Your company has received SMART Pathways funding - what's next?

Key information:

  • Funding for business development is one of the most important moments for a company, which requires the right approach and strategy.
  • The SMART track promotes the development of research and innovation capabilities of companies, requiring the use of one of two main modules (research or innovation implementation). It also offers additional optional modules.
  • If you represent a company that has received funding for internationalization, among other things, we can help you prepare an effective market entry strategy.
  • Internationalization of a company is a complicated process that requires a thorough market analysis, a detailed business plan, a flexible approach, adaptation to local market needs, and patience.
  • Preparing a comprehensive overseas expansion strategy consists of, among other things, careful planning, market analysis, goal setting, risk management, understanding the competition and developing a marketing plan.
  • Using consulting firms is an outside perspective that brings a fresh perspective on the situation. It's also an opportunity to have your own assumptions tested and verified by an expert outside your organization. You can save your time, energy and resources by doing so.
  • Creating a strategy for entering new markets by a team of consultants is a process that can take from 1 to 6 months, depends on many factors, and costs vary depending on the scope of the analysis and the client's needs.

We invite you to read more!

Did you get a grant, but don't know what to do next?

Receiving a grant is undoubtedly one of the most important stages in the development of your business, which requires the right strategy and approach. It is worth considering how best to use these funds to achieve your goals. As experts who help with the internationalization process on a daily basis, in this article we will try to provide you with valuable tips that will help you effectively manage EU funding and achieve business success, regardless of your industry!

Haven't filled out a business development grant application yet? Take a look at the article on our website that explains Everything you need to know about the FENG Program and the SMART Path!

What to spend the funding on?

SMART Pathway is to develop and strengthen the research and innovation capacity of enterprises, focusing on the implementation of innovative product and process solutions, as well as promoting the digitization and transformation of companies in the spirit of sustainable development, supporting the internationalization of companies and developing the competence of employees.

In order to better understand how to make the most effective use of EU funding, here are examples of projects for which the funds received can be used:

  1. Conducting research and development work.
  2. Implementation of R&D results.

When applying for funding, small and medium-sized enterprises must compulsorily include at least one of the two modules listed above. However, the project may include five additional optional modules, which include:

  1. Construction or expansion of R&D infrastructure.
  2. Industrial property protection.
  3. Improving the competence of human resources.
  4. Green and digital transformation of enterprises.
  5. Promotion of products in foreign markets, in other words Internationalization of the enterprise. This is a point where we can help you and therefore, if you have already received funding under this module, the rest of this article is for you.

What can the internationalization module funds be used for?

The module is designed to enable the internationalization of your company's business. It includes support for the internationalization of products, which means the promotion of products abroad under your company's brand. This applies to both existing products and those planned for development or implementation under the project.

You can use the funding for:

  • Covering the costs of participation in trade fairs or fair and conference events (e.g., costs of organizing a booth, transportation, employee business travel),
  • Covering business travel costs of employees participating in foreign economic missions (e.g., transportation, accommodation, per diems),
  • External services related to participation in trade fairs, foreign trade missions and inbound economic missions of international stature,
  • services and fees related to the protection (and defense) of industrial property rights,
  • Consulting services for the internationalization of your product.

Internationalization of SMEs - how to approach it?

This is a question that many small and medium-sized companies ask themselves when they are thinking about expanding into international markets. In today's global world, internationalization can be the key to success, but it requires the right approach and strategy. Therefore, we will take a step-by-step look at how SMEs can successfully expand their business abroad, avoiding mistakes and achieving success.

What steps should be taken before the internationalization itself to make it a success?

First, market analysis. Before you begin internationalization, conduct a thorough analysis of your target market. Understand the culture, market trends, customer preferences and competitors. Make sure there is a demand for your product or service in that market - check to see if you have what is known as a "market intelligence". Product-Market-Fit (PMF).

Second, business plan. Develop a detailed business plan that includes goals, strategy, timeline and budget. You should also include a risk analysis, including legal, cultural and political aspects.

Third, form of internationalization. Consider what form you want to take. For innovative products, the most common options include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct and indirect exports,
  • Franchise,
  • Local production,
  • Licensing,
  • Sales of cloud products (in the ICT/IT industry),
  • E-commerce platforms.

The choice will depend on the type of your business, industry and available resources.

