Growing and expanding internationally: a strategic approach to globalisation

Key themes shaping sustainable strategies across new horizons.

In these volatile times, where major geopolitical, economic, sustainability, and technological issues are disrupting and reshaping every aspect of our lives, it might be reasonable to assume that companies would want to adopt a safety-first approach.

Increasingly however, a growing number of businesses are identifying the opportunities that appear amid the disruption and are looking to grow their operations and open new markets abroad.

In our most recent C-suite barometer report, 94% of executives said they were identifying growth opportunities and a quarter of them are actively looking to expand their operations internationally. Business leaders are optimistic about global growth opportunities, seeing potential in regions spanning Europe, North America, and China. Each of these markets presents its own set of unique challenges. Drawing from comprehensive research and expert perspectives, we identify three pivotal themes that will shape the success of companies looking to grow.

Navigating regulatory complexity

The first theme is learning to navigate the increasing complexity of regulation, whether it be around finance, tax, technology, or sustainability. Companies that seek to expand internationally now must find a route through many different types of compliance. For instance, technology companies expanding into the EU must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which imposes strict data privacy requirements and significant penalties for non-compliance.

Healthcare and life sciences companies face even more stringent regulations due to the nature of their products. In this context, having a global perspective paired with local expertise becomes crucial. Companies that successfully manage regulatory compliance can reduce risks and build trust with stakeholders, providing a competitive edge in new markets.

Harnessing the power of reporting and insight

Understanding how reporting can provide a competitive advantage and an engine for global growth is a core part of successful international expansion. Corporate reporting has long been viewed as a critical element of compliance and fulfilling a licence to operate in different jurisdictions, but it’s rarely been considered a growth opportunity. As reporting evolves, particularly with the rise of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, it offers insights that go beyond financial health.

Investors are increasingly looking at how companies perform in areas such as sustainability and corporate governance, and companies that excel in ESG reporting will increasingly be able to attract further investment and command higher market valuations.

Expanding supply chains with confidence

There is increasing pressure to invest in ways businesses can supercharge and streamline their supply chains by building partnerships and harnessing technology. One of the toughest challenges any business faces when expanding internationally is establishing and managing a supply chain that is robust, compliant, and competitive. As in every other area of operations, technology and sustainability best practices are changing how companies build and operate their supply chains.

C-suite executives around the world are identifying digitalisation as a top investment priority, particularly in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, Big Data analytics, and Blockchain-based ledger documentation. These technologies help companies rethink their reliance on complex supply chains by using data and hardware to introduce circular economy practices, regenerative production, and localised operations.

Throughout 2024, our Growing Global series will take a deep dive into these key themes and explore how companies can overcome the challenges and realise the opportunities they face when expanding internationally. The benefits of a strategic international expansion are clear: market diversification, increased revenue potential, enhanced brand image, and access to global talent and innovation.

However, the path to successful global growth is paved with complexity. By understanding and navigating regulatory landscapes, leveraging advanced reporting as a growth tool, and harnessing the power of technology to optimise supply chains, businesses can position themselves to thrive on the international stage.