As I work with business owners and executives who are expanding their companies internationally, I’ve found that most of them deal with similar challenges as the project ramps up:

  • Competing priorities – with an international business starting to grow alongside the domestic one, there are suddenly lots more things to do and priorities start to compete.
  • Squeezed for time – with more to do and the same number of hours in the day, time is suddenly at a premium.
  • “I feel overloaded/tired/ freaked out” – that combination of a lot to do and limited time can get pretty uncomfortable!

In the worst case scenario, this combination of lots to do, little time and bad “internal weather” (how we’re feeling about things) can lead to ‘overwhelm’ – the project leader gets overloaded and burnt out s/he loses focus and the team and the international expansion project loses momentum and  direction. Not ideal at all.

Here are some things you can do to make sure that ‘overwhelm’ doesn’t tank your international project:

  • Take a step back  – review where you’ve come from and what territory you’ve covered. With some perspective, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ve already achieved.
  • Focus on priority areas – Decide to work only (or primarily)on the projects that will ‘deliver maximum impact – other items can wait until later. Give yourself permission to be selective – no-one else will do it for you!
  • Choose key tasks – Choose 1- 3 projects to complete for for international expansion and set deadlines. Get the first one done this month.


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.