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Expanding Your International Operations

In his book The Leader’s Tool Kit, Cy Charney of Charney and Associates, Inc., offers these tips to medium and larger companies that recognize the incredible opportunities to access faster growing markets and to identify new sources of lower-cost production.

His tips for thriving in a global market include the following:

Use technology to your advantage. Identify all your resources—Internet, intranet, satellite TV, global positioning systems, cell phones—and adopt them together with your business partners.

Become superflexible. Not only do you need to adjust to each new culture you’re dealing with, but you also need to keep abreast of the sociopolitical changes that are happening daily.

If you hit a roadblock or things go sour on you, adopt a collaborative approach to fixing the problem.

Recruit people who are able to think and work globally. These people typically are well educated, were born abroad, have worked internationally, have family members who are supportive about frequent business trips, enjoy travel and adventure, are flexible and adaptable, and are friendly and outgoing.

Examine and streamline your business processes. Ask yourself, “Do our call centers offer help in multiple languages?” “Is our Website available in the major languages?” “Can people access different customized services and processes?” “Do we foster collaboration among international locations or are we territorial?”

Mold yourself into an international operator. Find local mentors in each part of the world in which you operate. Use their advice to ensure that your approach is consistent with local customs.

Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from The Leader’s Tool Kit by Cy Charney. Copyright 2006, Cy Charney. Published by AMACOM, a division of American Management Association.