4 tips for successfully globalizing your SME

4 tips for successfully globalizing your SME


Published in :
Growing internationally
Business strategies
Financial statements
Published on 24 April 2019
Reading: 3 minutes

4 tips for successfully globalizing your SME

Companies who aim to conquer international markets often have to juggle several challenges simultaneously—administrative formalities, adapting to a local culture and workforce availability are just a few examples. But the result could be worth it. Here are four tips for successfully going global.

 Establish a well-thought-out plan

“You can’t wing an international expansion,” states Claude Delâge, Vice-President of Business Outreach at Desjardins Capital. Prior planning is one of the essential conditions for success on foreign soil. “It’s the responsibility of managers to detect and prevent any risks related to their international expansion. To accomplish this, a SWOT analysis [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats] remains one of the best tools for establishing your game plan,” she explains.

You’ll have a lot of work to do before you can consider expanding your company’s horizons. Part of your strategy should include having a solid understanding of your target market, offering a competitive product adapted to the targeted foreign culture, and being able to rely on a local partner. Don’t forget to learn about any regulations in effect, since you’ll need to adapt to them. Finally, are you financially capable of deploying this plan while waiting to receive your initial revenue?

  1. Look beyond your immediate borders

What if the secret to success resides in accurately evaluating your ability to export? “Given the proximity of the U.S., conquering the American market is often Quebec entrepreneurs’ first reflex. We see the same phenomenon happening in Europe: French entrepreneurs are more likely to aim for Belgium or Germany instead of North America to launch their export process,” says Antoine Krug, Managing Partner at Siparex Group. Thus, some SMEs put on the brakes when it comes to crossing the ocean, purely out of fear.

But there are great business opportunities to be had overseas. “Try to see the big picture,” states Delâge. The challenge is not choosing the easiest path, but making the decision to diversify your activities, acquire assets at a good price, or build new competitive advantages.



  1. Seek out sound advice

It’s in every entrepreneur’s best interest to seek out professional advice in order to avoid the pitfalls of internationalization. “A lack of understanding of the subject could delay leadership’s international aspirations. Although global growth necessitates overcoming many challenges, an SME nevertheless needs to get more benefit out of it than simply financial enrichment,” emphasizes Delâge. Participating in conferences or workshops could help improve your expertise in exporting. “Be curious,” encourages Delâge.

Learn how to surround yourself with specialists who can guide you through the intricacies of your growth plan. “Build a trustworthy team and choose your partners carefully,” suggests Krug. Don’t hesitate to add an authority in exporting to your advisory committee or board of governors. “An expert in internationalization on your AC could make all the difference,” adds Delâge. Whatever you decide, one thing is for sure: Expansion into international markets doesn’t happen without a firm commitment from senior management.

  1. Approach the Fonds Transatlantique

Jointly managed by Siparex and Desjardins Capital, the Fonds Transatlantique facilitates investment in French and Quebec SMEs to foster their growth. “This initiative allows us to support the development of French companies in the North American market from Quebec, and inversely, to promote the success of Quebec companies in Europe from France,” explains Krug.

The strength of this partnership is not based purely in the capital it will inject into selected SMEs. These companies will have access to networks of well-established contacts from both Siparex and Desjardins Capital. High-quality guidance can contribute to the success of your international expansion. “We can steer you towards a number of consultants who possess expertise in a specific area,” concludes Delâge.