Do you understand the Nordic-Baltic picture for your industry?

The more data and awareness the firm has about a foreign market situation, the lower the perceived market risk will be and, thus, the higher the actual investment by the firm in that market supposes to be. The main concepts are market commitment and knowledge, commitment decisions and recent business activities. All tangible and intangible assets that a firm accumulates in a particular geographic market structure its market commitment. Seek out world-wide opportunities. By knowing the local and international market, and by exploiting the competitive advantage the firms has over other companies in a specific, soon to be, host country, the managerial team would be able to act proactively and start planning a strategy to internationalize.
Ziriukina. A. (2015) The internationalization of the small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs): motives, barriers and the Uppsala model. Retrieved from:

Do you have a vision which describes the company’s internationalization ambitions?

Vision is the vital energy that drives the entrepreneur, the founder, the co-founder and their immediate team. Vision is what makes them dare: dare to explore, dare to challenge, dare to insist, dare to keep pushing, dare to have the determination to succeed. Vision is the energy that provides anentrepreneur and their organization with the ability to perform and succeed. And vision is what creates and establishes the culture, which is the key component that gets softly shared between people creating and establishing norms, expectations and duties that definehow an organization acts. Vision is the frame where culture lies.
But the success of a company is not only about defining and pursuing a vision, but also about being able to instrument the vision, formulate it into something tangible, and then share it as well. This last component is critical for the entrepreneur to be able to imprint the same passion, energy, dedication and drive to a wider audience and team. When the vision gets spread across the organization, it translates into culture. De La Torre, J. J. (2015) Vision: The Drifer of Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneur, 2016 (Jan)

Are you motivated to become an international business?

Certainly those firms which are growth oriented can benefit tremendously from pursuing larger and new niche markets, exploiting scale and technical advantages, upgrading technologies or lowering and sharing costs, including R&D costs. Pursuing international opportunities is also a way of spreading risk and can also improve access to finance. Substantial knowledge and capabilities are also gained in the process, greatly enhancing the competitiveness of the firm. Cultivate an enthusiasm for exporting. Every employee should understand the reasons for internationalization and all of them must support this aim.
Wilson, K. (2005). ENCOURAGING THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF SMES. Promoting Entrepreneurship in South East Europe: POLICIES AND TOOLS (Eds: J. Potter and A. Proto)

Is the whole team involved into internationalization activities?

Team motivation starts from top management’s availability to dedicate time to international activity. Internationalisation values and purpose need to be the golden thread through all the company’sactivities; everyone must know and integrate these values and aim into his job tasks.

Are you aware of cultural differences of the intended target country?

Culture is significant because it establishes the foundation for how consumers think, communicate, and process information. By providing contextual information about potential consumers, cultural target market research sets the stage for strategic targeted marketing, and it is the foundation for promotional content. Cultural understanding provides the structure for promotional content that's consistent with the expectations and perceptions of consumers from specific cultural backgrounds.
Butler, D. S. B (2015) Cultural Targeting: The Key to Online Consumer Receptivity. MarketingProfs, May

Do you know the market – the specific circumstances of the target country?

Societal knowledge was operationalized as knowledge of the macro environmental institutions in the host country, for example the local government, laws, culture, and norms. Business network knowledge outlines the knowledge of actors in a foreign business network, for example customers, competitors and market conditions. Social capital is the personal knowledge of, and connection to, customers in the host market and the benefits they provide. This kind of knowledge is essential in internationalization and for further commitment by the firm to a foreign market network. Knowing about a foreign market will allow the firm to see and undertake the opportunities offered by that specific location.
Sandberg, Susanne. (2012) Internationalization processes of small and medium-sized enterprises: Entering and taking off from emerging markets, Linnaeus University Dissertations No 78/2012.

Have you calculatedthe financial resources needed to support internationalization?

internationalisation, the financial aspect is much more than an issue of cash-flow management or guaranteeing access to additional finance. Internationalisation brings a swathe of specific factors such as exchange rate risk, guaranteeing payments from abroad, difficulties with granting credit facilities to foreign customers, etc. This makes finances for internationalisation a two-fold problem: on the one hand, gaining information on the new problems and financial mechanisms of internationalisation and, on the other, having access to the additional funds required to finance international operations. Obtaining those funds will bring additional costs and difficulties due to the enhanced level of risk perceived by the financial institutions and, in some cases, require the use of internationalisation-specific financial instruments.
European Communities(2008) Supporting the internationalisation of SMEs.

Is your product adapted to the target market?

Has your company established business relationships in the target countries?

Lack of information is a crucial barrier for doing international business and might lead to a market failure. Gather information first hand. Know your best sources of information and advice. Possible indicators that your company is ready for internationalisation:
• SME is a member of a network with exporting firms
• SME has access to a network with exporting firms
• SME has business ties with other firms that are exporting
• SME has local supply/distribution networks that are well-established
Masum, M. I., Fernandez, A. (2008). Internationalization Process of SMEs: Strategies and Methods. Master Thesis in Mälardalen University School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology Västerås Sweden.

Do you use e-possibilities to foster marketing and the popularity of your product?

Cross-border e-commerce also provides a unique opportunity for SMEs in countries and regions that may traditionally have found it difficult to reach regional and international markets and connect with potential buyers beyond their borders. E-commerce activity is positively correlated with being active in export or import markets. Cross-border e-commerce has opened up a new, more efficient way to connect producers and merchants directly to customers around the world, bridging the gap between demand and supply. It opens new opportunities by providing new markets, products and services but also by reducing the role of intermediaries, which can result in substantial purchasing discounts. Cross border e-commerce helps SMEs expand their outreach, as it reduces the investment required for a company to become visible in the global market. Online platforms all function to bring consumers to a single virtual marketplace. These platforms have a network effect: once the number of users has surpassed a certain threshold, the marginal cost of attracting newcomers to a website is minimal. This is a benefit that SMEs operating on the platforms can share.
International Trade Centre (2016). Bringing SMEs onto the e-Commerce Highway. ITC, Geneva. Retrieved from:

Do you have long-term, personalized, relations with clients in a direct manner (without intermediaries)?

While these relations are easier to develop in a market characterized by geographical, institutional and cultural proximity, as the distance from international clients grows, these relations become more difficult to develop and maintain.

Do you have details and a specific strategy to enter the target market?

Entrepreneurs needs to consider how their company best can enter a specific market and take into consideration the risk and environmental factors that are associated with the different entry strategies. The selection of a foreign market entry mode is highly significant for a company’s future performance and survival on the international market.
Musso, F., Francioni, B. (2011) Foreign markets entry mode decision for SMEs. Key factors and role of industrial districts. MPRA Paper No. 32153
Establishing an international strategy entails choosing an appropriate competitive strategy, with the right scope and the right balance between the degree of global/local orientation. Different options for regional configuration need to be assessed, based on conditions such as market access, risk management and customer demand characteristics. The success of this strategy will depend on factors such as market conditions, the product life cycle, the entry mode and the timing. Focus on a few key markets at a time.