for your business growth and to keep you focused on the overall vision.
2. Understand the market
The biggest mistake you could make is not understanding the culture you’re planning to expand into. You will not only be at a disadvantage against competitors who have knowledge of the market, but you could end up spending time and management effort on projects that could fall flat once they get to market.
So, do your research. Make sure the tone and messaging, and offering you develop align with the consumer's challenges and culture.
3. Can you find people to work with?
It will strengthen your position if you find people you can work with within the territory. Look for people you want to be involved with and see if there is any merit in working with them because that’s the quickest and easiest way of launching yourself in a new territory.
Another quick note, though - be careful about buying a business in a new territory. It’s time-consuming and difficult, and different countries will have varying regulations. Looking for a partner who shares your values, ambitions, and vision is best.
4. Think about the language
How are you going to communicate with your new market? You can try and do business in certain countries and find they want you to speak your native language. Even more, reason to find a partner in that territory, but ultimately, we recommend you are open-minded about how you communicate.
5 Remember the money
It probably feels obvious, but making sure you can afford this is imperative. This needs to be considered in your financial plan and cash flow forecasting to ensure that your current business doesn’t suffer because of your expansion.
There are a lot of questions to ask; where do you make the sale? Where do you incur the tax? How do you handle payments and cash flow?
Additionally, doing business internationally was easier prior to Brexit. It is now anything but simply due to the cost of fulfilment. The Cost of transport and containers reached all time-highs during the pandemic.
This isn’t a reason not to do business internationally, quite the contrary, we would encourage you to ensure you have considered every financial risk involved. Why not look for some advice from the Chambers of Commerce or the Department of Trade and Industry?
6. Don't forget the basics
Amid the additional considerations in an international business strategy, remember that the basic rules of business still apply. Don’t let the quality of your product or service slip through the net, and still focus on how to build your customer loyalty so your business can go from strength to strength in its newest home.
An international business strategy example: the experience of a TAB member
Phil Melling of LODE Group has sat on a TAB advisory board for almost two years with his facilitator, David Abbott. LODE’s core business is providing textile products to commercial and industrial customers in the UK and in the US. About eight years ago, Phil decided to take his growing business international because, as he said, “any diversification is a good thing. It gives your business more resilience so you’re not reliant on one or two clients.”
When it came to going overseas, Phil's biggest challenge was getting his head around all the paperwork to do with exports, insurance, and taxes. He used many of his contacts' expertise to overcome this challenge.
His top tip for anyone thinking of developing an international business strategy was, ‘first, make sure to engage customers and know what they want. Also, don’t forget to cover the basics of delivery, import duties and logistics before going any further.” Phil then emphasised that his TAB business coach, David, has been a “great sounding board for our overseas operations.”
Read more about Phil and LODE Group in this article.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to doing business internationally. Your strategy will be unique to your business, and it should be. If done properly, international markets could be the key to your business’ growth and take it to levels you could never have imagined. There is just a lot to consider beforehand.
We work with many business owners who are expanding overseas up and down the UK. The impartial advice they get from sitting around our advisory boards has been invaluable for them. Not only that but that support has been complemented by the expertise of their TAB business coaches. Could we help you perfect your international business strategy?
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How to Develop an International Business Strategy
International expansion is the next step for many businesses looking to grow and are in the position to do so. Global markets offer new opportunities for increased customer retention, new distribution channels and improved worldwide brand recognition.
However, it’s difficult to know where to begin with this exciting and important decision. To help you develop an international business strategy, explore our recommended steps below.
Research Your Market
Decide on what you’re bringing to the market, set your goals, make a note of any competition, develop the finer points of your strategy, evaluate your infrastructure, create a system for distribution.
- Consider a Partner or Consultant
Your organization should already have some idea of the location it would like to expand into. This has possibly come from discovering market potential related to the location or you've found a market need you can capitalize on.
If not, consider several markets. There are many options for market research available to you. For example, the International Trade Administration has developed a resource known as the Country Commercial Guides . This is a valuable resource for analyzing market opportunities and conditions around the world.
Seek out multiple sources of information, but also realize remote research is never enough. If you can, attend trade shows in those target markets for research purposes. This also allows you to make local contacts and get to grips with the local culture a little better. This kind of bespoke understanding will allow your organization to further develop its product offering within that market.
Finally, don’t neglect to research the local regulatory environment. It's crucial and will ensure a greater chance of continued success later in your expansion process.
Decide on what your business is selling and determine what makes your company worth buying from. Does your product or service stand out? Is your business model easily distinguishable from similar ventures?
Determine which of your products or services fit well within the new market. If you only have one product, this is a very simple step. But if you have many, you need to decide which ones fit the market's needs. Also, do those products fit the culture as well? Having this knowledge beforehand will help your chances of success.
Now your organization has decided on a product or service and you’ve researched your market, you can use these to begin setting your goals. What do you want to achieve? How many products do you want to sell over a specific period? Your goals must be incredibly specific as they'll be the framework to chart your growth by. For example, you could aim for:
- A specific market share.
- Sales numbers.
- Greater profitability.
- Improved cost-efficiency.
- Customer retention and growth.
Develop sales goals for year one, year two and so on. Also, consider the time it takes to get to market and the time to meet your first few goals. You also need to calculate when you’ll hopefully see a return on your investment.
Local competitions can make or break your expansion process. Without thorough research, you’ll fly blind through unfamiliar territory. Competition lets you see what works within a market and then improve upon it.
Researching competition is also one of the best ways of understanding a market because the business models and offerings of healthy competition help to define a market or industry.
Consider any marketing campaigns that will be run side-by-side. Similarly, also plan for the following:
- Whether you'll hire overseas or expatriating current employees.
- Establishing either a physical presence or another type of expansion option, such as an in-country partnership (ICP) or a merger or acquisition.
- Any financial regulations that apply to the market in question.
- How you'll manage your employees overseas.
Think about your branding as well. Will your organization want to keep it consistent or change it to fit within specific markets that may have distinct cultural differences?
A key part of developing an international business strategy is to audit your business capabilities at this moment in time. First of all, determine how financially viable an expansion is for you right now.
If you’re pursuing an international expansion strategy in-house, create a team ready and willing to carry the strategy through to fruition. This group needs the skills and collaborative experience to support the process fully. On top of this, determine your failsafe plans. If something goes wrong, do you have an exit strategy or a way of mitigating financial risk?
Finally, when evaluating infrastructure, analyze how effective your business technology is and whether it will hinder your expansion process. Many issues could cause this, such as limited real-time data, lack of visibility or siloed software systems unable to talk to one another.
The absence of an innovative digital structure can slow an expansion process down or stop it altogether.
How will your business distribute its products or services within the new market? This could come under the remit of franchising or licensing arrangements, but those aren’t the only methods. You could also sell through in-country distributors or simply through an e-commerce website.
You could even sell your intellectual property (IP) rights to another business. Each of these comes with its own regulatory guidelines, so you’ll need to further research what will apply as each method comes with advantages and disadvantages.
Consider A Partner or Consultant
When pursuing international expansion, it’s always wise to consider working with a global expansion consultancy or a Global Professional Employer Organization (PEO). These experts help to ease the stress of global expansion, ensuring compliance and enhancing your regulatory knowledge of a market or locale.
Not only that, but they can also help you to make the most of global talent acquisition and manage your HR processes, freeing up your team for more business-critical tasks. For example, here at Global Expansion, we can get your business set up in no less than 140 countries around the world within days.
They’ll take care of all your HR-related tasks involved in your business strategy, ranging from finding and screening the most talented employees to managing payroll in one centralized platform.
We realize global expansion is an important thing to get right and this blog only covers one aspect of the process. If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at expansion, read on to discover what our latest helpful guide can offer.
Discover More Expansion Considerations
Our latest guide is a fantastic starting resource for businesses of all types. Inside, you’ll find the various methods of growth, the differences between national and international expansion as well as how to mitigate risk within bringing your business into a new environment.
Plus, there's much more that will guarantee you a good foundation of knowledge for beginning your expansion process. Not only compliantly but also successfully.
Click the link below for your copy.
Top 4 Challenges of International Expansion
What Is the Importance of Mergers and Acquisitions in Conducting International Business?
