Going Global: Why And How It Works

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Measuring growth on a chalkboard

Is your business ready to make the leap to the global market? Today, companies are taking on global growth with increasing confidence. That’s because it’s easier than ever to learn from others who are making the same changes. Check out these examples of businesses that expanded on a global level to learn how they did it and why it worked.

Imprint Plus

This Canadian business specializes in name badge systems. When it was ready to expand globally, the company looked for opportunities in the industries to where it sold. For example, in the hotel market, Imprint Plus had 6,000 potential Canadian customers. By expanding to the United States, it had 60,000 more hotels to which it could market its products. Then, Imprint Plus developed a reusable name badge system that could easily be scaled based on company size. After expanding into the United States, Imprint Plus now has 35,000 customers in 75 countries.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have an ample customer base in potential foreign markets.

Buffalo Wild Wings

going global

At Buffalo Wild Wings, the goal is to have each and every restaurant comfortable and welcoming. This chain restaurant company uses an all-local staff in each new location to expand into new markets all over the world. When the restaurant first expanded into Canada, for example, its staff of locals informed execs that Canadians preferred Bloody Caesars to Bloody Marys, while fries topped with brown gravy and curd cheese would sell far more than standard French fries. These local insights helped new locations to succeed, and the business plans to continue this approach in other foreign markets, including Dubai.

Lesson learned: Hire locally to increase your knowledge about foreign markets.


McDonald’s is perhaps one of the most well-known companies in the world, but how did it succeed? Take the restaurant’s expansion into France as an example. There, McDonald’s amped up its style to create a bistro-like restaurant setting. Then, it created custom menu options based on French tastes – a baguette sandwich, choices of Comté, Camembert, and other artisanal cheeses for burgers,and  fancy desserts like green tea macaroons and crème brulee, etc. As a result of this localized approach, France is now the highest-grossing market for McDonald’s outside the United States. The approach is similar in other countries (spicy and umami flavors in Asia, for example).

Lesson learned: Customize your products to appeal to customers in new markets.

Look Before You Leap

While these success stories are promising, many other businesses fail to go global because they don’t do their homework. Here are a few tips for ensuring that you succeed in foreign markets:

  • Conduct foreign market research to see which countries are a good fit for your products or services.
  • Figure out how you will distribute your product abroad while staying within budget.
  • Research regulations for packaging, labeling, and marketing in each new market you are considering.

Use these tips and the lessons learned by successful global companies to take the leap with your business. Though it requires extensive planning and research, global expansion can increase your profits significantly over time.

Learn more about earning your online Master of Business Administration from Ohio University.