Have you ever looked a company like Uber or WhatsApp and wondered how they got so successful? Have you ever looked at your own company and thought:

“I wish I could turn this sucker into an international success story”?

When you’re in small business, scaling up and expanding overseas can seem like an insurmountable task.

Where to start? There are so many things to get your head around, so many things to plan and do … how do you juggle it all and manage your existing clients? For many business owners, the mere thought of an international expansion project is so terrifying that it sends them running for the hills.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Look around and you’ll see that lots of internationally successful companies started as tiny operations.

RecruitLoop, which is headquartered in San Francisco and operates in 54 countries started 6 years ago, with two guys in a co-working space in Sydney, Australia.

Bondi Born, started by Aussie girl, Dale McCarthy, is only 2.5 years old but is already capturing market share in Europe, the US and China.

Margot McKinney began her career as a family jeweller in Queensland and now sells her coloured gemstones America-wide, including to Hollywood’s glitterati.

So here’s the thing:

‘Going global’ is much easier than it looks from the outside, but most small companies miss out.

What stops them? I believe that the biggest obstacle is the lack of a global mindset and a belief that international success is something that “other people achieve”.

Let’s flip it around: what do you need to get started on the path to international success?

I believe there are just three things you need to get started:

Have a global mindset

The global mindset says,

“I can take my company global”

“I know that there is no place for small picture thinking here”

“I accept that going global will be an adventure …. ”

“I’m prepared to be flexible … and ready to solve problems on the go”.

Understand what makes your product unique

If you’re going to be an international success, you need to stand out from the crowd.

You need to understand what makes your company and your products unique, so that you know whether you have a viable global product.

Identify opportunities for growth

You need to identify the opportunities for growth because unless you get clear on what the opportunities out there for your company are, you’re unlikely to ever do anything about it (at least, not deliberately).

And that’s how you get started with making your company an international success.

Cynthia Dearin

Cynthia Dearin is an international business strategist, advisor, keynote speaker and author of Amazon best-seller Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires: Your Guide to Business Culture in the Middle East and North Africa. With 18 years of international experience, as an Australian diplomat and management consultant, she is the Founder and Managing Director of Dearin Associates and the International Business Accelerator that helps clients to access opportunities in fast-growing international markets around the world.