Are you dreaming of taking your business global, but don’t know exactly how?
Going global is more than a simple economic definition. Instead, it’s part of a meaningful worldwide movement toward trade, financial and communications integration, which calls back to the concept of globalization.
Expanding your business in another country means being aware of the differences between your own culture, economics and media, and the ones of the target you want to reach: this is a major challenge and a big risk, but also a strong opportunity to move forward!
Before taking your company global, you should ask yourself some key questions:
- Will my product or service sell well in the target culture?
- Is the target’s market familiar with my product or service?
- Will my company feel comfortable in that country?
- Do I know my local competitors and market trends?
- Which marketing channels and tools work better in that culture?
In order to figure out all those facets and differences, you literally have to fill the gap: that’s why you need to perform a gap analysis before undertaking this difficult path.
Sometimes called needs analysis, a gap analysis is the process that would allow your company to determine the space – namely, the gap – between where your organization is today and where it wants to be in the future.
Does it sound too much complicated to you? Well, actually, it may be a little bit tricky task, but if you already have in mind what you want to achieve, it can become a straightforward process.
Let’s dig deep into the 4 steps of a gap analysis!
The 4 steps to create a successful Gap Analysis
1. Identify your business’ current state
To know where to go, you should perfectly be aware of where you are.
Before starting a gap analysis, you should have a clear picture of your company’s current state, in terms of:
- Team or departments and their processes;
- Position in the current local market and USP (unique-selling-point);
- Current local competitors;
- SWOT analysis of the company and its present product strategy;
- Adopted marketing/PR communications strategies.
If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, start using charts and illustrations to depict your data, and compare them with your team’s perspective. To do so, look into your business reports or documentations, and collect some contextual data about the above-mentioned points, e.g. qualitative information, interviews, brainstorming and so forth.
But always bear in mind your final goal: taking your business in another country! Therefore, keep focusing on this aspect during each step of the gap analysis.
2. Define the goal you want to achieve
First and foremost, the golden rule: be SMART!
Literally: be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound in your gap analysis.
In other words, just be realistic.
Achieving all together is impossible: be wise enough to focus on just a specific area of the business you want to expand, and just one country you want to reach.
For instance, let’s suppose you sell fashion products in the UK: focusing on your new sunglasses summer collection and choosing Spain as a country where you’d like to enter the market, it’s surely more realistic and achievable than trying to export all your collections at once around each European country!
Hence, be sure you have depicted your goal as practically as possible, inasmuch the main aim of a gap analysis is to figure out where you want to go and how.
So, you can proceed step by step:
- Identify your specific expansion goal;
- Choose a strong value proposition for the new aim;
- Segment your goal into short-term and long-term steps;
- Start putting together your expansion team (yes, you need a tailor-made team for the project!);
- Think about the business model structure: will it be the same as your local one?
- Last but not least: set a specific time limit or deadline for your goal and stick to it.
3. Identify the gaps between the current state and the desired goal
Now that you have a clearer picture of both your current state and your desired goal, you’re surely starting to notice the differences between them.
Those disparities between your present situation and your dreams are basically the gap you’re going to fill to expand your business globally.
In order to start figuring out the gap and its impact on your current business, I suggest you to conduct a critical analysis of your service or product in the desired market, by taking into consideration:
- The size of the local market you wish to enter;
- How long it will take you to reach your target;
- Your own and your competitors’ SWOT analysis (this time, based on the goal and not on the current state);
- Your pricing and how it differs from your local competitors’ one.
By doing so, you’ll come up identifying any gap that is stopping you from reaching your goals or would potentially put your project at risk.
4. Bridge the gap by developing an Implementation Plan
After identifying the gap, you should find out the solutions to close it.
As I already mentioned, you know where you are and where you want to go: so, the space between them is the gap you must bridge to reach your target, and to do so you need a set of valuable solutions.
Basically, it’s time to act!
That’s why, in this last step of your gap analysis, you should be able to use all the data you’ve already collected to develop an implementation plan (also known as an operational plan).
So, in order to create the implementation plan that would help you identifying your solutions, you have to:
- Develop a growth strategy and a business plan for your new local market, taking into consideration the economic, cultural, and legal conditions of the country;
- Establish a go-to-market strategy to contemplate your value proposition, pricing and sales model, as well as a marketing plan with measurable KPIs;
- Plan a sustainable budget, by starting with a 12-month business plan along with a 3-year plan that you might then updated every six months.
Do you want to discover more about how to perform a gap analysis before taking your business abroad? Just book a free consultation with us!
We’ll be really excited to help you figure out all the meaningful benefits that a gap analysis can bring to your business when it comes to expand it in another country.