What, Why and How: All About Professional Employment Organizations
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Craft Your International Business Plan: A How-To Guide
Are you ready to take your business across borders? International expansion is a great way for businesses to grow and succeed in new markets. But before you dive into an international market, there are specific steps you need to consider: crafting a strategic plan. Whether it’s determining the competitive landscape of a target country or understanding local customs and regulations, an effective international business plan can lay the foundation for long-term success while also providing guidance on how best to allocate resources and manage risks. But where should one begin? Let’s dive into it!
Analyze Potential Markets
In today’s global market, expanding your business into new markets can open up a world of opportunities for ecommerce revenue growth. To get ecommerce revenue from new markets , the first step is to analyze potential markets. This involves conducting market research to identify which countries or regions hold the greatest potential for your business. You can start by looking at demographic data, economic trends, and consumer behavior in different parts of the world.
Of course, you should also delve into the market-specific data. Analyzing the competitive landscape and potential barriers to entry is sure to determine which markets are most viable for your business. Additionally, understanding cultural differences and local customs can give you insight into how your product or service may be received in a new market. Businesses can now expand their reach and increase their revenue streams in ways they never thought possible.
Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Once you have identified potential markets, it’s time to set clear goals and objectives for your international expansion. These goals should align with your overall business strategy and take into account the resources needed to enter a new market successfully.
Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate more revenue, or establish partnerships in a particular region? Or maybe you want to expand into a new market to diversify your customer base and reduce risk. Whatever the reason may be, setting clear and measurable goals can guide your decision-making process and ensure that your international business plan is aligned with your long-term vision.
Develop A Robust Strategy
With potential markets and goals in mind, you need to develop a robust strategy for entering the international market. But how do you know which strategy will work best for your business?
Direct exporting involves selling your products or services directly into the international market. This approach can be a low-cost way to test the waters and gain valuable information about overseas markets without the commitment of setting up a physical presence. However, it does require careful planning and research. Consider your product’s suitability for the market, the logistics of shipping and delivery, legal and regulatory requirements, and how you’ll handle customer service.
Licensing and Franchising
If you prefer a more hands-off approach, licensing and franchising can be viable options. Licensing involves granting another company the rights to use your intellectual property, such as trademarks or patents, in exchange for royalties or fees. Franchising is similar but typically involves a more comprehensive arrangement where the franchisee follows your established business model and brand guidelines.
Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances
Collaborating with a local business through joint ventures or strategic alliances can also be an effective way to enter a new market. This approach allows you to benefit from the other company’s expertise and established networks while sharing the risks and costs associated with entering a new market.
Mergers and Acquisitions
For businesses looking to make a big splash in the international market, mergers and acquisitions can provide a quick way to gain market share, access new technologies or products, and expand your customer base. These transactions require significant financial resources and due diligence to ensure compatibility and avoid potential risks.
Identify The Resources You Need
No matter which strategy you choose, entering the international market requires a significant investment of time, money, and resources. It’s essential to identify what you need to make your international expansion a success.
Consider the staffing and expertise needed to manage operations in a different country. Will you need to hire local employees? If so, do you understand labor laws and cultural norms for managing a workforce in that country? Will you need to partner with local vendors or suppliers? How will you handle language barriers and cultural differences? It’s also crucial to assess your financial resources and determine how much capital you’ll need for market research, legal expenses, marketing efforts, and other related costs. Secure funding or explore financing options early on to avoid delays in your expansion plans.
Consider Different Countries or Regions
As businesses expand globally, you must first understand the unique culture, customs, and laws of different countries or regions to effectively reach and connect with their target audience. For example, did you know that in Japan, it’s considered impolite to loudly slurp noodles? Or that in China, the color red symbolizes good luck and happiness? Or that in Germany, punctuality is highly valued?
When you consider the cultural nuances and preferences of your target market, you can tailor your marketing strategies, product offerings, and overall business approach to resonate with local consumers. This can go a long way in building trust and brand loyalty in the global marketplace.
Decide How You Will Marke Yourself Abroad
Now that you have a clear understanding of your target market and their cultural preferences, it’s time to decide how you will promote and market your business abroad. This can include tactics such as translating your website and marketing materials into the local language, partnering with local influencers or businesses, and utilizing social media platforms popular in that region.
Even consider any legal or regulatory requirements for advertising and marketing in the target market. In certain countries, there may be restrictions on certain types of advertising or requirements for labeling and packaging. Other countries may have specific rules for online advertising and data collection.
Venturing into the international arena can be a game-changer for your business, opening up new avenues of growth and diversification. The journey, however, is paved with its unique set of challenges and complexities.
A strategically crafted international business plan acts as the compass guiding you toward success. It entails rigorous market analysis, clear goal-setting, robust strategic development, resource identification, cultural understanding, and effective marketing. Such a plan ensures that your business meets the needs and expectations of your new customers, stands tall amidst global competition, and reaps the rewards of global expansion. Get ready to embrace an exciting journey filled with opportunities, learning, and growth. Now that you have a step-by-step guide in hand, the world is truly your oyster!
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How to Implement a Global Business Plan
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Formulate and implement an international business plan that defines your business objectives and how you intend to achieve them. Clearly state the nature of your business, geographic areas of operation and potential return on investment for each area. Your plan should also assess the global economic outlook in your industry.
Establish the financial requirements for your global business. Categorize the information by region (Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa) or by country.
Define your product or service. Provide details about product production and packaging. Specify the people, processes and technology used in creation. List details about product variations in different countries, if applicable.
Identify the customer target market in each country or region. Specify differentiating criteria so that your product or service can be viewed as a viable alternative to current solutions available in those areas.
Provide details in your business plan about your expertise in handling global business operations. List any advanced degrees or personal international business experience possessed by employees.
List all the required licenses, permits and other legal or regulatory statutes you must comply with to conduct business in each region or country where you intend to conduct business.
Locate a place to run your business and ensure the facilities provide enough space and amenities (such as electricity and water) to accommodate your current plans as well as provide room for expansion in the short and long term.
Budget for operations in each global location. Include fixed costs such as a factory location, equipment and raw materials. Specify variable expenses such as sales, marketing and advertising costs. Calculate the loans you need and list the lending agencies available to you in each region or country. Factor in interest you need to pay too.
Set prices for your products and services to cover expenses, earn a profit over time and become competitive in each country or region where you intended to do business. Track competitor's prices and sales to determine where your business ranks in each location.
Assess whether each region or country has the number of skilled employees you need to run your business in those places. Recruiting, interviewing and hiring global teams require planning and coordination. Consider implementing cross-cultural communication programs to prepare global teams to work well together.
Establish a supplier network to ensure that your product orders can be processed, handled and shipped in each location. Use websites like the U.S. Commercial Service to find new international business partners.
Evaluate local conditions--local culture and customs and political climate--and any other elements that could impact or disrupt your operations.
Ensure your sales strategy, promotional incentives and market practices comply with local regulations in worldwide markets.
- Free Management Library: Business Planning
- "International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace"; Charles W. L. Hill; 2008
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.
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7 steps to create your international business plan
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to go global . Now how do you get started?
First, determine your company’s export readiness by taking this nine question quiz created by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The website calculates your readiness score and provides additional resource links to help overcome any corporate weaknesses.
Next, develop a plan. Stanley Pfrang, Market Development Director – India, the Middle East and Africa, WEDC , and Jen Pino-Gallagher, Bureau Director, International Market Development, DATCP , shared a seven step plan at a program I recently attended.
- Proactively develop a plan. Some companies reactively dive into the international market after receiving a product or service inquiry from overseas. A better strategy is to first think through planning steps two-seven to help avoid costly missteps.
- Conduct market research. Is there a need or demand for your product or service? Is market expansion feasible? Who are your competitors? What financial and legal paperwork is required? Do your current customers also operate in global markets? If so, what can you learn from them about opportunities and potential pitfalls?
- Entering new markets. Who can help you distribute your product? Do you need storage space? Will you need a manufacturing partner located in your target destination?
- Logistics. How important is your delivery speed? The decision will help you select transportation carriers and/or delivery routes.
