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May 1, 2018 / Richard Hall


Zenith has just completed a survey of US beverage businesses, asking about the challenges they face in exploring international expansion. The top 5 were:

Finding the right people 21%
Identifying product potential 21%
Lack of international expertise 21%
Finding the right partner 19%
Regulation 16%

Supporting clients in international expansion is the most common type of project we undertake at Zenith, even for multinationals – where they may be considering new market sectors or existing brand market entry priorities.

The great advantage Zenith has is direct local knowledge of most markets. My own travel programme this year already includes Brazil, China twice, India, Japan twice, Malaysia, Middle East, Singapore, United States 3 times and multiple European markets.

The challenges highlighted in the survey entirely accord with our own experience. Our response would be to establish 3 project priorities:

• The first is to set a clear strategy. What scale and return is required from what level of investment and resource ?

• The second is to decide on where, when and how to manage the expansion. Often it is more appropriate to target cities or regions rather than whole countries. Products may need to be adapted to local cultures. Trusted and experienced managers are always vital. Greenfield or acquisition will be appropriate for some companies, partnership or contract packing for others.

• The third is focus on implementation. International expansion requires director attention, alignment of incentives and capacity to troubleshoot.

If your company has as yet unfulfilled international potential, do email me at Let’s see if Zenith can help. That’s why our Twitter hashtag is #askzenith.

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