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Careful Planning Can Minimize Business Risks

Textile companies lured to international markets expecting to find success often overlook some of the risks involved in doing business in foreign countries and will find themselves struggling to meet their business objectives, according to a Charlotte, N.C., management consultant.A lot of textile companies look to expand operations outside the U.S. because of lower labor costs, said Todd Beddard, vice president of NorelliandCo., a management consulting firm specializing in the middle market. But in addition to lower labor costs, there are a lot of risks that go along with such a move.According to Beddard, risks companies can face in foreign markets include political and economic instability, currency fluctuation and an unskilled workforce.U.S. companies should also consider the cost of failure before setting up operations in another country.A given country may quickly reach its import quota for certain products, which presents significant risks for companies trying to import their products back to the United States, Beddard said. A company unable to import its product could be faced with a huge cost failure.Beddard said that companies considering an international move can minimize business risks by networking with companies already operating outside the United States for advice on managing the transition. Companies should also research the destination countrys language, culture and customs, as well as political and economic strengths and weaknesses.It is important for U.S. businesses to do their homework before entering the global arena, Beddard said. Start small and ease into it.

February 1999




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