In this modern age of globalisation, decision-making skills that facilitate international expansion are highly valued. Ideal for small business owners and business advisors, analysts and managers, our short business courses, such as the Introduction to International Business will enable you to support the strategies, development and management of organisations on a worldwide scale.
Short business courses focusing on international business provide the fundamentals to interpret trends in Australian and international markets. You will learn about data collection and data sources, interpreting domestic and international trends, and the cultural impacts on buyer behaviour and business activity. You will also study analysis tools like SWOT and PEST, and gain the promotional skills to optimise the growth of products and services including online and via networking, trade fairs and conferences.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking short business courses include:
- Exploring how to interpret and take advantage of trends in Australian and international markets
- Studying the research process and how to analyse data from international markets
- Gaining insights into data collection and data sources
- Examining how trends impact international business activity
- Understanding cultural impacts on business activity and culture and buyer behaviour
- Exploring effective communication and trend analysis
- Studying target markets and market segments
- Gaining insights into time series analysis
- Examining measures of central tendency and dispersion
- Understanding quantitive and qualitative data analysis and collection
- Learning about SWOT analysis, the STEEP model and PEST diagrams
- Exploring competitor comparison and profiling
- Studying research reports, written report formats and marketing plans
- Gaining insight into forecasting international markets and business needs
- Examining competitors and how to gather and document marketing intelligence
- Understanding commercial services and organisation vision and needs
- Learning about international joint ventures
- Exploring online marketing, core business strategies and forecasting
- Studying core activities, customer base, values and directions
- Gaining insights into business values and performance comparisons
- Examining strengths, weaknesses and critical success factors
- Understanding products and services and capabilities and resources
- Learning about trends and developments, the research process and the use of search results
- Exploring threats and opportunities
- Studying advance warning of new products and services
- Gaining insights into legal, ethical and environmental constraints
- Examining time series forecasting techniques
- Understanding how to forecast emerging international marketing needs
- Learning how to promote products and services to international markets
- Exploring promotions, promotional messages and promotional objectives
- Studying the impact of culture
5 Trends That Will Change Business in 2020 and Beyond
When undertaking short business courses like our Introduction to International Business, you will study some of the trends in Australian and international markets. According to the Export Council of Australia, after years of slowing global growth and trade wars, the future is looking up for Australian companies that are keen to grow and expand. Here are five key trends they are forecasting.
#1 – New markets for trade
Despite concerns about growing protectionism, trade liberalisation is continuing. Australia now has trade pacts with most major Asian economies and is further strengthening its relations with key trading partners like the United States.
This is great news for Australian businesses looking to go offshore or expand their international trade. For example, lower barriers to trade in parts of the world, including in Asia, will enable companies to diversify their customer bases and access the world’s fast-growing middle classes. Australian businesses can also potentially expect more trade pacts, notably with the European Union (EU) and potentially the United Kingdom.
#2 – Historically low interest rates
As central banks cut interest rates to counter soft economic growth, some companies are capitalising on the opportunity to make larger operating and capital investments. Many Australian businesses see interest rate fluctuations as the second biggest external influence on their growth prospects. Strong corporates will likely take advantage of low-interest rates to pull forward the investment needed to accelerate growth.
#3 – Evolving technologies
Machines are continuing to take over repetitive and mundane tasks as digitisation increases, which frees up employees to focus on higher-value work. Blockchain technologies can accelerate international transactions by enabling parties to process payments digitally instead of via paper-based letters of credit. This can reduce the time required to execute trade transactions from 10 days to less than 24 hours. The arrival of high-speed 5G mobile communications is also significant and will speed up merchandise production and distribution.
Other game-changers are robotics and the Internet of Things, which should both increase productivity and efficiency. It will also enable companies to optimise working capital and efficiency in terms of payments, as it will become even faster and more convenient to move money.
#4 – Focus on sustainability
Concern about sustainability and climate change will only gain ground in the future, especially given the bushfire crisis in Australia experienced in 2019/2020.
Today’s customers are more likely to do their research before buying in terms of whether a product has social or environmental impacts. As such, many organisations are feeling pressure to become more ethically and environmentally sustainable.
Companies will therefore need to adapt and review supply chains to enusre increasingly high standards of sustainability. This includes putting sustainability on their business agenda, engaging independent stakeholders with expertise, gaining access to high-quality internal reporting on performance, and understanding their carbon footprint.
#5 – Rising consumption
Increasing incomes and wealth are driving a remarkable rise in consumption, particularly in North Asia. In China, for example, the growth of its middle class has led to greater spending. Now the propensity of its young customers to spend more than save is helping diversify its economy. This offers a substantial opportunity for Australian trade.
It is estimated that by 2030, over fifty per cent of Chinese households are expected to become richer, which will give them a greater ability to spend. For Australian businesses looking at these markets, it is crucial to be aware of diverse consumer demographics, as well as preferences and behaviours.
SWOT and PEST Analyses
Analysis is a valuable tool in short business courses, including when studying international business. Two standardised methods used across the globe are SWOT and PEST analyses. But how do they differ?
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat. It’s a term often used in business strategic planning to help identify internal and external factors affecting business. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to a business and are things that can be controlled. Opportunities and threats are external and are often out of an organisation’s control.
- Strengths – a SWOT analysis will help you identify areas of your business that are performing well. These areas are your critical success factors and they give your business a competitive advantage.
- Weaknesses – these are the characteristics that put your business at a disadvantage to others. A SWOT analysis can help you identify these characteristics and improve or minimise them before they become an issue.
- Opportunities – these can be created by external factors, such as changes in the market and new consumer trends. A SWOT analysis can help you identify opportunities that your business could take advantage of.
- Threats – these are external factors that could cause problems for your business, such as a new government policy or changes to the market. It can help you identify threats and ways to counteract them, depending on your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses.
Typically, more value can be gained from a SWOT analysis if it’s conducted with a specific question or objective in mind. For example, it can be used to decide if and how you can take advantage of a new business opportunity, respond to new trends, implement new technology or deal with changes to your competitors’ operations. It can also be used to address individual business issues like staffing issues, business culture and image, new product development, organisational structure, financial resources and operational efficiency.
A PEST analysis is a process for identifying the political, economic, social and technological factors that affect your supply chains – both locally and globally. It will give you a better understanding of the environment in which your business operates, and the external factors that may impact the production of your goods or services. You can also carry out a PEST analysis on the buyer, which will give you insights into their requirements and needs. These include:
- Political factors include current and planned or future legislation, government policies, regulatory agencies, political change like elections, grants, funding and other initiatives, and local and international trading environments.
- Economic factors include economic trends and growth, local interest, tax, exchange and inflation rates, trade cycles, international economic factors and industry trends.
- Social factors include consumer and lifestyle trends, demographics, media opinions, ethical issues and major world or local events.
- Technological factors include innovation, research and development, automation, the digital economy, telecommunications and technology incentives.
Gain foundational knowledge in international business to position a company for growth into global markets with short business courses such as our Introduction to International Business.