“The shell must break before the bird can fly.”
Lord Alfred Tennyson
The greatest obstacle to growth today is not national borders, but the boundaries established by the mindset. Those companies that can develop strategies that go beyond their borders get a chance to become global players by reaching a critical size.
We can learn a lot from the strategies of Spanish companies. While Spain was restructuring its economy, Spanish companies were intensifying their activities in Latin American countries with which they enjoyed close cultural ties. Immediately after its own privatization Telefonica became an active player in the privatization of telecom companies in Latin American countries. As a result it multiplied its market value which then enabled it to play even bigger games. Today it is interested in the privatization of Turk Telecom. Unfortunately, Turk Telekom did not even make a bid in the privatization of telecoms in countries like Romania and Georgia. The telecom company of Greece, considerably smaller than Turkish telekom acquired shares in these countries’ privatizations.
Recently Iberdrola, Spain’s second largest company made a bid of $11 billion to buy Florida’s electric utility company in order to get a foothold in the American market. Thanks to its activities and speedy growth in Latin America and Portugal that Iberdrola reached a size that enabled it to make the highest bid ever for any electrical company in the United States.
In today’s economies one of the factors that determines the value of a company is the number of customers served. Turkey is surrounded by countries with large markets. The values of the companies in these countries are low. We have both a cultural affinity with these countries and the experience of the economic transformation they are undergoing. This presents Turkish companies with an opportunity: To attain fast growth in these markets where global players have not yet focussed.
Turkish companies that aspire to become players in the global markets should grab this opportunity and run with it. Learning from other successful experiences is the basis of development. We need to understand that our periphery is a source of power and that we have to activate this potential rapidly. The key to success is in the ability to go beyond mental boundaries.