- Payments. Determine what currency you will accept. Will you sell in U.S. dollars and/or foreign currency? Will you offer a discount if payment is received in U.S. dollars? Will you accept letters of credit? Will you require a down payment before production begins on goods or services?
- Visit the market before entering it. How do your competitors operate? How will your customers use your products or services as compared to those of your competitor? Trade shows are a good, inexpensive resource to help you see market potentials and downsides.
- Resources. Explore state and federal government online resources. Join an industry association knowledgeable about international trade. Talk to customers and maybe even competitors to learn from their mistakes and wise decisions.
After sharing the seven step plan, Pfrang, Pino-Gallagher and other program panelists offered additional tips.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about companies interested in your product. How long have they been in business? Obtain customer and vendor references. A face-to-face meeting to establish a relationship before doing business is best and can be done using Skype or a similar internet connection if necessary.
When seeking a trade consultant, hire a native of the foreign market you wish to enter because she will better understand the market needs and difficulties. At a minimum, hire someone with English as his second language.
Never automatically dismiss a lead that comes your way. Always explore the possibilities. It may lead to big things.
Be ruthlessly conservative in planning when internally strategizing your approach to new markets and opportunities that arise. Remember to include the impact on staff resources, time zone differences and product distribution methods.
Read Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands , a book that provides insights into business culture and customs in many different international markets. Lastly, always remember the primary goal of marketing.
So now it’s your turn to share advice. What resources do you use? What wisdom have you developed through experience? I’d love to hear from you. You can leave your comments below or you can reach out to us on Twitter and Facebook .
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One Response to 7 steps to create your international business plan
I run a small time web business in the evening, and have been operating globally for over a decade. If you have any type of web presence for your product, you quickly find yourself doing global sales on a small scale in terms of units – i.e. single items – though not necessarily on a small scale in terms of income- about 30% of my sales are out of country -that is where my strongest customers are (and oddly in the countries with universal health care and some of the highest tax rates). Many local banks are not set up to handle those type of transactions economically so I use various on line payment systems. You lose 3-4% but it is a lot simpler than any other option. I learned this the hard way when my community bank took 4 months to finalize a simple overseas bank transfer from the Philippines. For screening customers I am basically linked to other people working in the same type of business. We share mainly which customers to avoid, scammers and the like. Likewise I have come to learn a lot about what countries to ship to an which to avoid as well as the various headaches of different import customs and other processes. It can be a tricky process but a lot of local small businesses are doing it . In terms of language barriers – if you are not dealing with English speaking customers there are various free translation services on line – In todays world though you need these markets – Wisconsin is the weakest state I have for sales and overseas is by far the most profitable.
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How to draw up an international business plan
Nick Farmer – International Tax Specialist
Many businesses have heard about the benefits of trading internationally, but haven’t yet taken the plunge. Others may have started on this journey, but are still trying to figure out how to improve their international experience.
To make a success of international trade, it is important to approach it as a separate part of your business and draw up a specific international business plan.
So how do you put together a clear plan that will help you realise your international ambition?
The easiest way to start is to map out your plan into the following key segments: reasons, research, resources, relationships and review.
Steps to create a global business plan
Step 1 – reasons for going global.
To start with it is important to define your reasons for wanting to trade internationally. It could be the perfect next step, but just because someone says it would be a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for your business. So really challenge yourself to understand why you are taking your business down this path. Here are a few reasons that often arise:
- Spread the customer base;
- Reduce dependency on home economy;
- Next stage of business development;
- Helps the business innovate and remain competitive;
- Increases status of the business;
- Fulfils personal ambition
Taking time to deliberate on your reasons and being able to articulate them will give you a greater sense of purpose and help you galvanise the team around you.
How to go global in the tech sector
Step 2 – research the market.
Once you have determined that trading internationally is right for your business, then it’s time to start doing your research.
Firstly, there is now a considerable amount of data available from behind your desk. From spending time undertaking this research you are trying to find answers to questions such as:
- What markets are right for your products or services?
- What’s the competition like and are there gaps in the market?
- How easy is it to do business in the target market?
- What changes need to be made to the product; branding, colours, name etc?
- How do you comply with local regulations?
- What documentation and translations will be required?
At the same time as researching the market, you will need to think through what operating model is going to be suitable for your business in each of your target markets. Will you be looking to sell directly from the UK, or instead use in-country agents or distributors. Maybe your product can be licensed to a local business, or franchising arrangements will work for you. If you are prepared to make more of a commitment then it could be worthwhile looking for a local joint venture partner, or even set up your own operations in the local market.
Once you have exhausted the desk based research, it’s then important to carry out some in-country research to really get a feel for your audience and the opportunities that exist. It may be possible to join a trade delegation, and these can often be a good way to get introductions, but only if the visit is particularly relevant to your sector. Alternatively you might sign up for a trade show, or contact potential customers from online marketplaces, before you leave and put together an itinerary for your visit. Part of the reason for your visit will of course be to better understand the local customs and culture and to make sure you go into the market with your eyes open.
Step 3 – Resources
Whilst it is crucial to do your market research, it’s also vital that you clearly analyse the resources that are available to you to make sure you have the capacity to accommodate the desired international activity within your business. Carrying out a health check on the existing business will help you determine if you have the capability and resources to make international a successful part of your business. This will include:
Do you and your team have the time and capacity to devote to international trade or do you need to recruit appropriate expertise?
Who is going to be involved in managing the process and making sure control procedures are in place?
What employee involvement will be necessary, and will any movement of staff or local hires be required?
What funding is going to be required to support the initiative and what is the payback on this?
What language skills will you need and are these available to you?
Is your website set up for international trade or does it need to be ‘internationalised’?
Step 4 – Relationships
There’s no doubt that trading internationally could be rewarding for your business, but to be successful it is certain that you are going to need to get some outside support. There’s a whole community of businesses set up to support international traders and understanding who is who, and getting the right people behind your business, is all part of the key to success. Collaboration partners would include:
Providing commercial support and making sense of the numbers involved, as well as sourcing local advice from overseas network partners.
Tax will play its part in any cross border transaction, so it will be important to understand the implications before it’s too late, such as VAT, Customs Duties and Withholding taxes.
Trading outside your home market will require specific insurance, and you may wish to have credit insurance to protect against non-payment.
Where your activities involve the movement of people, there may be local visa requirements that need to be fulfilled.
There will be legal paperwork involved, such as contracts, commercial agreements and invoices, as well as the labelling and need to protect your intellectual property.
To help you transport and distribute your product and ensure you have the right export documentation.
If additional finance is required you will need to explore the alternatives and find out what export finance is available to you.
Trading internationally will usually involve foreign exchange exposure and the need for specialist FX support.
Drawing up an international business plan is only the start, and this will need to be kept constantly under review so that you are able to assess the benefits for your business. Key to this process will be the data that you collect, as this will enable you to determine the profit that you are actually making from your international activities. Making sure that your accounting system is correctly configured to provide you with this information, and that there is a regular review process (monthly, quarterly) including comparison between budget and actual, is part of the process of going international.
born to be global
How to create an international business plan.
If you’re looking to expand your business globally, creating an international business plan is crucial. A well-crafted plan can help you identify the market opportunities, assess the risks, and devise a strategy for success. In this blog post, I’ll take you through the steps involved in creating an international business plan along with some tips and advice to help you get started. I’ll also cover common mistakes and provide a sample of a basic business plan you can use as a template.
Step 1: Conduct Market Research
The first step in creating an international business plan is to conduct thorough market research . This will help you identify the target market, understand the competition, and assess the demand for your products or services. Some key areas to focus on during your research include:
- Market Size: Determine the size of the market you are targeting and the potential for growth in the future.
- Market Trends: Identify the current trends and consumer behavior in the target market.
- Competition: Analyze the competition in the market and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
- Cultural Differences: Understand the cultural differences and how they may impact your business.
- Legal and Regulatory Framework: Research the legal and regulatory framework in the target market to ensure compliance with local laws.
Step 2: Develop a Business Plan
Once you have conducted your market research, it’s time to develop your international business plan. This plan should include the following key elements:
- Executive Summary: This should provide a brief overview of your business, its objectives, and the target market.
- Company Overview: This section should provide a detailed description of your company, its products or services, and the unique selling proposition.
