You’ve spent thousands of hours and millions of pounds trying to break into new markets—but it’s still not working.

At CONNECT:ED Strategies, we work around the world developing global growth strategies. 

These are the top 7 mistakes we’ve observed (and how to fix them).

1. Not Getting Appropriate Product Approvals

Some products can only be sold with the approval of a particular federal or state government agency, or there is a registration process (and thereafter, possibly periodic report filings) rather than prior approval. Check if any such requirement applies to your product and your research is current. 

2. Not Doing “Due Diligence” on Your Prospective Business Partner

A fair number of foreign business people meet someone at a trade fair or conference (such as Going Global) on the plane, through a friend, or a number of other avenues. Your new contact says they just love your product or service and are ready to be your distributor or other form of partner. Without researching them, you could later be dealing with business problems, legal problems, or even a lawsuit—instead of outrageous growth.

3. Letting Someone Other Than Your Most Trusted Partner Handle Intellectual Property Filings

Some companies permit someone other than one of the company’s most trusted employees to handle the filing of the company’s intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.). The result can range from an error to outright fraud. On occasion, the person entrusted will file the application showing himself or his company as the owner applicant, rather than the foreign company. Only a very trustworthy representative of your firm should handle these matters. 


4. Not Filing Intellectual Property Protection at All in the Foreign Country

One of the very first things a foreign company should do—and many are remiss—is to file the relevant applications for intellectual property protection. You should have these applications in process before you start doing business in those territories, particularly for the trademarks, brand and trade names, slogans, logos, and symbols that you plan to use there. 

5. Using Service Companies to Form Your Own Foreign Company

Ads circulate in many countries offering to form a foreign company cheaply. In our experience, these service companies do not fully form and ‘organize’ your company.

That is particularly troublesome when the company is a ‘corporation’ formed under the laws of a particular territory, such as a US state. It’s always been more costly and complicated to repair the deficiencies and defects after the fact than if the job had been done thoroughly and correctly in the first instance.

6. Not Using Professional Contracts for Deals

If you want to optimize your chances of getting paid, succeeding commercially, protecting your intellectual property, and staying out of legal, tax, and other trouble you will need well-drafted contracts for your markets. We’ve seen a sad but seemingly limitless number of cases where foreign parties have not adopted that course and have paid the price later. 

7. Terminating Distributors, Franchisees, Sales Agents, and Licensees without Legal Protection

Proceed carefully, with competent advice, before you attempt to terminate. Terminated distributors, franchisees, sales agents, and licensees frequently sue based on alleged improper termination or raise improper termination counterclaims when suppliers, franchisors, principals, or licensors sue them. 


Don’t make these same mistakes.