In the 21st century, remarkable with the technology revolution, it seems rather easy to present your project to the international market, just by placing it in the cloud and thus opening access to the SaaS for example. Some companies launch their business in several global spots from the very beginning, in order to cover a bigger audience. However, the reality is that not every company manages to achieve such rapid product adoption. In this connection, startups should work out a proper scaling strategy before entering new markets.
In order to determine where and when to go global, it is first worth understanding the three key concepts, related to your startup: product readiness, market attractiveness and business drivers. As soon as you see that more than one-fourth of all the deals comes from foreign markets, it is high time to scale up!
When you decide to position your startup as an international company, it is necessary to make clear alignments of the board, the team, leadership and vision concepts. Do not forget to look at your product from another angle: very often new markets require certain product modifications in terms of design, communication touch points, etc.
The next step deals with a careful choice of the new markets. Startups often choose the countries with great numbers of target customers, possessing high levels of disposable income (Canada, the UK, France, Germany are some examples). Here are some other criteria that will help you estimate the market attractiveness:
- broadband and mobile penetration
- accessible payment infrastructure
- easy regulatory and tax requirements
- favorable socioeconomics.
After settling all the regulatory issues in a new market, it is important to make sure that regional operations are well-structured and the critical functions are properly maintained. A good idea is to study what has worked well in the home market. And of course, it is essential to find a good executive for the new regional office, a well-experienced specialist, not only revenue-focused, but passionate about what he or she does, and able to speak the local native language. As a result, engineering, the products, sales, marketing and customer support all should be set and managed.
Speaking about the landing team, there is no universal formula for all types of startups. It is a ‘certified’ method to create a small team of workers from headquarters and send them to a new region in order to hire a local team and export the company culture. Uber has executed a great example of global expansion: it is now operating within offices in 64 countries. All that was achieved by exporting the domestic business plan to new markets.
This was just a short expansion guide, covering only the first steps that startups should take. For more detailed instructions, it is worth having a look at real cases of international startup companies, such as Twitter, Airbnb and Uber.
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