- Market Analysis: This section should provide a detailed analysis of the target market, including the size, growth potential, competition, and cultural differences.
- Marketing and Sales Strategy: This section should outline your marketing and sales strategy for the target market, including pricing, distribution, and promotional activities, tied to your overall international strategy .
- Operations Plan: This section should outline the operational requirements for your business, including production, logistics, and distribution.
- Financial Plan: This section should include financial projections for your business, including revenue, expenses, and cash flow. If you require any localization marketing or transcreation services to be successful, be sure to budget for it.
Step 3: Create a Risk Management Plan
Expanding your business globally comes with inherent risks, including currency fluctuations, political instability, and legal and regulatory risks. It’s important to create a risk management plan that identifies potential risks and outlines strategies to mitigate them. Some key areas to focus on include:
- Currency Risk: Develop strategies to hedge against currency fluctuations and protect your business from exchange rate volatility.
- Political Risk: Assess the political stability in the target market and identify potential risks to your business.
- Legal and Regulatory Risk: Ensure compliance with local laws and regulations and identify potential legal risks.
Step 4: Develop a Human Resource Strategy
Expanding your business globally requires a talented and dedicated workforce. It’s important to develop a human resource strategy that identifies the skills and expertise required for success and outlines a plan for recruitment, training, and retention. Some key areas to focus on include:
- Recruitment: Develop a recruitment plan that targets the right candidates with the skills and experience required for success in the target market, especially for any key revenue-generating roles, such as sales and marketing leader hires.
- Training and Development: Develop a training and development plan to ensure your workforce has the skills and expertise required for success.
- Retention: Develop a retention plan to keep your employees engaged and motivated.
Step 5: Execute Your Plan
Once you have developed your international business plan, it’s time to execute. This involves implementing your marketing and sales strategy, building relationships with local partners and suppliers, and establishing a local presence. Some key areas to focus on include:
- Marketing and Sales: Implement your marketing and sales strategy, including pricing, distribution, and promotional activities.
- Partnerships and Relationships: Build relationships with local partners and suppliers to establish a strong local presence.
- Local Presence: Establish a local presence in the target market, leveraging localization and transcreation if needed.
Common Mistakes When Creating an International Business Plan
While creating an international business plan, there are several common mistakes that people make, which can hinder their success in expanding their business globally. Some of these mistakes include:
- Lack of Cultural Understanding : One of the most common mistakes is failing to understand the cultural differences in the target market. It’s essential to conduct thorough research and understand the cultural nuances of the target market to ensure that your business can adapt to local customs and practices.
- Insufficient Market Research : Many people rush into international expansion without conducting thorough market research. This can lead to incorrect assumptions about the market and a lack of understanding of the competition, consumer behavior, and market trends.
- Over-Reliance on Domestic Success : Another common mistake is assuming that your domestic success will translate to international success. This can lead to a lack of adaptation to local market conditions and consumer preferences.
- Underestimating Regulatory Compliance : Failing to comply with local laws and regulations can result in significant financial and legal consequences. It’s important to conduct thorough research and understand the legal and regulatory requirements in the target market.
- Lack of Risk Management Plan : Expanding internationally comes with inherent risks, including currency fluctuations, political instability, and legal and regulatory risks. It’s crucial to create a risk management plan that identifies potential risks and outlines strategies to mitigate them.
- Poor Human Resource Planning : Expanding internationally requires a talented and dedicated workforce. Failing to develop a human resource strategy that targets the right candidates with the required skills and expertise can hinder the success of your international expansion.
- Insufficient Financial Planning : Failing to create a realistic financial plan that includes revenue, expenses, and cash flow projections can lead to financial instability and hinder the success of your international expansion.
In summary, by avoiding these common mistakes and taking a comprehensive approach to international business planning, you can significantly increase your chances of success in expanding your business globally.
Example of an International Business Plan
Here’s an example of an international business plan for a hypothetical company that is looking to expand into the European market:
Executive Summary: Our company, XYZ Inc., is a successful manufacturer of high-end electronics in the United States. We are looking to expand our business into the European market and establish a strong presence in the region. Our objective is to become a market leader in the European market and achieve significant revenue growth over the next five years.
Company Overview: XYZ Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high-end electronics in the United States. Our products include laptops, smartphones, tablets, and accessories. We have a reputation for producing high-quality, innovative products that cater to the needs of discerning customers. Our unique selling proposition is our focus on design and user experience.
Market Analysis: The European market for high-end electronics is large and growing. According to industry reports, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.6% over the next five years. The competition in the market is intense, with established players such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei dominating the market. However, there is significant demand for innovative products that cater to the needs of the European consumer.
Marketing and Sales Strategy: Our marketing and sales strategy will focus on building a strong brand presence in the European market. We will use a combination of online and offline marketing channels to reach our target audience, including social media, email marketing, and targeted advertising. Our pricing strategy will be competitive, but we will position ourselves as a premium brand that offers superior design and user experience. We will establish partnerships with local distributors and retailers to ensure broad distribution and maximize sales.
Operations Plan: To establish a strong presence in the European market, we will set up a local manufacturing facility in the region. This will allow us to produce our products locally and ensure quick delivery to customers. We will also establish a local sales and marketing team to manage our operations in the region.
Financial Plan: Our financial plan projects significant revenue growth over the next five years. We anticipate revenue of €50 million in the first year of operations, growing to €150 million by the end of the fifth year. Our expenses will include the cost of establishing a local manufacturing facility, marketing and sales expenses, and operational costs. We anticipate profitability by the end of the third year of operations.
Risk Management Plan: We recognize that expanding into the European market comes with inherent risks, including currency fluctuations, regulatory risks, and political instability. To mitigate these risks, we will develop a risk management plan that includes strategies to hedge against currency fluctuations, comply with local regulations, and adapt to political instability.
Human Resource Strategy: Our human resource strategy will focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent in the industry. We will offer competitive salaries and benefits packages and provide training and development opportunities to ensure that our workforce has the skills and expertise required for success in the European market.
In conclusion, our international business plan outlines a comprehensive strategy for expanding our business into the European market. By conducting thorough market research, developing a strong marketing and sales strategy, and establishing a local manufacturing facility, we are confident that we can achieve our objective of becoming a market leader in the region.
I hope this helps you understand what a typical international business plan looks like, what the common challenges are to creating one, and the steps you’ll need to take.
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5 Must-Haves Every International Business Expansion Plan Should Have
In a globalised world, growing your home-based business by tapping into new markets is easier than ever—at least in theory. Developing an international business expansion plan can be a transformative experience for any organisation. After establishing a successful company right at home, stepping out of your comfort zone and expanding to new markets is often critical to a company’s overall growth strategy.
But understanding how to grow your business offers several challenges. Most CEOs will focus on the usual regulations, tax restrictions, distribution, and licensing issues. But language is often one of the greatest barriers when thinking about how to make your business grow .
So, does your company have what it takes to go global? Here’re a few things to consider.
1. Conduct International Market Research
Attempting to go global without conducting thorough international market research can be a huge waste of time and money. Why? Simply because the reasons behind your organisation’s international business expansion plan must be thoroughly vetted and thought out. For this, conducting international market research is key. Be it by contracting the services of a research company or performing it on your own with tools like Google Trends . Market research will allow you to gauge the interest these new markets harbour towards the goods or services you offer. In turn, this analysis will let you know when the time is ripe to kickstart your international business expansion plan.
#OptimationalTip: If hiring a company to conduct international market research is beyond your budget, leveraging tools like Google Trends or Ubersuggest will let you search interest trends in keywords broken down by location.
2. Translate for Countries, Not Languages With Localisation Services
It’d be naive to think that simply translating your content to a different, widely used language is all it takes to expand to new markets. Take Spanish, for example, and the different nuances it displays between Spain and Latin America.
Translating and localising aren’t the same thing . Focusing on localisation will mean not just adapting content but also your overall marketing strategy, price points, checkout, and payment options, and even date formats and writing tone. Studies show that customer experience became the key brand differentiator, overtaking price and product. With this in mind, the first step to providing an excellent customer experience is to communicate with your customers (and prospects) in a manner tailored to their tastes and customs—from language to everything else.
