For many focused-on-growth entrepreneurs in the food, doing business in one country feels too small. Especially in Europe, companies often expand internationally quite quickly – about 19 times faster than in America. Which makes sense, since in Europe you have to go across borders to reach the same amount of people as an American company does in their own country. But what are the advantages of going international? And the pitfalls? And once you’ve decided to go global, where do you start? A quick 101 about going global in food.
If you are doing international business successfully, it comes with a lot of advantages. The biggest one being that it’s a great option for growth. But that’s not all. It can also prolong the lifespan of existing products, by expanding to new markets. It makes you less dependant on the current country you’re selling in. And one very important advantage in the food industry: if you are dependant on seasonal changes or fluctuations in demand, you can still keep sales steady or increase sales by expanding to markets with different fluctuations.
Obviously, going global also comes with risks. Fluctuations in exchange rate, going after too many opportunities at once, language barriers and cultural differences could all make or break international business – an important aspect for every food company to consider.
It might be stating the obvious, but always start with market research. Make an analysis to see whether your product has possibilities to sell in a local market. Are consumers asking for products that are currently not on the market? Analyse your competition and market opportunities, and the size of the market. Knowledge is power. After completing this step, develop a localized strategy and business plan to stimulate local success, but make sure it remains integrated with the business strategy and objectives. Is your product ready for the new market? It is possible that the product needs be adjusted slightly. Even the largest, best-known multinationals in food – think of fast food chains like McDonalds and Burger King – must adapt their products for them to work in different countries. In addition, make sure your organization is ready. Are the right people present to successfully implement your strategy? Have you managed to do all of this? Then you have a good basis to start expanding your business. Although, this is obviously only the beginning.
When you start doing business internationally, it is very important to work with a strong software system that is supported locally across all branches of your company. A complete business solution that optimizes all your business processes worldwide. The solution Foodware 365 is available for every food company, anywhere in the world. Your branches abroad could easily be supported in a uniform matter. We will help you, depending on the project, directly from the Netherlands or through one of our resellers worldwide. Through these partners, the Foodware 365 is offered to local foreign markets as well. Curious as to what this means for your food company when you want to go international? Please contact us.