I am astonished at the number of startups who come to me in order to get help with their growth! Most of them have aspirations to become a global company. Or worse! They already think they are global, despite the fact that their customers live in the vicinity.
So, what are they thinking?
They obviously imagine that having a the potential of scalability is enough to launch across several countries. After all, internet is a tool that covers the entire world. Is it not? You can find it in every country, in many different languages. On top of that Google and its advertising reigns supreme across borders.
There are a few issues that companies do not take into account. Different countries have different cultures, different people with different behaviours, different legal systems, different economies, different everything. They are certainly not going to react the same towards your product or service.
So, how do you overcome this problem?
Well, the best way to go around the problem is to launch in one country at a time. Get hold of the market, build a solid infrastructure there, and move on to the next… If you are successful a couple of times, you may want to double or triple the countries that you are trying to conquer. That is, of course, if you have the resources.
Becoming global is a heavy task that needs a lot of flexibility and resources.
Image from Wikimedia Commons: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Earth_Western_Hemisphere.jpg