Startups are often in a rush to go global. But scaling a business isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. You need to earn your stripes, build credibility locally, then take your learnings and move into the bigger markets. Read on for some guidance on how to go slower and do it well…
Be right the first time
There are countless examples of brands that have been very strong in the UK, then tried to move into overseas markets, got it wrong and had to come out again (sometimes two or three times). But consumers and retailers don’t have the patience for this, so it’s far better to wait until you have enough research, insights and scalable investment behind you to get it right the first time.
You need to feel the audience out, spot the gaps in the market and find out how to differentiate. It’s also important to have the right teams in place to move into new markets. Can you afford to take your senior staff away from what they’re doing now to focus their attention elsewhere?
Be prepared to pivot
Even if you have a brilliant marketing strategy, you never really know how well your brand will be received until you test it and start receiving feedback. In the light of customers’ responses, you may realise you need to make big changes to your product or service to succeed in new markets. If so, it’s important for you and your team to have a growth mindset so you can embrace change. One of the great things about being a small startup is it’s so easy to be nimble, compared to big companies. But you need to have the mental agility to ride those bumpy waves.