It is, perhaps, commonplace to listen to a returning traveler from abroad speak about how relieved they are to be back home or just how different it is overseas or cross-border. Yet this perspective is nothing more than an experience derived from witnessing an array of distinctions that a traveler suddenly finds when taken from their organic environment and placed into a foreign one.
When considered, some of these differences often include distinctions of culture, economics, history, values, geography, technology, etc.
Our international work has generated value for clients we have nurtured and developed over the years. That international experience begins with providing design services to the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies. Our track record includes over 300 international projects.
Over time, our mission “To create a built environment that enables people to succeed,” as well as the research and collection of local information, interfacing with local building officials and contractors, has led to opportunities such as:
- Optimizing energy performance for a building in the Saharan climate
- BIM modeling over 250,000 square feet of support infrastructure in the Middle East
- Designing engineering systems for a LEED platinum embassy in Helsinki, Finland
Whatever the project, we use our experience to manage each individual task, to understand the risks involved, how we would best operate, and the added value we can provide to our clients.
When entering the international marketplace, you need to consider each of the following:
1) The idea - begin with an alignment of values, a strategic position, a development of competitive advantage, and the value for a client or prospective client.
2) The plan –give great consideration to a business plan, a local partner, contract scrutiny, knowing your client, legal advice, investment capital, a skilled management team, a risk management team, and utilizing prior relationships.
3) The back-check –when it comes to “green-lighting,” an international venture often hinges on the executive team’s preparation for the unexpected. In-depth research and analysis are keys to success.
When it comes to investing your organization’s capital in foreign markets, remember it is not what you know, but what you don’t know, especially when it comes to the associated risks. Knowing how to organize and fine-tune those details will ultimately lead to a higher probability of success.