3. Optimise for Google: Translation and SEO
One of the key ways to reach a new audience is by making sure your brand is easily found on Google—or any other search engine that’s popular in the new market you’re stepping into. This means paying close attention to your SEO results.
SEO results depend on several factors, some of which are easier to improve than others. Aside from the technical side of a website, one of the key things to improve your SEO performance is making sure your content is relevant to your audience. This means creating quality content that your readers will find useful and catch their eyes. Also, using the right keywords guarantees that when someone searches for a specific topic on a search engine, your content pops up.
In Short: Leverage tools like Ubersuggest to find the short and long-tailed key terms and phrases that work best for your business in your new market. Next, remember to localise the rest of your content according to multilingual SEO best practices as well.
#OptimationalTip: Creating multilingual content and using each region’s appropriate keywords for that topic will make your content rank higher. Also, as people look for something, find and read your content, the search engine’s algorithm will consider it more valuable.
4. Create a Seamless eCommerce Experience
Is there anyone among the readers of this article who hasn’t had at least one online shopping experience (either to buy or to sell)? We bet not. And as the eCommerce experience is only increasing, paving the way for users makes more than just sense. In other words, making your products easily and readily available in a way that’s understandable by your end-user is key.
Studies show that people are keener to buy a product in their original language. This highlights the importance of translating your eCommerce experience—from welcome messages to after-purchase emails and manuals. Also, being able to access the purchase experience in their original language is a great way to improve customer experience. This is something that over 86% of customers say are willing to pay extra for .
#OptimationalTip: During a purchase, forcing your potential customers to go through the content in a foreign language—or bad copy due to poor translation—can mean losing the sale entirely. Boost your chances of success by ensuring a properly written online experience in their native language.
5. Leverage the Power of Videos Through Professional Subtitles
Creating content through videos is a great way for businesses to keep their audience engaged and build trust. However, failing to add professional subtitles in different languages to your video can mean losing the opportunity to engage with a broader audience. While, ideally, companies would create a localised video for each different target audience, certain content (like explainer videos or user manual videos) can be easily reused simply by adding language-relevant professional subtitles.
According to research findings, 73% of customers say they are more likely to purchase if they can watch a video explaining the product or service. Investing in localisation services such as professional subtitles can enable companies to significantly increase conversion rates.
Final Thoughts on Creating an International Business Expansion Plan
Global expansion has undeniably become the ultimate organisational goal. To assert industry leader status, organisations must penetrate international borders, attract new target audiences, and significantly boost ROI.
To bridge the language barrier, companies need a proactive localisation services partner to increase their speed to market, ensure compliance with local conventions, and communicate as effectively as their local market competitors.
If you’re looking to expand into new markets, contact us today. We can help you find out the impact that language solutions can have on your business.
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International Business Plan Structure
Is your business missing the opportunities in the international markets? Are you struggling with where to start your international expansion and how to go about it?
International Business Plan outlines corporate goals and steps towards foreign markets entry. It is also called the Export Business Plan . At Win Global, we apply a 3-step approach to your international expansion.
Step 1: Building a Solid Foundation for International Business Plan
During this phase we determine the readiness of your business to the international expansion and help you to build four pillars of the successful international expansion:
- Selection of the product, service or solution to expand internationally
- Defining global value proposition for the selected product, service or solution
- Profiling ideal buyers or distributors of the product, service or solution
- Target market selection
Step 2: Analytical Phase of International Business Plan
This is a very important stage of the preparatory period for entering the international markets. It summarizes all the information collected from foreign market research and risk assessment. Based on obtained information a company checks the feasibility of continuing international business planning and makes a first go-or-not-to-go decision.
Step 3: Planning Phase of International Business Plan
This is the final stage when we put together a foreign market entry plan for our clients and consider all steps that must be taken in order to succeed in international business. The typical content of International Business Plan is:
- Executive Summary of International Business Plan
- Corporate Global Vision and Goals
- Four Pillars of the International Business Expansion
- Foreign Market Research Summary
- Risk Assessment
- International Business Strategy At this stage, we identify the best strategy that will help our client to enter each particular foreign market of interest. The examples of international business strategies are exporting, licensing (franchising), joint venture, foreign direct investments, etc.
- International Business Action Plan Based on an International Marketing Plan and the project approach International Business Action Plan contains activities, milestones, estimations, resources, performance measurement and evaluation criteria.
- Cost and Benefit Estimate .
Contact us now to schedule a free and no-obligation discussion about your issues in international expansion and determine if we can help you. Fill out the contact form now .
International Business Strategy: Explanation and Examples
As organizations grow, they expand their footprint in different locations and countries. They can enter the market independently or through partnerships. This is where international business strategies come into play and help businesses grow further.
Igor Ansoff was a business manager and mathematician who introduced this strategy as a separate study area through his book “Corporate Strategy,” published in the 1960s.
What is an International Business Strategy?
An international business strategy is an important approach that businesses around the globe undertake to expand internationally. It is a strategic plan that includes essential points about commercial transactions worldwide.
Different countries have different regulations and guidelines, and this strategy helps businesses increase profit in different regions by adapting to each area’s functioning.
An international business strategy covers linguistic barriers, cultural barriers, legal systems, international trade regulations, political barriers, etc.
Four Most Common International Business Strategies
#1 – International Strategy
An international strategy is the basic business strategy that any company willing to expand overseas undertakes. It focuses on an individual point of operation like exporting products and services to different countries or importing products and services from other countries.
This strategy is the easiest and most accessible out of the four, and it is the first choice for any company when they decide to expand to secondary markets globally. The strategy works as an addition to the business’s domestic strategy and expands on the same.
In most cases, the international strategy focuses on an export-oriented business mechanism as it allows businesses to increase sales, expand profits and create opportunities by capturing global markets. The export-driven strategy enables a company to grow faster in international markets and gain more recognition.
A famous example of a company using an international strategy is that of Red Bull. The Austrian company started small in 1987 when they worked as exporting manufacturers. Red Bull witnessed huge growth in their global marketing strategy when they gave out free Red Bull samples to athletes in the US, and their sales went up.
As of 2022, the company is present in 172 countries, covering almost every corner of the world, making around 7.8 billion euros as annual revenue.
Benefits of International Strategy
- It helps businesses test the global appeal of their services and products without huge investments or infrastructural/staffing costs
- The strategy enables companies to simplify their product portfolios based on which product does well globally and cut down on their SKUs
- It opens doors to new revenue potential and sales expansion
- It provides companies with easier access to talent across the globe
- Organizations get an opportunity to absorb new cultures and traditions worldwide, promoting diversity and inclusion
- It exposes companies to foreign direct investments and captures global market shares
- It also immediately helps the business to build a standardized, reputed, and recognizable brand worldwide
#2 – Multi-Domestic Strategy
A multi-domestic strategy is a dynamic strategy as it focuses on achieving the maximum local responsiveness of customers towards the brand through local customization and personalization of products.
Here, businesses tweak their marketing strategies based on the region they are operating in to match national conditions and sentiments. Since every country has different needs and perspectives, organizations incorporate a market strategy that fits the cultural and traditional requirements of the nation.
Businesses twist their taglines, messaging, products, packaging, and customer support based on the target market. This helps them create a localized product or service matching the customers’ preferences.
Businesses employing a multi-domestic strategy have a parent company in the home country. The vision of all subsidiaries in different countries remains the same; only the path to accomplishing the vision is as per local preferences.
Nestle is an example of a multi-domestic strategy. This Switzerland-based company started in 1866 when they only produced milk-based baby food. They introduced other products like milk chocolates, confectionaries, healthcare, and more a few years later.
Currently, Nestle is present in more than 186 countries, with over 2,000 different brands scattered in all regions.
To give an insight into Nestle’s product diversification, the company’s Indian subsidiary, Nestle India, manufactures products like Nestea, Maggi, and Milkybar, which come under the affordable confectionery category for Indian customers.
On the other hand, to cater to vegans, the company has acquired an Israeli firm called Garden Gourmet, which produces vegetarian food products for the UK market.
