Don’t expand your startup internationally until you do these 6 things

05/16/2019

Don't expand your startup internationally until you do these 6 things

Expanding beyond one’s native geography is often a major growth imperative for many early stage companies. The good news is that quite a few startups have achieved this goal with impressive, and sometimes dazzling, results. There are numerous ways to achieve such growth, let’s look at the most popular ones.

Don’t expand your startup internationally until you do these 6 things

  1. Conduct Initial Research

Much like when you first started your company, expanding overseas requires taking a comprehensive assessment of the marketplace and your desired place within it.

This means evaluating factors like:

  • Your business’s strengths and weaknesses within the desired international region.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of your competitors within the region.
  • Product modifications that must be made to accommodate international users.
  • The total available market vs. the serviceable available market.

Basically, you want to obtain an accurate picture of how much demand is really there for what you are offering. That means thoroughly utilizing every available avenue to research the crap out of your target market and the competition. Skimp on research now, and you will probably regret it later.

  1. Implement Tools That Can Help You Expand Properly

As your company grows, it’s crucial to find the right technologies that help streamline processes and efficiencies. These include anything from personal productivity apps to team-oriented communication and management systems. Here are a few that have proven success with startup growth:

  1. Know your competition

When you expand to a new country, you will have new competitors you probably never heard of before, especially if you are launching in a larger market. With opportunity comes more competition, and with more competition comes more sophisticated buyers.
As such, your sales and marketing strategy, along with your product roadmap will most certainly need to evolve.

  1. Recruit and Retain the Right People

The people you bring onboard need to understand what you want to accomplish. These people will become some of your greatest assets, help identify opportunities, and advocate for your growth along the way.

  1. Find a Strategic Partner to Help You Grow

International expansion is a necessary business move to stay competitive. Combining forces with expert partners can help you expand properly, without having to reinvent the wheel. An in-country partner can handle your international recruiting needs to ensure new hires will add value to your overseas team.

  1. Secure Legal Protection

Another key player you will need supporting your international initiative is a good attorney. Local legal representation in your target country can guide you through the paperwork and help lay the groundwork for a seamless launch.

In addition to general representation, you will also need an experienced trademark attorney who can guide you through the process of protecting your brand names abroad.

Don't expand your startup internationally until you do these 6 things

Conclusion

Setting up a company is hard and growing your business is even more complicated. You need to do a lot of things to do well, including having a great product and team for your business in the international market.

Whatever your industry and the size of your company, a strategic plan can provide you with the perfect direction to guide your decisions, keeping you on course to achieve your long-term objectives and ensuring that your business always operates in a way that is consistent with the company’s vision, mission, and values.