At SaaStock last month, Cruxy’s Internationalisation Bootcamp seemed to strike a chord. Bridging the chasm between the desire to expand and the reality of making it a success is one of the biggest challenges a company can face.
If this is where you’re at, read on.
Strategy is the art of sacrifice – you must choose where to place your bets when taking your company international.Before you even think about planning a route to market, first step back and focus on the foundations of your strategy: the WHY and the WHERE.
Why do you want to break out of your local market? Each company must identify its unique goals, but some of the most common aims are:
- To prove international traction for the next valuation.
- To set up for a successful exit.
- To chase an opportunity bigger than your home market.
If more than one rings true, drill down to the core of what you are hoping to achieve. Once you’ve established this key driver, dig a little deeper. Is your entire team aligned to the proposed plan? Have you run the numbers and worked out what percentage of revenue needs to come from new markets? What timeframe are you proposing to meet this revenue target? What are you key drivers of success and will they replicate in a new market?
The WHY is just the start, but ensuring it is not only clear, but embedded within every level of the organisation is crucial to your future success. Each level of management has its own role to play, and lack of internal communication is a common stumbling block.
Once the WHY is established, you can move onto the WHERE.
42% of start-up post-mortems cited ‘no market need’ as a cause for failure [CB Insights]. Don’t let a lack of research send you down the same path.
One of the first things to look at is barriers to entry – don’t write off low hanging fruit in favour of high risk/high return. If you’re going to fail, better to fail fast and cheap. LinkedIn is a good example of a company who did this well – simply changing the language quickly and cheaply allowed them to identify markets with significant growth that could offer a good ROI. Using a low-cost method to identify the most lucrative markets reduced the overall risk of failure and provided a list of regions on which to focus further expansion plans.
Some further considerations to address include:
- Who are your competitors and what is their market share?
- Are there regulatory or legal constraints that could affect you or your potential clients?
- Are there cultural or linguistic barriers to overcome?
- What existing traction do you have in this new market that you can leverage?
Venturing into global markets should be met with a laser focus to meet your core objectives. These questions are just the beginning.