In today's highly competitive market, meeting the corporate revenue goals boils down to just one thing: preparedness. Every product is launched into a proven market (North America & Europe) with sales forever optimistic about the results. Then, the largest order your company has ever seen comes from a country in South America. The only problem is that the certificate required for this country will take at least three months (and possibly six) to obtain and the customer only wants you to fill the order if you can do so by the end of the month! The pressure is on to get the governmental agency of a sovereign nation to do it your way, when you want it. How does this story end? In disaster... Even large companies with deep pocketbooks have learned this lesson the hard way. Obviously, it's not possible to control the fact that you may receive orders from countries that you may not have targeted initially, but it's never too late to start planning and to set customer expectations about what you can do.
The world is filled with regulations, bureaucracy, harmonization, and trade barriers. The key to global marketing is planning. Separate the targeted world economies into tiers and concentrate on each tier with a formal plan. An example might look like the following tiers:
- United States and Canada only
- European Union (EU) and EFTA countries
- Mexico, China, India, Taiwan, Japan
- Brazil, Argentina, Bermuda, Jamaica, Philipines
It's important to note, that with the exception of Tier 2, all the tiers list each country by name. Tier 2 is the EU and EFTA countries that all prescribe to the CE Mark scheme and this is a finite list of countries with identical legal requirements. The EU is a very unique political scheme where nearly thirty sovereign nations agree to the same laws. All the other nations are independent of each other and their individual specific requirements must be considered. Complicating matters, there are different groups of countries that work well with each other and even provide mutual recognition agreements (MRA) between themselves; and other nations that only recognize themselves. And to further complicate things, there are territories of nations that may have different technical requirements than their sovereign trustee. Developing a plan to deliver products globally is not only intricate, it's dynamic. Countries can change the rules midstream.
With all this said, merging all of the technical, administrative, logistical, and political requirements together into a single cohesive plan requires an understanding that the world is dictated by laws of nations and not corporate policies. With the right plan, the right expectations, the right product, the right sales and distribution channels - it is indeed possible to ship globally. After all, it is done everyday by the very large corporations. But for the small and medium size companies, it can still be a challenge shipping product into some markets. We can prepare you.