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Can a Local/domestic defend against Multi-National Companies in the age of Cross Border Commerce?

I’ve been doing a lot of analysis lately around the strategic advantage local/domestic vendors have in home markets against incursion from large multi national companies (MNCs). Outside of intense government intervention such as what you see in China or India, what is the best defensive action?

One growing trend which I support is deploying an offensive strategy by going regional and potentially global. As a company with a unique local strength instead of selling only to your local customer base, target to the broader market your ability to sell to that local customer base.

The big players have many issues with selling in new markets. Customer targeting and acquisition is one of the biggest. Over time MNCs either figure it out themselves or they acquire locally to capture the market knowledge.

Cross Border E-Commerce is a particular threat to local vendors. A company no longer has to establish physical facilities to acquire customers in other markets. Further customers are using increased access to the internet to reach new channels for buying
products. Local vendors must either enhance the value of what they sell or they must learn how to profit from the trend.

Local players would be wise to heed the quote from the 17th century poet Milton in Paradise Lost “ Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven”. In business to me this means better to control the fate of your business than to let others do so for you.