It's also worth remembering to analyze the competition and determine what differentiates your product or service from other companies and what your unique value proposition is. Just as important is tailoring your solution to local needs and preferences. Create marketing campaigns tailored to the culture and language of your target market to avoid discouraging local communities. Additionally, to avoid wasting resources, you need to target people who are actually your target audience. To do this, conducting consumer research and then creating buyer personas will help.

Of course, it should be mentioned that internationalization is a long-term process. Be patient and ready to invest time and resources in developing your international presence.

And most importantly, Internationalization of a company is a complex process that requires diligence, analysis and flexibility. Get help from experts and advisors who know specific international markets and have helped companies facing similar challenges!

How to prepare a foreign expansion strategy?

The preparation of the strategy itself requires very careful planning and analysis. There is some overlap with the steps that fall out before internationalization, but to the point. What should a comprehensive strategy include?

  1. Definition of objectives:
  • Determine what goals you want to achieve with overseas expansion, such as increasing revenue, expanding your geographic reach, gaining new customers.
  1. Market analysis:
  • Evaluate market size, trends, competition, regulations, growth prospects, best practices and barriers to entry.
  • Identify potential risks, such as political, economic, legal and cultural.
  • Determine your company's position in the market.
  1. Competition study:
  • Understand the competition in your target market. Study their offerings, customer profile, sales channels, and marketing activities and investments.
  • Identify your unique competitive advantages.
  1. Strategy construction:
  • Develop a marketing plan, taking into account local advertising and promotion channels.
  • Consider how to align your message with cultural expectations and preferences.
  • Prepare a risk management plan.
  • Create a pricing strategy for your service or product
  • Make sure you have the right logistics infrastructure and supply chain to serve the foreign market.

Remember that you are not on your own! It's also a good idea to consult foreign expansion experts and advisors to avoid potential mistakes and increase your chances of success in the foreign market.

Wondering if you need the help of a consulting firm?

Imagine that you are in front of a large field full of potential treasures, but each of them is hidden under a layer of soil and you need the right tools to extract them. How can you find these treasures and extract them effectively? This is the moment when a consulting firm can prove to be a saving partner.

Consulting companies are nothing more than experts in the field of extracting hidden treasures. They have the tools, techniques and experience necessary to accurately locate and extract potential resources. With them, we can avoid improper steps that could harm the extraction process.

Consultants not only help find hidden wealth, but also help us optimize processes. Thanks to their experience working with other companies, they know the best practices and strategies that help achieve success. What may be a challenge for us is an everyday occurrence for them.

It is also worth noting that using the services of consulting companies, We save not only time, but also energy and resources. We can benefit from the knowledge and skills of experts, allowing us to focus on our main goals and areas of business. It's like hiring an experienced miner who knows how to extract treasures, while we can deal with making the most of them.

What does the consulting service look like from the funding?

The scope of such a project can vary widely, depending on the size of the company, what it does, and exactly what its needs are. For one company, it may be just a market or competitive analysis, for another it may be the entry strategy itself, and for a third it may be the development of the analysis, the strategy, as well as assistance in implementing it into reality.

I have decided on a project. What's next?

Once you have decided to use ConQuest Consulting's consulting services, you will be contacted by the Project Manager responsible for leading the project to arrange managerial consultations. These will serve to develop clear project goals and select the most appropriate direction for internationalization.

Then a project team consisting of a Project Supervisor, Project Manager and Consultants will start working on developing the strategy and all its elements. A strategy built without a company to implement it is meaningless, so the project team will schedule regular workshops and status meetings with you to make sure 100% that everything is moving in the right direction.

Price and time of preparation of internationalization strategy

It can take time for our team to prepare a strategy to enter new markets 1 to 6 months, depending on the chosen method of analysis and the availability of the necessary data. However, accurately determining the time required to develop such a strategy is a challenge. The timing depends on the specific market in which we plan to expand our presence. In addition, much depends on the scope and depth of the analysis you want to conduct, as well as the number of factors you are considering.

The cost of creating a full strategy by a consulting firm can vary, oscillating from several to tens of thousands of zlotys, depending on various factors. These factors include the availability of market data, the need for primary research, the number of participants in the research group, the level of detail required, and the client's priorities regarding key aspects of the strategy.

Who have we helped enter a new market?

Since 1998, we at ConQuest Consulting have completed more than 1,200 projects, helping organizations both in Poland and abroad achieve their strategic goals. Our effectiveness is confirmed by numerous recommendations. If you want to find out exactly what our cooperation with other companies looked like, we invite you to read our Case Studies:

Albert Kornacki

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