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2 – Going international for small businesses : How to develop an adaptation strategy based on product adaptation?.

2 – Going international for small businesses : How to develop an adaptation strategy based on product adaptation?.

It is a fact. Today more than even, it is very hard to find a market across the world where there is no competition. This competition includes innovation, manufacturing process, technological performances, design,quality of product, prices, marketing, packaging,warranties,etc.

In addition, experience shows that when those combinations are well prepared, they boost not only productivity but also growth and profitability of exporters.That is why Groups and companies having enough money and looking to enter new markets invest in adaptation strategy in order to perform their competitiveness.




In contrast, small businesses looking to exporting and to going international  often suffer from lack of funds. and therefore have trouble in  building adaptation strategy based on all the combinations associated with competitiveness.

What can small businesses do?

With little or no financial resources, small businesses are not strong enough to develop adaptation strategy based on the competition’s combinations described above. However, they can try to meet target markets by adapting their products and building on what’s been successful for them in foreign markets.

In this optic and  before proceeding with adaptation of their products, small businesses should do what follows:

  • Knowing how to enter the target markets
  • Well preparing their products for export;
  • Knowing how to meet the needs of customers.

In another words, small businesses should not believe that their products can be exported without some modifications.

Product adaptation:

Generally speaking, product adaptation is “a process of adapting an otherwhise standardized product to meet the needs of a particular market”.However, some companies and exporters believe that their domestic products can be exported without significant modifications and others seek to develop uniform products that are acceptable in all markets.

In exporting, the reality is different. In fact, the adaptation of product is an essential consideration as far as the product may need to be modified in order to conform the foreign market for many reasons.

Among those reasons, there are geographic and climatic conditions, religion practices, standing living (purchasing power) of population, design, packaging, government regulations and competitors. As a consequence, brainding may have to be modified to conform cultural conditions, color used on label and package may have to conform government regulations, product’s quality and packaging may have to be ameliorated (because poor quality of packaging can be mean poor quality product) , product’s size may have to be modified to facilate shipment,etc.

Adaptation strategy  based on product adaptation:

For small businesses, an adaptation strategy is  a process of shaping changes to enter in the target markets and to improve the acceptance of their products by the markets. Those changes  primarily depend on the level of small business’s adaptability  and  capacity to improve not only their adaptation to foreign markets but also their ability to meet buyers preferences.In this context, product adaptation constitues an essential component of the adaptation strategy.It can help small businesses to expand their business. It can also give them the opportunitiy to increase revenue by entering new markets for their existing products.

The question is:How to develop an adaptation strategy?  For small businesses willing to develop an efficient adaptation strategy,  there are four (4) key factors associated with the target markets to be carrefully considered when developing adaptation strategy. Those factors are the following:

  • Climatic conditions: Humidity for example can affect the quality and/or the performance of the product offered;
  • Cultural considerarions that may influence brainding and/or packaging;
  • Buyers preferences: For example visual impact of product, color used on label, size of packaging, quality of product, price in rapport with the purchasing power….
  • Competitor’s product specifications: In order to identify aspects of  small business own product for improvenment.

In accordance with identifying and  analysing those factors, small business can change his dynamic in export  and positively impact his adaptability to the market in order to meet customers’s needs and to develop an efficient adaptation strategy.


In export, the opportunities abund. Product adaptation constitues one of the most important success factors to take advanrage of the opportunities offered in exporting. According what an adaptation strategy based on product adaptation is vital to small business’s success in entering new market. If developed correctly, it can really help him to improve not only his adaptation to the market bcut also his ability to meet buyers preferences.



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