Expanding presence outside your country of origin can be an uphill task, particularly for startups. But it can yield high growth for the business. If your product is solving a problem that is global in nature, by all means, take the leap of faith. However, be mindful of your actions. Ask yourself, is it good for my business or good for my ego?
Each market behaves differently from the other, although each teaches important lessons you can put to use.
You would be flooded with advices from fellow entrepreneurs, veterans and your investors, and feel pulled in different directions. The best approach — and something that has worked over and over for companies, including ours — would be to keep innovating with your customers as you go along! If the product has value, is reliable and solves a real need, you will be able to sell it.
Your first few global customers will help boost your confidence, improve your risk appetite and give you all the motivation you need to move ahead in the direction you set for yourself. However, agility will be key to your growth. Flexibility to cope with the local customer preferences, governance mechanisms, cultural sensitivity and workforce ambitions will be critical to success.
Don’t start with profit on your mind.
No matter how small your operation in the home country is, or how young your business might be, it’s never a bad time to start considering expansion in markets similar to your own.
The focus in such a case should be on getting a proof of concept in the countries of business interest and build as much user base as possible for your product.
It’s nothing less than a dream-come-true for entrepreneurs to start a business from scratch and expand their presence in countries they once had difficulty spotting on the globe.
Here are some ingredients to a global recipe for young startups dreaming big:
This may sound simple and intuitive, but do pay attention to detail. Be prepared with information about how each market will respond to a product like yours.
There is no doubt about the importance of doing a thorough and honest analysis of competition in markets of your interest. While confidence in your product and its potential is critical, so is humility. Being fully aware of your competitor’s strengths and market share will help you determine your USPs and entry strategy, whether to compete on additional features, pricing, quality or something else.
As a starting point, target verticals similar to the ones that have higher chances of acceptance of your product based on experience in the country of origin. Use cross-country referrals, sound different and better, but not desperate while talking to your prospects.
Business alliances and affiliate marketing go a long way in achieving growth objectives. Local partners can potentially add significant value and credibility to your business as well as to the customer experience owing to the local expertise.
Encourage higher usage and timely feedback from your customers. Your support staff should be able to identify heavy/low usage, take steps to improve usage, engage with customers and guide them throughout their journey. These simple steps go a long way in making your product sticky, because a lot of customers tend to use a limited set of features without exploring the complete potential.
Users First, Revenue Second
User experience is what should drive you during the initial days of expansion. Do not worry about revenue. The objective should be to acquire users for your product in the local market at a no-profit-no-loss price point, learn from their experience and scale.
It is in best interest of the company to hire locally for various reasons. Local employees can help the company learn some important insights about the market. It is important from the sales and operations effectiveness.
With the initial traction, new customers, local employees, local partners and product localization for each market, you will be able to build a significant user base. The next step definitely will be revenue from each of these markets.
Cross all your mental barriers and Make it BIG. It’s never late to start dreaming global
If you’re taking baby steps towards your global dream, we can help you with international toll-free numbers and more.