Re-thinking Your Approach to Foreign Expansion

Expansion into foreign markets can be challenging at the best of times and closed borders add another layer of complexity. Those coming from smaller markets, like Australia, in particular need to keep international markets engaged. While revising your company’s budget, don’t give up your expansion plans just yet. Rather, re-thinking your approach could leave you well placed when the worst of this has passed.

If you can only adopt one tactic to engage a new market, what will it be? We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can still go ahead with your plans to engage new markets. 

1. High touch engagement with prospects

While many are reluctant to engage in high touch strategies, now more than ever is the time for high-touch expansion. Having a smaller number of highly engaged clients leaves you well placed when we return to the new normal, and it doesn’t stop you from expanding later on. AirBnB’s initial market entry into foreign markets is a great example of this done well.

2. Engagements at scale 

While we’re all locked down, your prospective and existing clients are on their devices more than ever — my screen time has gone up by 4 hours a day. So now is the perfect time to build your brand through Social Media marketing and podcast advertising.

3. Engaging Strategic and Channel Partners

Finding the right Partnerships can be incredibly effective when it comes to building your brand. While it may not be the best time to reach out to prospective clients, now is a great time to focus on building partnerships with other organisations — and bonus — with Zoom calls becoming the new normal, it’s even easier to reach out to international companies who may have favoured in-person meetings previously. You may just be taking some really late meetings. Here’s some tips on how to build great partnerships, courtesy of

4. Licensing

Stemming from engaging strategic and channel partners if you have not considered licensing your product/service line to a local partner in a foreign market now might be the opportunity to pilot that thinking.

5. Leveraging your current customer base with international operations

If your business is looking to expand internationally, you probably already have a customer base to pool from. Businesses do sometimes forget that their existing client base (and their international operations) are a great starting point when embarking on a new foreign market entry activity. Spend some time reviewing your current client base and determining where the natural opportunities might be in the foreign markets you are looking at.

Depending on the needs of your business, some or all of these may work for you. If you, as many are, are currently restricted in terms of how much time, energy and expense you could devote to enter a new market, consider still honing in on a specific activity. Determine what you think the optimal activity might be from the options we have listed or another innovative idea. If the success of your business is pegged against the need for continued growth at present, continue to try and maintain some focus on a new foreign market. Engaging in such activities to further your activities overseas will hopefully lead to more successful entry into new markets after — or during — this crisis.