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International Market Development in General

Definitions of market development can be found in many different sources. Simply put, it means finding and creating new markets for existing products or brands. A new market, in this sense, can be a new segment, a new location, and so on. International market development means taking a product that already exists in one location and finding and building a new market for that product in a different country.

Much of the time, a different country will also mean a different business environment. For this reason, target segments often change, and existing products have to be localised, with different packaging, different marketing strategies, and so on. In general, the more distant the target country, the greater the differences, although these are not necessarily the same in every case.

Due to these differences, it is important to carry out reassessments of the position of the product or brand, user expectations, consumer habits, the relevant regulations, and rival products. To do this well, it is not only necessary to have deep knowledge of the target market, but also to be aware of the opportunities and limitations of the manufacturer (or service provider) in question. This requires thorough analysis, plenty of experience, and a willingness to adapt. International market development is therefore a long-term process, consisting of several stages that can generally be planned in advance. In most cases, sales results are not generated immediately, but when development is approached in accordance with the right method, the effects will be sustainable and long lasting.

The main objective at TOO International is to create markets that can be sustained in the long term. This is why cooperation and commitment to the target market are of paramount importance to us.

Even in your home market, a knowledge of the language is nowhere near enough to guarantee successful business development, market expansion or new product launches. And in a foreign market, there are even more factors at play.

In the domestic market, if you want to open a branch in a new city, you probably have to employ new staff. If you want to expand your home market, you need more salespersons, perhaps a new strategy, or some additional promotional activities. These can be complicated enough even without the language barrier.

For many companies approaching the challenges of a new international market, the first obstacle they focus on is the language. It would be far more important to recognise, however, that operating on a foreign market involves carrying out the same functions as at home. It is not only the local language that is different, but also the culture and the business environment. Consumer practices will probably not be the same, and there will be different competitors and rival products, not to mention the regulations governing the sector, and countless other differences.

The language barrier may turn out to be less of a problem than a lack of knowledge about local market conditions and the competitive environment. It is generally not too easy to find somebody, let alone a service provider, who can solve these problems all together in a tailor-made fashion. Here at TOO International, however, we offer a compact package of services to meet these needs.

When all the necessary functions, information and services required for entering and/or developing a foreign market are handled locally, in alignment with the domestic strategy preferred by the owner (exporter), the risks can be significantly reduced and the chances of success can be just as significantly enhanced. With our services, this is the role that TOO International can perform on your behalf.

TOO International's Services

One of the main objectives of every business that operates for profit is to generate sales, and to sustain and expand the customer base. Creating sales results is a process influenced by very many factors.

When entering a new market, many companies concentrate only on immediate sales results. But for long-term, continually expanding sales, you need to follow a process comprised of a series of plannable stages. There is never any guarantee of immediate sales success, of course, but when the steps you take towards generating sales are carefully planned, you can evaluate these steps and measure their effectiveness.

We believe that when a sales process is pursued on the basis of joint planning, even if the expected sales results are not immediately achieved, the information generated by monitoring the intermediate stages will provide valuable feedback and a substantive outcome that the client can easily evaluate.

Lower costs; minimal risk; greater flexibility; professional services.

If you open your own office with your own staff, you are committing yourself for years, and such a step requires substantial capital outlay. Taking on full-time workers not only costs money, but also demands other forms of support and investment, time and management. Even recruiting the right employees takes time and money. Leases on offices usually have to be signed for a period of two years or more. Besides paying the deposit, there is also the expense of furnishing and setting up the telecommunications and other infrastructure. And when everything is established, further investments of time, money and energy are needed when expanding your team and infrastructure, implementing changes, or even – in the worst case scenario – closing the office. And if you have no personal knowledge or experience in that particular country, at least not in terms of law, taxation, practical economics or business culture, then obtaining the right information you need to make all these decisions, let alone organising everything, can cause untold difficulties and consume even more precious time and money.