Benefits of Multi-Domestic Strategy
- It helps companies create a local product portfolio that can be scaled as per their performance
- It strengthens a company’s grounds in local markets more efficiently and quickly
- It decentralizes decisions to ease out operations
- It results in a more substantial local competitive advantage
- It leads to a solid customization mechanism for the business
- It provides businesses with the opportunity to benefit from the low labor costs, local shipping lines, and natural resources available in a particular area
- It helps businesses think outside the box and exploit their potential fully to cater to different regions in different ways
- It gives the company a creative edge over the existing similar products
#3 – Transnational Strategy
A transnational business strategy is a plan of action that focuses equally on global integration and local responsiveness by using almost the same core brand name, values, and product portfolio across international borders. Such businesses operate with a head office in the home country and subsidiaries in global markets.
The strategy helps the business create a solid brand name that reaches out to customers in different parts of the world and provides an effective and efficient center point for operations. In this strategy, companies can also optimize their products and services per local preferences while ensuring that the core brand voice does not get lost in transition.
Businesses employing transnational strategy can give more governance to some specific subsidiaries than others, as per the market conditions and share. The decision-making power lies in the hands of the local branches, making international functioning seamless.
The most popular brand employing a transnational strategy is McDonald’s, which has one of the biggest scalability models worldwide with over 36,000 fast food joints in over 100 countries. McDonald’s adapts the pricing and taste according to the location. However, their core value of selling delicious fast food at affordable pricing remains the same globally.
For example, the McDonald’s chains in India offer a variety of vegetarian food items as most of the Indian population is vegetarian. In contrast, countries like the US, the UAE, Australia, Canada, and others have various meat options and additional items on the menu.
Benefits of Transnational Strategy
- It helps in creating a recognizable, customizable, and accommodating brand across different countries
- As it focuses on local preferences too, it helps businesses connect directly with different cultures to capture market share
- It streamlines and centralizes all operations from a single head office
- It helps businesses make the best use of economies of scale
- It is a highly customer-centric strategy
- It prioritizes customized global standardization and hence is cost-effective
#4 – Global Strategy
A global strategy allows companies to have the maximum global integration with a plan of action that focuses on expanding into global markets.
All companies that employ this strategy aim to cut costs as much as possible, become efficient, and take advantage of economies of scale by offering almost the same product or service portfolio irrespective of the location. Only minor modifications are applied to fit the market, but the overall essence of the business and its offerings remain the same.
Standardization for packaging, product, colors, taglines, messaging, operations, and similar aspects ensure a single brand existence offering a single product portfolio carrying a single message from the parent company. This leads to building a scalable, repeatable, and low-cost process to carry out businesses in foreign markets and penetrating those markets quickly.
The most prominent example of a company employing a global strategy is Apple. The company has over 500 stores across 25 countries worldwide, though the product portfolio remains the same.
There are hardly any modifications that the company deploys based on local preferences. Anything launched in America is launched at all other locations. If Apple launches a new iPhone tomorrow in 4 different colors, they will launch the same phone in all 25 countries with the exact specifications and color variations.
Benefits of Global Strategy
- It makes use of economies of scale to the largest extent
- It helps businesses cut down on costs by not focusing on customizations and personalization
- It helps in streamlining the product development process as there is only a single product line
- Since there are only minimal modifications, the operating process is efficient and seamless
- It builds a specific yet solid brand across all locations
- It enhances the global brand recognition with a single line of product or service
- It allows the company to benefit from the emergence of new markets by raising revenue through higher sales from the same products/services
How to Develop an International Business Strategy in 3 Steps
#1 – realize long-term goals of the business & market competition .
To develop an international business strategy, the company must realize its long-term goals and then decide on expanding overseas.
Suppose the long-term goal of the business is to capture maximum global market share. In that case, an international business strategy focusing on customizing product/service lines per location might be feasible. However, a standardized international strategy is recommended if the company wishes to cut down on costs but boost revenue.
Additionally, understanding market competition and the existence of substitutes helps businesses make an informed decision on expansion strategy.
#2 – Understand the Spectrum Between Local Responsiveness and Global Integration
After identifying long-term goals, an organization must analyze the business’s standing on local responsiveness and global integration.
Local responsiveness is how strongly the company is willing to serve specific market needs through customization. Global integration refers to how much the brand focuses on standardizing its products or services as they scale.
The more locally responsive a business is, the more willing it is to change its products or services according to specific markets. The higher a business’s global integration, the higher its willingness to keep the product/service line unchanged.
#3 – Plan the International Organizational Structure and Assemble the Strategy Document
There is a shift in the organizational structure when a business enters international markets. Organizations plan how the parent company and subsidiaries will work along with the specific responsibilities of each division and employee to ensure seamless operations. This plan includes staffing processes, communication channels , barriers (if any), and similar operational needs.
Organizations prepare a written strategy document to outline everything about international expansion. This document mentions threats, opportunities, how the organization plans to achieve healthy global growth, necessary product modifications, and more.
Expanding to international markets brings a business opportunity, a high growth trajectory, and higher sales and revenue. In this era of bolstering globalization, where healthy trade relations are valuable and global presence is a must, it becomes essential for businesses to think and act globally. International business strategies help such companies expand beyond the home country and inflate their market distribution.
3 thoughts on “International Business Strategy: Explanation and Examples”
In this article， these sentences have some problem （A famous example of a company using an international strategy is that of Red Bull. The Australian company started small in 1987 when they worked as exporting manufacturers）.Red Bull is a company in Austria. Not an Australian company.
Thanks Zolin, for pointing out this error.
Surely it is a THAI company! Grating Deng na kap!
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5 International Business Examples to Learn From
- 29 Jun 2021
The term international business refers to any business that operates across international borders. At its most basic, it includes the sale of goods and services between countries.
Yet, other forms of international business do exist. For example, a business that produces components or products overseas but sells them domestically can be considered an international business, as can an organization that outsources services, such as customer service, to locations where labor expenses are cheaper.
For most organizations, decisions around building, producing, and selling products or services are informed by many factors. Cost is an important one because businesses that primarily operate in developed markets, like the United States and Europe, can often source cheaper labor abroad.
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Other factors play a role in decision-making, too. For example, an organization that makes a conscious effort to become more sustainable may produce its product as close as possible to the end user to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation, even if it might result in higher labor costs. Likewise, a business may take pride in sourcing local labor to create jobs and support the economy.
Although international business can benefit the global economy, it also carries inherent risks. The fact that each country has its own government, regulations, inflation rates, and currency can complicate business models and must be weighed against the perceived benefits of operating internationally. Some of the most common challenges of international businesses include language and cultural barriers, currency exchange rates, and foreign politics and policies.
What Is a Successful International Business?
International businesses must have resilient, adaptable, communicative, and resourceful employees who know when to seize expansion opportunities. They need to have a deep understanding of international economics to anticipate how global markets will affect their bottom line and international marketing to effectively communicate their organization’s value to diverse audiences.
Are you interested in working with an international organization? Do you have plans and aspirations to take your business international? Here’s a look at five well-known international businesses that have successfully—and not so successfully—navigated the global market.
Examples of International Businesses
Apple Inc., founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in the 1970s, is now considered one of the most influential international companies. Headquartered in the United States, Apple designs, develops, and sells electronics, software, streaming, and online services worldwide.
Apple opened its first international location in Tokyo, Japan, in 2003 after saturating the American market. Under Jobs, Apple touted ease-of-use, innovative design, and customer loyalty with the marketing slogan, “ Think Different ,” and it continues to use visionary strategic marketing and a tight ecosystem to overcome competition and attract creative audiences around the globe.
Apple not only sells products internationally but has supply chains from 43 countries that ship supplies to China for final production and assembly. By keeping a tight-knit and strong relationship with suppliers, strategic inventory, and a focus on sustainability, Apple stands as one of the world’s most successful companies.
2. Financial Times
The Financial Times is a formerly British daily newspaper that’s now owned by the Japanese holding company Nikkei. The Financial Times’ mission is to deliver unbiased, informed investment and economic information to empower individuals and companies to make secure investment decisions.
The Financial Times had a rocky start trying to break into the international market. Andrew Gilchrist, former managing director of the Financial Times , describes his experience at the publication in the online course Global Business .
During his tenure, the Financial Times prioritized entering the international market in India. Despite a large English-speaking population and strong government support, domestic journalism was considered culturally and legally suspect. In fact, the Financial Times was eventually tied up in legal knots because the local newspaper barons were able to challenge every move through the courts.
