Trailblaze & Grow Month: December 2017

How to Prepare Your Business Model for International Expansion

As an entrepreneur, you are in an exciting position. There are opportunities to be had in many different markets, but for some business owners, the U.S. is the holy grail of potential. It is also a different environment — and one that should be approached with caution to maximize the chance of success.

Opportunity is intoxicating, and many entrepreneurs find themselves rushing headlong into a situation that they should have approached more thoughtfully. It is true that the size of the U.S. market can produce great results and quickly scale the revenue side of a business, but the operational side must be ready to keep up with the increased demand placed on it by the larger market.

Tweaking Your Business Model

When operations fail to keep pace with demand, businesses that once had great potential will struggle to maintain the market share gained after their reputation is tarnished and their credibility is lost. The good news is that entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable about the weaknesses of their business model will be able to not only increase revenue, but also improve their overall business operations by entering the U.S. market.


To ensure the transition goes smoothly, keep these business model approaches top of mind:

1.  Remain Connected
One of the hardest parts of running a global business is keeping everyone on the same page. Weekly meetings, especially using video conferencing, will ensure specific departments are not siloed from the overall business.

For example, a program in which employees or leadership members rotate into the U.S. office will help connect the team to the new market. In addition, this arrangement can provide valuable networking opportunities that help encourage continued growth.

It is also important for stakeholders based in the U.S. to travel to corporate headquarters to observe the business in its home country. When teams are failing to work together properly, friction leads to finger pointing. Generally, there is some validity to claims made on both sides, but a lack of context keeps people from developing a clearer understanding of the issues. Keeping different locations of a business tightly connected can strengthen communication and improve business models.

2. Be Aware of Changing Differentiators
Different geographical areas have varied competitive differentiators. A multinational corporation in Europe, for instance, may not be allowed to move a customer’s personally identifiable information across borders. As a result, a company with a solution that allows them to analyze data while keeping it in the country where it originated from is equipped to be successful because it has a leg up on the competition.

Most companies in the U.S. are much less concerned about transporting customer data because their analytics will likely also be based in the U.S. What was a dominant differentiator in Europe has little to no advantage in the U.S. market, illustrating that the challenges of operating in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. have limited similarities.

To secure your company’s valuable differentiator, research the U.S. market before taking the leap. If the competitive advantages and differentiators you have enjoyed in your home country no longer set you apart from other companies in the U.S., you will need to find new differentiators to pursue that can. It is undoubtedly best to begin this process beforeyou make the move to your new location.

3. Understand Marketplace Success
In Asia, distribution is everything. Consumers purchase goods from retailers, so breaking into the retail market means a company has made it. On the other hand, in the U.S. market, awareness is the basis for business success. Getting a product onto retail store shelves does not mean that consumers will buy it — they need to know what it is.

To move to the U.S. market successfully, it is vital to understand the differences in how businesses approach the market. It is understandably tempting to rely on the tactics that brought your business success in the first place, but there is no guarantee that this approach will translate to the new location and new customer base.

One way to better position yourself for success in the U.S. market is to have someone on the ground who can help guide your decision-making based on his or her knowledge of the lay of the land.


Getting help with your international expansion before you enter the market is critical because it can ensure a smooth transition and keep the costs associated with international moving operations to a minimum. To learn how Trailblaze Growth Advisors can contribute to your international expansion, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation. Not only do we provide the strategies you need to ensure your business’s success, but we also help you implement them one step at a time.


Photo by Strocchi on / CC BY-SA