At Too International, we offer services to solve all the above problems quickly and cost-effectively

  • by using shared resources,
  • by making flexible agreements,
  • by providing turnkey solutions.

Even if you have already decided that you would eventually like to set up your own office in your chosen foreign market, but the market is not yet large enough to justify the above investments and associated risks, then we can offer you various solutions that you may find useful.

  • Using existing infrastructure, and with flexible working hours, even over a short-term period, we can give you a quotation tailored to your specific objectives.
  • Without taking on too large a risk, you can establish a market presence and obtain almost instant feedback about your product, all taking your ultimate objective into consideration.
  • We can help you make your decision by supplying the information you need, and we can carry out the sales and management tasks required to elevate your products or your project to the next level.

Cost simulation (based on a typical office in Tokyo)

 Costs Time 
 In general
Too International
In generalToo International
recruitmentcost of travelling from the parent company, or agency feeno cost3 – 6 months0
finding an officecost of travelling from the parent company, or agency feeno cost3 – 6 months0
setting up legal and administrative frameworks2000 – 4000no cost1 – 2 months0
deposit3 months’ rentno cost1 month payment, before moving in0
furniture2,000-10,000no costone month0
office rent (annual)30,000-100,000only in proportion to use of infrastructuremin. 2 yearsusually min. 6 months, flexible as required
manager’s salary (annual)60,000-80,000only in proportion to the time spent workingmin. 2 yearsusually min. 6 months, flexible as required
assistant’s salary (annual)40,000only in proportion to the time spent workingmin. 2 yearsusually min. 6 months, flexible as required
recruitmentcost of travelling from the parent company, or agency feeno cost3-6 months0
assistant’s salary (annual)40,000 – 80,000only in proportion to the time spent workingmin. 2 yearsusually min. 6 months, flexible as required
moving out1,000-2,000no cost1-2 months0
arranging legal matters1,000-2,000no cost1-2 months0

Anyone can achieve success in international markets, not only large corporations or major investors.

You too have probably thought a great deal about how you might reach the next level with your own products, brand and company by venturing into the export market. You may have even set specific objectives, and perhaps you are already working hard to fulfil them.

For many companies and entrepreneurs, international markets – especially when they are as distant as Japan – may seem too remote and unknown, too difficult to break into. As a result, they may hesitate to take the risk of building their business so far away, and choose instead to spend their time and money expanding in the domestic market or in similar export territories closer to home.

If this sounds like the situation you are in, imagine you had more information available to you that was specifically tailored to your own project and would set forth exactly what you needed to do in order to make your investment work – perhaps then you would be more willing to take a chance! Here are some of the main questions you might want answered:

How large is the potential market? Who are the main local competitors? How have similar products achieved success in this particular export market? Where can reliable partners be found? Who is available locally to cooperate in the tasks needed to make the investment worthwhile?

At Too International, these are the kinds of questions we can help you with. Moreover, besides providing you with the right information, targeted to suit your needs, we can also help you put everything into practice, collaborating on your investment project with active services, including local management, sales and representation.

Our mission is to open up as many market opportunities as possible, even those that always looked impossible.

While it is indeed possible, with the help of an interpreter, to communicate well in a foreign market, most of the communication will take place with some important knowledge missing, which will reduce effectiveness. With many years of experience, anyone can get to know a different culture and learn about the intricacies of a different economic environment. However, it is logical here to wonder whether this is the best way for a manufacturer or service provider to find their way in a new foreign market. In most cases, the answer would probably be “no”.

Many enterprises go about building relations in new international markets without knowing some of the most basic information. Some might not even be aware who the key market players are in their given segment, which are the most successful rival products and brands, or even how big the market is. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In order to ensure smooth, long-term relations and to avoid market pitfalls, it is necessary to understand the local regulations, the latest trends and consumer habits, local negotiating customs and so many other details that might differ from what we are accustomed to at home (or in other, more familiar markets).

By bridging the above knowledge gaps, TOO International can provide enterprises with the tools they need for a more effective and successful market launch or market expansion.

Below we have summarised the main benefits we can provide with our services.

If you want to compare our services with specific ideas you may have in mind, or with other types of solutions, don’t forget to take a look at these answers too:
FAQ 2: Why is it better to work with you than to employ our own people locally or to open our own local office?
FAQ 3: Why should we work with you if we already have a commercial partner?

Faster results

At Too International, our team members have substantial experience in their specialist areas. In most cases, they have already travelled the same path you need to follow to make your project a reality. This means we can make faster and more effective progress than someone starting out for the first time or trying to find all the answers alone for themselves.

Since we perform our tasks locally, we can communicate with the client in person, so processes are smoother and more efficient than trying to keep contact over long distances.

Fewer problems, more local market knowledge, optimised localisation

You may have chosen a market where you would like to expand, but if you are unaware of the main players on the market, the way it operates, the customs and the latest trends, you will be in for surprise after surprise. In general, everyone is pleased with the initial success of finding potential customers or clients in a foreign country, having somehow overcome the language barrier. New partnerships are almost always filled with positive hopes and expectations, but as time passes, unexpected situations materialise, or new information suddenly comes out of the blue. The practice of due diligence is designed to identify such problems and minimise such risks.

In addition, the following questions usually come to mind:

Is this partner really the best for our long-term future? What other market opportunities are around? Why, when we get on so well, are there sometimes problems with communication or distribution?

To answer these questions, and more like them, you need knowledge of the local market. Any gaps in your own knowledge can be bridged by our team members with their market awareness, their expertise and their local experience.

When building international market connections, most people concentrate on language differences and communication problems. However, the most ignored problem – and probably the biggest of all – is not communication, but insufficient knowledge about local demands. Even in the case of raw materials, there can be surprising differences in local expectations. The higher the level at which a product is targeted, the greater the importance of localisation. This fact needs to be recognised in time and tackled consciously. Good communication comes to nothing if it later transpires that a product was put on the shelves in an unsuitable kind of packaging. And communication can break down if the requirements were not fully assessed to begin with, resulting in huge differences between expectations and the products on offer. With our services, we not only look for new potential clients or partners, but place your product, brand or project in the right context. We can help with localisation, eliminating the risk of setting off in the wrong direction, thus saving time, energy and money.

Cost effective

The infographic on our homepage summarises the benefits derived from the structure of our working methods. We offer you a platform which combines market development functions that are usually performed separately. Our flexibility with time and commitments is of great importance, as is our local presence, all of which can lead to significant cost savings. At the bottom of this article [S1] we have attached a simulation by way of illustration.

The majority of companies that provide market entry assistance deliver solutions that meet the most basic physical needs (office, infrastructure, telecommunications, etc.) or services (administration, interpreting, legal, etc.). When it comes to developing and managing business activities, however, very few conventional service providers exist. HR agencies can help to recruit employees; consultancies may offer advice on business operations, strategy and so on; but in almost every case, foreign enterprises are on their own when taking and implementing crucial market decisions. Of course, the situation is the same on the home market, only here it is far easier to gradually build up the amount of risks you are prepared to take. In the local market, the owner, for example, can lend a hand. A part-time team can also be managed more easily locally. When you are constantly present, it is possible even to assess the market alone, and when you know your home market conditions, you can react quickly and effectively. But when you want to do this abroad, especially if the market is far away, a lack of knowledge and the vast distances involved make it harder to intervene directly, and this also potentially drives up costs.

TOO International provides a platform that not only combines all the usual services and functions required for market entry, market expansion and market development, but also adds to them. Depending on the needs of the client, these additional services may extend to management and representation, as well as supplementary functions to aid implementation. What is more, we not only deal with the market launch stage or offer assistance with temporary tasks, we can represent the client’s interests in the given international market on a continuing collaborative basis.