Eventually, the Financial Times’ attempt to go international in India led to an economic slowdown and sluggish company growth.
Two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald, converted their drive-through barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino, California, into a burger and milkshake restaurant—now known as McDonald’s—in 1948.
The McDonald brothers focused on creating a better business system geared toward self-service and efficient and repeatable processes that relied on heating lamps instead of waiters. This model, known as “ Speedee ,” led to lower costs, cheaper products, and faster growth. It became the epitome of “fast food.”
Soon after, Ray Croc took McDonald’s a step further by bringing in franchisees and suppliers, leading to the creation of restaurants across the United States. McDonald’s model continued to expand, and, in 1967, the company opened locations in Canada and Puerto Rico .
McDonald’s has been internationally successful, thanks in large part to the consistency its business model allows. The fact that a Big Mac tastes the same regardless of which country you order it in is a testament to the company’s long history. Today, there are 38,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries.
Coca-Cola was created by pharmacist John Pemberton in 1886 at a soda fountain in Atlanta, Georgia. It was used as a tonic for common ailments due, in part, to the addition of cocaine and caffeine derived from the kola nut, which was a major ingredient at the time. (This was later removed from the recipe in 1903.)
Although popular at its inception, Coca-Cola became the company it is today because of the marketing and business leadership of Asa Griggs Candler and future investors, who dramatically increased sales and expanded syrup factory production into Canada.
Eventually, an independent bottle company licensed the rights to Coca-Cola’s syrup production and distribution, streamlining production and generating massive profits. Coca-Cola later remarketed for Germany, China, and India, and it’s now sold everywhere except Cuba and North Korea .
Coca-Cola currently has over 900 bottling and manufacturing facilities worldwide , many of which are in North America, Asia, and Africa.
H-E-B is a popular American grocery company with more than 340 stores in Texas and northeast Mexico. It was founded by Florence Butt in 1905 and expanded into Mexico in 1997.
The primary driver of international expansion wasn’t a desire to capture greater market share, but rather, a desire to gain access to foreign produce markets in warmer climates, from which the company could source produce during its domestic suppliers’ off-season in the northeastern United States.
Craig Boyan, president of H-E-B, explains in Global Business that, upon becoming an international business, H-E-B bought blueberries from Chile and Peru to sell year-round. Despite it being expensive to ship blueberry crates to Texas, this enabled the company to continue meeting its customers’ needs. Since then, production has increased with demand, especially in Mexico, which has an ideal climate to produce blueberries year-round. H-E-B now sources blueberries mostly from Mexico, making them more available and affordable for customers.
What Do You Study in International Business?
Many businesses succeed by expanding their markets, production operations, and supply chains internationally. But doing so requires savvy business leadership bolstered by economic knowledge, an understanding of markets, and the ability to learn political and cultural trends.
Business professionals who have a successful career in international business need various skills and expertise . Acquiring these combined skills employers are looking for, along with international business experience, can lead to long-term career success. Some of these important skills include:
- Strong communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Cultural awareness
- Knowledge of finance and accounting
- Entrepreneurship skills
- Understanding of global economics
Why Study International Business?
Regardless of the role, professionals must stay current on all business practices. A global business education provides a wide range of opportunities to create and capture value for organizations. To bring this value to the workplace, individuals need to understand the economic, political, and social factors that drive change and how decisions affect global markets .
Strategists and entrepreneurs should learn about the broader macroeconomic and political landscape of their organizations to grow their business internationally and manage global teams. Professionals in heavily regulated industries can also use this knowledge to develop approaches and frameworks to navigate their complex industries.
If you’re considering joining a global business or thinking about ways to expand your organization internationally, completing an online Global Business course is an excellent way to quickly gain those skills.
Are you interested in breaking into a global market? Sharpen your knowledge of the international business world with our four-week online course Global Business , and explore our other business in society courses. Not sure which is right for you? Download our free course flowchart .
This article was updated on July 19, 2022. It was originally published on June 29, 2021.
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How to Write an International Business Plan: Example Included
Your ambition has led you to start your own business and now it is moving you to expand your business to an international level. You know your company is going to instantly become a success but you are unsure of how to present your company to an international investor or even how to effectively market to customers in other countries. You may have a basic business plan which enabled you to gain start-up capital and other immediate and initial necessities, but now you are at a point where you can rightfully look into expanding into other areas including the international fronts.
There are many components to a standard business plan that you should have carefully crafted to your particular industry and targeted customer base. This article with an international business plan example will give you insight to writing an international business plan based on the criteria of a simple business plan. The formatting will assist you with establishing the sections of an international business plan and direct you on how to include the needs of positioning your company in another country.
I. COMPANY (BUSINESS) PROFILE - This profile is essentially a detailed overview of your company. It should address the who, what, where, why, and how of your company so that potential investors are able to gain insight.
A. BUSINESS DESCRIPTION – You want to state the mission and vision of your company; detail the business model, which tells why you are not like your competitors; outline your short- and long-term objective strategies; discuss current strategic relationships which will prove beneficial in your overall company success; and outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats ( also known as a SWOT Analysis ).
B. PRODUCT OR SERVICE DESCRIPTION - When you give a description of your company you want to describe what product or service you are offering to customers. If you are producing a product then you want to detail your method of manufacturing or distributing. Your goal in this section is to be as detailed as possible regarding what your company is offering to the market and customers.
C. LOCATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DESCRIPTION – This section is important to an international business plan because it details the projected location of the company or warehouses; details the copyrights, trademarks and patents and other important documents needed to prove ownership.
D. LEGAL STRUCTURE AGREEMENT – In this section you want to describe what your company is legally registered as. For instance if you are a warehouse distributor you cannot enter into a market selling services only. You should, if applicable, include resumes of key personnel and detail their strengths in this section. How you secure and insure your business internationally should be included in this section.
E. MANAGEMENT AND PERSONNEL – Investors want to know who is running the company and if they are capable of effectively running it. This section lists the people who are or will be operating the company internationally. A resume is usually a supporting document. Since you are entering international areas you want to address who you want working for your company, their projected salaries, and any future needs for your company, given growth projections . You can also include your external consultants such as accountants and lawyers.
NOTE: Developing a business plan for an international company requires more research than in your current country. You need to do your best to know the country in which you desire to enter into. The wording of your business plan must be specific to the country of entrance to avoid confusion and delay in investor participation.
Image Credit: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Continue to page 2 to view more sections included in the international business plan example.
II. MARKETING OVERVIEW – Marketing your company is one of the single most important aspects of a company and internationally it will prove to be even more significant. Your marketing overview should address how you plan to inform your target market about your company’s offerings.
A. MARKET ANALYSIS – In this section you should explain who are in your target markets; your competition; trends in your targeted market; and any conducted market research. The primary goal of this section is to allow you to understand, as you research, who you are in competition against and if you have a strong enough company to compete with.
B. MARKETING STRATEGY – How do you plan on informing customers that you are open for business? This is the primary function of this section. As you explain each product or service your company offers customers you will need to give a brief description; how you plan on selling or distribution it; packaging needs, if applicable and branding; your sales and advertising strategy; and any media communications you will perform. You can also include your approach to customer service in this section.
C. IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSESSMENT OF MARKETING STRATEGY – While not pressing to write an effective business plan you should include this section so that you are capable of informing investors how you plan to implement and monitor your marketing strategy. This enables investors and yourself to make corrections and changes if needed.
NOTE: When preparing your company to move internationally you need to know how effective your marketing overview will be. Common research methods such as Internet use and other minimalistic approaches will not give you a full understanding of the actual area you are seeking to enter into. The effective implementation of your marketing strategy is dependent on facts and accurate forecasting data.
III. FINANCIAL OVERVIEW – This section informs your investors, if you are seeking funding, of what capital you currently possess and will have. You cannot accurately forecast your profits and expenses until you have developed your marketing strategy and costs associated with being an international company. You will include several documents or sheets to show that you are worthy of the risk which include a balance sheet, your credit reports, financed agreements and contracts, financial statement analysis, income statements and other pertinent financial documents.
