A major decision in any internationalisation journey is identifying your target market. To do this effectively and accurately for your business requires you to have an in-depth understanding about the markets you are researching. We all build up pre-conceptions about other countries, their people, culture and business environment – but how can we make sure they are accurate and how can we ask the right questions that will impact the success of our internationalisation?
Though there are many similarities across Europe, and even more within regions, there are also many differences that we would not expect. For example – what noise do you think a rooster makes? Surprisingly, the answer to this question brings real variation, and a slight shock to everyone who just assumes the way that they say it in their country is the way everyone else says it. Not so – next time you are in a different country ask – and see what the result is. The point here is not to make assumptions and to research deeper than the experience you gain from visiting one part of a country on a holiday.
The European Commission funded website ‘Passport to Trade’ is an excellent resource that has information on EU member states that includes education, business, demographics, cultural taboos and business culture. It is a good place to start to understand the variation that exists in Europe and to contribute to your market selection process.
So when you begin to look at potential markets, don’t be afraid to ask simple questions, make sure you have access to an expert on the local market and try to begin from a zero position to remove bias from any previous experience you might have. Most of all, remember to find out how they say cock-a-doodle-doo!