Studies show that startups are going global more quickly than ever before: economic forces and globalization are pushing us to explore new markets, while technology has made cross-border transactions and communication comfortable. Accessing capital and reaching more early adopters are strong incentives to expand internationally.
Last month, oDesk hosted Going Global 101 in London, UK — in conjunction with General Assembly, Twilio, Airbnb, UK Trade & Investment Organization (UKTI), and London & Partners — to discuss these themes and more.
The event was held at London’s Rainmaking Loft, and I was joined on the panel by Even Heggernes, country manager for the UK and Ireland at home rental juggernaut Airbnb; James Parton, European director of cloud communications business Twilio; and Matt Cynamon, regional director for tech education company General Assembly. Pru Ashby from Tech City UK also shared her perspective while moderating the panel.
These four startup executives from U.S.-based tech companies discussed how they evaluate new markets, how they earned a green light on budget from the executive team at HQ, and how they crafted a killer market entry strategies for the UK and beyond.
Cynamon perhaps put it best when he said, “There’s a lot that you need to be on the ground to learn, and you just won’t get that if you are in your office…trying to figure out how you’re going to make the brand culturally relevant in another country. You just have to sort of go and do it, and figure it out on the ground.”
While this may be true, every company needs to craft a market entry strategy before they touch down in uncharted territory.
So, oDesk teamed up with General Assembly to create “Top 10 Tips for Going Global,” an eBook that gives actionable advice to startup founders, marketers, and mentors who are leading the charge to cross the pond and beyond.
In this guide you’ll find tips on the following:
- Organizational Structure: Which departments should be centralized at HQ?
- Marketing & Sales: Should awareness, nurturing existing customers, or direct acquisition be the initial focus? What activities can be done remotely versus on the ground?
- Localization: Necessary or a nice to have?
- Monetization: When is it time to slash or raise prices? How will payments and currency conversion impact your business?
- Competition: How do you assess new competition and create a strategy to overtake them?
- Speed: Will you go big out of the gate or test the waters? How much funding will you need?
- Staffing: How will you find your first hire in a new market?
- Culture: How do you do business across time zones? How should you extend your company culture to overseas offices?