5 Tools You Can Leverage to Make Smarter Business Decisions

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A Brief History

In the middle and late 1980s, executive information systems (EIS), group decision support systems (GDSS), and organizational decision support systems (ODSS) evolved from the single user and model-oriented DSS.  Today, when trying to determine your next steps in business, it is important to use a decision-making tool such as SMART. The “S” stands for gathering specific information, the “M” if for meaningful data, the “A” is agreed-upon intelligence, and achievable standards, the “R” realistic goals, and the “T” in SMART is for the time needed to make the correct decisions to reach your goals.

Has your business been successful in the U.S.?  Are you thinking about expanding your company across seas, but not sure how to? It is estimated that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S. market. Global markets are worth considering for companies serious about growing their business.

Going global is an important undertaking that could interrupt current business activities. To effectively start a business in a foreign market you need to acquire a meaningful understanding of the target markets, competition, local market trends, and the requirements.  There are many methods to take your business international, with numerous levels of difficulty and investment. Here are five tools to help you in leveraging your business investment:

Digging Deeper

1.  Create a game plan

The first step is implementing a strategy for going global. Starting a business in a different country requires the same planning and market analysis as a strategy in your city. There are numerous factors to think about, such as logistics, custom duties, and currency conversion. Set clear objectives, including collecting applicable data, and making smart business decisions.

2. Run a market analysis

Some businesses hire a  comprehensive market data analysis can help determine the top countries that are selling products similar to yours. The research should focus on price competitiveness, potential distribution channels, duties, and taxes or regulations that may labor entry into a similar market.

The market analysis is researching the industry and market factors that focus on information about political, legal, economic, social, and cultural issues that can affect your business in a global market. Market research consists of collecting information about:

Industry and market environment to understand external factors

Developing a customer profile

Creating a competitor profile

Business rules

Demographics of the market (i.e., age, gender, income)

Size of the market and its trends

Accessible marketing channels

Sociographics (i.e., beliefs, interests, lifestyles)

 3. Study the local rules

When getting started in expanding your business, it is important to understand the countries rules of engagement. You need to quickly learn the local laws, regulations, government taxes, business taxes, and accounting rules of where you are deciding to expand globally. The many rules could make a difference in where and what market you want to expand your business.

4. Create and uphold relationships

Living internationally from your business means you have to maintain excellent employee and customer relationships. You should schedule a weekly company meeting call to gauge how business is. It is important to demonstrate appreciation when starting your business, as employees will be working long hours.

5. Create an emergency plan

Learning everything you can will better equip you to hand a situation if one should arise. Making smart business decisions is important, but being prepared with a backup plan should things go not as planned will help you stay confident. Accounting for every potential roadblock setback is impossible, but with appropriate education, you have a beginning point for building expenses.

In the end, deciding to take your business internationally is a big decision that requires making smart judgments. Decisions should be made when the timing is right if it is not the right time to grow your business, the decision to do so could be frustrating and potentially harmful to your expansion. You need to evaluate your position and make your choices according to your timeline. It will take time to collect data and run a proper market analysis, which is essential in making your decision.

Expanding your business internationally is not for the cowardly, but for many businesses it will be foreseeable in the future because global markets offer bigger opportunities for growth.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever made any international business decisions?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Hammond, John S. and Ralph L. Keeney, et al.  Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions.  Harvard Business Review Press, 2015.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Lucas of two persons shaking hands, has been released into the public domain worldwide by the copyright holder of this work.

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About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland