Expanding business abroad and thus generating growth is the objective of many companies. Success and failure, however, are close together when investing in foreign markets. Here, not only planning, but also personal and practical experience with regard to local conditions are deciding factors for success or failure. According to various studies, the failure rate of foreign assignments can reach up to 40%.
Local employees are indispensable
Recruiting well-qualified personnel for the branch office or subsidiary in the target country is a particular challenge. Nevertheless, employing local staff can significantly increase local acceptance, cushion intercultural tensions, and bring about cost advantages for the company. Personnel gaps are often filled by seconding German colleagues. In the long run, however, this is not conducive to the desired results. Instead, sufficient time should be allowed for training local employees – also at the headquarters in Germany.
Know-how in the target country
For a successful market development, companies need experienced management. Here, reasons have to be balanced whether the local market experience of a manager on-site or the knowledge about the company and products of a local manager is more advantageous. A management mix is the optimal solution for many companies. In that case, however, the management on-site should not only “assist the head office”. The feeling of inferiority must be avoided at all costs. A good solution is to promote the local manager to boss and install – on a temporary basis – the seconded manager as a coach.
Interim management helps to hit the ground running
To avoid stumbling blocks and tackle market development with the necessary know-how and the appropriate intercultural competence, companies are increasingly relying on external senior managers. An experienced interim manager finds out how the land lies, creates the bedrock for decision-making, and provides for a sustainable establishment of business relations and developments.