This post comes from the perspective of Dave Darsch.

Doing business in Europe as an integral part of your global growth strategy, can boost sales, profit, growth and innovation - if you're well prepared. So it's no wonder it's a hot topic, with new tips and tricks published every day. But some of the most common advice is outdated. To make a truly smart expansion plan, you'll need to rethink some of your assumptions about Europe. Here are three misguided assumptions - and some new advice to follow instead.

1. Old assumption: To expand successfully, you have to fully adapt to the culture of the country you're dealing with.

New advice: Bring the most effective U.S. business customs with you, and combine with your new country's methods for the best of both worlds. As one example, when setting up my company in Spain, I had success mixing U.S. work practices with Spanish customs. When it came to working hours and project management, we did things the U.S. way - staff had some flexibility around their work hours and occasionally worked from home, as long as it all got done (Spain is typically a bureaucratic work culture with long, inflexible days at the office). But we also incorporated great Spanish traditions, like long lunches together with the team. The result: happy employees. The same goes for customers - don't adapt to what's traditionally done, but look to improve it. Many Mediterranean and Eastern European countries don't put much emphasis on always-on customer service or E-Commerce options. You could tailor your product to the new country's market, but add U.S.-style extras and service with a smile.

2. Old assumption: Avoid having specific Country Managers - assign Senior Executives strategic responsibility for large regions within Europe, or even EMEA as a whole.

New advice: Consider incorporating elements of the Country Manager role. Make sure you have someone in each country with enough cultural knowledge to report back on important issues and enough authority to take action. You need a senior ambassador for your company on the ground. Remember it's not all about sales and economics know-how. Having someone with deep cultural, political and historical expertise can make sure your company is primed for country-specific geopolitical risks and can act appropriately. In the current moment, it's more important than ever to plan ahead for the possibility of polarizing election results, or big changes like Brexit.

3. Old assumption: Take advantage of the similarities between Europe and America to use Europe as a test market for the U.S.

New advice: Even if you decide to launch in Europe first, approach the region as an important market on its own terms. Don't miss out on a broad and powerful consumer base in Europe by insisting on a one-size-fits-all product designed explicitly to work in both spaces. You can still gauge the overall response to your goods while controlling for localized adaptations to the product. Make sure that fixating on the test market concept doesn't keep you constrained to the countries where the customers or culture most resemble the U.S: you need to weigh up whether those are the most lucrative markets in their own right. Europe can be a great test market and final market, if you plan carefully and avoid limiting your vision. By thinking outside the box and questioning outdated wisdom, you can build a strong internationalization strategy for European success.