Expanding Your Business into Canada and Mexico

Category: International Business

Given the degree to which U.S. companies have come to depend on foreign markets for growth, it’s probably just a matter of time before your business will need to consider international expansion in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Canada and Mexico offer rich opportunities with lower investment costs, as we outlined in our final 2011 quarterly newsletter. Conveniences of geographic proximity, familiar time zones, and established legal and tax incentives all make Canada and Mexico an ideal springboard for debuting your international business strategy. Additionally, Canadian and Mexican customers are frequently familiar with popular U.S. brands and media.

Canada

Canada is home to 32 million people, with more than ninety percent of the population within 100 miles of the U.S. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), American-made products cross into Canada almost duty-free and trade between the U.S. and Canada exceeds $1.6 billion daily.

The primary challenge with Canada involves understanding the broad range of cultural attitudes across its enormous geographical area, as well as the nation’s official bilingualism. If you target French-speaking territories, your packaging, marketing, and publicity will require both English and French.

Mexico

With over 109 million inhabitants, Mexico has grown into the 13th largest economy in the world. The U.S. is Mexico’s most dominant import and export partner — 50% of Mexico’s imports last year were of American origin, representing $163 billion in revenue.

Despite challenges of violence in northern Mexico and relatively anti-competitive practices in energy and telecommunications sectors, analysts project Mexico will be a core contributor to some of the most explosive global growth in terms of emerging economies.

In terms of language, Mexico is one of the more straightforward countries for English to Spanish translation. In fact, if you currently market your product to Hispanic audiences elsewhere, you may have a significant portion of your marketing- and sales-related translation work accomplished already.

International Can Be Close to Home

If you’ve operated on a strictly domestic basis, don’t jump to the conclusion your global expansion strategy will involve distant countries. The right global move may be closer than you think, and lessons learned closer to home will help inform your first experience overseas. Your products and services could be an ideal fit for a broader North American customer base. In terms of Canada and Mexico, opportunity surrounds you.

For a more detailed look at other companies who have made Mexico and Canada a source of international revenue, read our full Q4 2011 newsletter article here.