"Globalization doesn't mean standardization," notes Carol Hymowitz in the WSJ.com article European Executives Give Some Advice on Crossing Borders." In fact, when considering taking your products overseas, business owners should create strategies that cater to countries' varying cultural tastes.

(Note: You need to be a WSJ.com online subscriber to log in to read the full article. If you're not, I've highlighted the main points here.)

Hymowitz cites a few missteps made by large US companies that share some good lessons, e.g., Procter & Gamble's push to sell solid stick deodorant to a European market that mostly uses aerosol, and its push to sell premium Pamper diapers to Germans who mainly shop at discount stores. In both cases, P&G had to rethink their strategy after having entered the market.

Other bits of advice from European executives: hire and promote local employees to establish better connections with overseas customers and constantly reassess the markets you're in, just in case there might be bigger opportunities elsewhere.