The world is a giant filled with billions of tappable customer and consumer potential. As such, an expansion into international waters might just be the growth strategy your startup needs to bolster your business to success. Of course, expanding your business internally can bring immense challenges. From language barriers to market nuances, there’s a lot your growing startup stands to face.
To lessen the strains that come with global expansion, here are four tips for you o consider:
Strategically Consider Your Market Abroad
Even as you expand your company, there are aspects of it that you shouldn’t be willing to compromise on. Customer service and product quality are a just few parts of a company that can’t afford to be sacrificed, no matter how well your company appears to be doing. As such, its pertinent for your startup to expand in areas where there is a talent base that can support its key values. Consider regions where you’ll have access to reliable contacts and an already available user base. Research your markets and make sure that there is enough local talent to support your business’s needs. Finally, ensure that the area you pick can serve as a launch pad for other potential markets.
Start by considering the requirements your company needs to have fulfilled. Also, weigh the market potential of the region you’re hoping to launch off in. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a popular product in one country will be a standout in another. Hailo was a mobile taxi hailing application from London that failed in New York and wasted millions of dollars because its founders failed to accommodate for regional requirements. It attempted to take on the country’s largest taxi market in 2013, but within a number of months retreated because it never attempted to accommodate for an audience or its circumstances which were very different from the ones in London. For your first office outside of your country’s region, consider markets that are most similar to the ones that your business is doing well within your home country. What’s more, be sure to pick a region that has good market potential close by.
Don’t Start Off with A Fully Full-Time Team
By now, if you’re already considering expanding your startup, it’s likely that you know that managing a team isn’t as easy as cake. As such, it can’t come to you as much of a surprise that navigating the literal and cultural oceans that make up the differences between your various teams will be more than complicated. Setting up shop abroad can put an intense strain on the businesses you’ve already built close to home, so be sure that you only set the gears in motion when you’re truly ready.
Consider building your business abroad on the backs of independent and remote contractors. Doing so will give you more time to focus your attention on filling gaps and determining what full-time roles will be a necessity. As you come to an understanding of managing different time schedules that are spread across time zones you’ll build a greater comprehension of what is needed to build your global presence.
Get Your Boots on the Ground
While a lot of work can be done remotely, there will come a point in your international ventures that you will just have to be there. You’ll want to get in touch with your local business patterns and make in-person meetings with potential employers. Especially because these associates of yours will want to see that you are visibly invested in your ventures.
Global Presence, Local Relevance
Maintaining the culture of your company will be key to the success of your company as it expands to international waters. Ensure that while your company disperses across the globe that the DNA of its foundation and mission don’t become lost in translation. Be sure to hire employees with strong communication skills and the ability to operate on their own without going rogue. More than just having your concepts and business understood, you’ll want to make sure that you also understand the concepts and businesses that work for your international market. A business will only go so far internationally if it meets a local market’s relevance. This inability to relate to a local market is what ultimately let Hailo’s downfall in New York.
The company struggled to kick off because what had made it a success to users in London failed to translate to its audience in New York. Hailo attempted to infiltrate the New York market by appealing to existing taxi drivers who would then connect with potential passengers. The thing was, the cab drivers in London operate under completely different circumstances in New York. While drivers tend to struggle with finding fares in London, New York cab drivers are able to find them with relative ease. Take a tip from Hailo’s mistake and make sure that you’re positioning your brand so that it services users and their direct needs.