A. CURRENT AND PROJECTED BUDGET – Regardless if you are seeking funding or not you need to have a current and projected budget sheet detailing how you are handling your current finances.
B. PROJECTED INCOME SHEET – This sheet is based on the projected sales and revenue of your product or service. This sheet is subject to change and depends on the market.
C. FINANCIAL HISTORY – You should include this information in your business to show what you have earned from the start of your business to its current state.
NOTE: If you are unsure how to effectively complete your FINANCIAL OVERVIEW section then you should consult an international accountant. You want to include the currency exchange rate in your FINANCIAL OVERVIEW in order to determine if you will earn a profit, break-even or lose money from being in an international environment.
Continue to page 3 to view the last sections included in the international business plan example.
IV. INTERNATIONAL TRADE - This section is dedicated to understanding the needs of an international market. You must perform due diligence when you are seeking to enter into an international market. In this section you want to address any export/import requirements and counseling; your company’s readiness to export/import products or services ; any agreements with distributors; an evaluation of the risks associated with international set-up or trade.
NOTE: You must describe your plan to enter and capitalize internationally. This section is applicable to each international market you are seeking to enter.
V. OTHER – The primary function for this section is to include any supporting documents you may need for your business plan’s validity. You can inquire with the different international trade offices to determine its specific document needs.
When you put together your business plan you want to have it reviewed by an attorney with international business law skills so that you are including the correct terminology and following all applicable country and international laws. You also may want to include a cover sheet which gives pertinent contact information for your company; an executive summary which is an overview of the business plan and should not be composed until you are finished with the business plan; and a table of content to provide for an easy read.
Now that you understand how to effectively write an international business plan you must remember to first perform the task of due diligence and research your targeted international market. There are many rules which apply to every country and you must ensure that you are above reproach when you seek to enter into these markets. Not every country operates on the basic business principles therefore you need to understand the risks involved. Consult all manners of professionals who are well versed in international business, finance and law to avoid losses. International business opportunities are available and now you know how to write the plan to take part of what is available.
Here is an example of an internationally position business plan which is retrieved from www.bplans.com . Included is an outline to assist you with composing your international business plan:
International Travel Agency Business Plan Outline
• 1.0 Executive Summary
o Keys to Success
• 2.0 Company Summary
• 3.0 Services
• 4.0 Market Analysis Summary
• 5.0 Strategy and Implementation Summary
• 6.0 Management Summary
• 7.0 Financial Plan
You can read more about this international business plan example at: https://www.bplans.com/international_travel_agency_business_plan/executive_summary_fc.cfm?CMP=AFC-entrepreneur_com&affiliate=entrepreneur_com#ixzz0tmD3ig1d
Six Useful Tips for Strategic International Business Planning
International business and strategic international business planning are not new concepts. People have traded goods and services around the world for thousands of years. Businesses engaged in import and export gain additional profit that is not possible at the local level. Modern technology has increased international trade significantly. The world is a global village where doing business across the globe is easier than trading across a city was in the past.
Now business setup consultants in Dubai can easily contact an entrepreneur in Australia in minutes thanks to modern communication technologies. Online money transfer companies like Paypal and Payoneer have made it easy to transfer money globally, while delivery of goods internationally can be done in days with the help of reliable international goods transfer companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT etc.
But quick and easy international movement of funds and goods means the number of companies trading internationally has increased. Any new company entering this arena will face many already established global competitors. The success of any company in global markets hinges on meaningful international strategic planning.
Strategic planning allows an organization to achieve its goals by setting priorities, utilizing its resources effectively, and adjusting its direction according to changes in the business environment. Different strategies are required for local versus international businesses. Following are 6 useful tips for your strategic international business planning to succeed in extremely competitive international business markets:
1. Find the right market.
Find and choose the international market best suited to your type of business. You will have to analyze and evaluate your product or service demand in different international markets. Choosing the right destination according to your business type is the first step of strategic international business planning.
2. Understand your competitors.
Know your competitors in your chosen international market. If the competition is really tough, it is better to choose a location with a smaller competitor presence, even if the demand for your product is lower in this location. You can more easily gain higher market share with less competition.
3. Identify growth opportunities.
Identifying growth opportunities is an important part of strategic planning in international business. Growth strategies are meant to grow businesses by either finding new markets in previously unexplored parts of the world or evaluating new methods to increase market share and profits in existing international markets. Expect to define your growth strategy or strategies during strategic planning.
4. Develop a local plan.
International business differs from local business in that you may need to deal with markets in various countries in different parts of the world. Different strategies may be required for each location due to variation in political, legal, or economic climates of the different areas. Be prepared to adopt different plans for different markets depending on specific market requirements.
5. Find strategic partners.
If you are considering international business expansion, you will require different strategies for different markets. In this case, it is difficult for a single entity to smoothly execute expansion. Consider finding a strategic partner, one aware of market trends in the regions where you are expanding, to assist you with your expansion.
6. Stay flexible to changing needs.
Economic or political circumstances in any market may not remain unchanged for long. You must constantly analyze your market’s situation so that strategy and planning respond to changes in market circumstances to maintain continuous growth of your international business.
This list of 6 tips for running successful strategic international business planning is not all-inclusive. But these 6 tips are key factors to consider if you are planning for strategic business growth in worldwide markets.
Further Reading: THE PERIGON METHOD
Brenda Cagara is a part of the business consultant team RIZ & MONA in Dubai. Her work is to assist in forming & setting up businesses, including services such as visa processing, trade license, trademark, opening bank accounts, product registration and local sponsorship. Along with this, she vigilantly manages to pursue her writing career. In the past five years, she has been writing in a variety of niches; key among them are business, taxation, and finance.
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China's push to internationalize the yuan and reduce dependence on the US dollar is working, economist says
- China's push to internationalize the yuan in global finance is working, an economist said.
- The yuan has seen a significant boost in its share of global payments this year.
- It is still minuscule compared to dollar payments, "but the growth could be pointing to a change."
China might be mired in economic problems, but Beijing's plans of promoting the yuan in global trade and finance are making some headway.
The currency has seen a major boost in its share of global payments this year, from 1.9% in January to 3.6% in October, according to a chief economist for French investment bank Natixis. And even though the yuan has wobbled this year versus the greenback, 2023 has been an important year for China's efforts to promote its currency abroad.
"That very same weak renminbi has achieved something quite impressive in 2023: a fast increase in its cross-border use," Alicia Garcia-Herrero wrote in the Financial Times on Wednesday .
China has been encouraging the use of yuan in trade and investment deals with other countries. It's a move that is emblematic of the "dedollarization" trend being seen as countries try to ween off of their dependence on the dollar.
There's still a long way to go — a 3.6% of global payments is minuscule compared to the 47.25% that is conducted in the US dollar and the 23.36% in euros.
"But the growth could be pointing to a change," Garcia-Herrero said.
The People's Bank of China has reported a steep increase in yuan-denominated current account transactions, the economist wrote. And about 30% of goods and services traded in and out of China were settled in the yuan.
There are several drivers of the change, Garcia-Herrero said, a key one being geopolitical concerns. Ever since the US slammed Russia with sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, China has become increasingly keen on getting away from the dollar and promote the yuan in deals with trade partners.
To boost the globalization of the yuan this year, China increased its share of total cross-border lending to 28% in October from 17% at the end of 2021. And the People's Bank of China has signed bilateral currency swaps with more than 30 central banks, the economist said, including Saudi Arabia and Argentina.
"These swap lines used to sit idle in host central banks but they are now starting to be withdrawn given some emerging countries' growing financial needs," Garcia-Herrero wrote. "A notable example is Argentina, which has already withdrawn the equivalent of $1bn in renminbi from its swap line to cover repayments to the IMF."
What's more — because China has its own international payment system which is difficult to trace — the gains the yuan has made in global cross-border payments may be undercounted.
But Garcia-Herrero added that the advances the yuan has made in global finance have not translated to a bolstering of the renminbi as an investment currency, and foreign investment in China's onshore markets have been dwindling.
"On the one hand, China's economic dominance is translated into leverage to impose its currencies," the economist wrote. "At the same time, the lack of convertibility of the Chinese currency makes it very difficult for investors keen to buy up renminbi assets."