For a firm considering a new foreign market, there are three broad categories of international business: trade, international licensing of technology and intellectual property, and foreign direct investment. A company developing a business plan may have different elements of all three categories depending on the type of product or service.
The choice of entry depends on the firm’s experience, the nature of its product or services, capital resources, and the amount of risk it’s willing to consider (Schaffer et al, 2005). The risk between these three categories of market entry varies significantly with trade ranked the least risky if the company does not have offices overseas and does not keep inventories there. On the other side of the spectrum is direct foreign investment, which generally brings the greatest economic exposure and thus the greatest risk to the company.