Digitalisation has made it easier and cheaper to achieve an international presence. However, going global doesn’t just happen overnight; there’s an ocean of research and preparation ahead. One rule of thumb is to double the time and cost estimates, so if you’ve bootstrapped your business and are used to keeping things lean and mean, this is not always easy to do.
Steps for successful international expansion
- Prepare your strategy
- Evaluate and plan market entry barriers
- Research cultural and regulatory differences
- Appoint a strong management team
- Create risk and governance structure fit for purpose
- Monitor progress and set KPIs
- Seek the right type of funding
Financing international expansion
With the expansion of alternative finance and the rise of private debt funds, there’s a huge range of finance options for businesses that want to scale up internationally. Here are some points you need to consider:
- What is the cost of financing?
- What are the tax structures?
- What is the new market legal system like?
- What government demands are there on local staffing?
- Is there financial advice and cross-market banking opportunities?
- What is the right funding mix: Debt? Debt + Equity? Other?
Your international expansion budget needs to include:
- IP protection
- Sales & marketing
- Customer success
- Tax, insurance and indirect costs
- Legal costs
- Ongoing capital and operations costs
Do Your Homework
Identify your principal market. There are plenty of desk research tools to help with this, including the government service great.gov.uk, which aims to facilitate connections between British companies and international buyers.
It’s also a good idea to immerse yourself in the market first. That means living in it, observing consumer behaviour, watching potential competitors, and understanding the dynamics of the marketplace. Getting a feel for the environment of your chosen location is extremely important in making that definite decision.
What Are The Requirements?
Every country will have its own administrative checklist to tackle, such as Visas, trademark checks for infringements, compliance with their legal regulations, contracts, employment opportunities for local staff, tax, accounting, insurance, etc.
Learn From Others
Twitter’s go-to-market model included two unique strategies, both targeting Japan. First, it created a joint venture with Digital Garage in 2008. Through Digital Garage, Twitter created an entirely different service specifically targeted at the Japanese market. It even started charging for premium services in early 2010, years ahead of any business model in the U.S.
Fuse Capital Clients Go Global
As well as funding UK based tech companies for growth and scaling, we have helped several companies with their international expansion projects. The companies below have all successfully set up in a new market:
|Sector||Company||Domicile Country||International Market|
|Adtech/ Martech||Near.co||India||Worldwide expansion|
Scaling overseas requires significant market research, legal preparation, and long-term strategy. One of the most important aspects of making sure everything goes smoothly is thoroughly understanding the particulars of the country you want to expand to:
- How does this market differ culturally from that of your home country?
- What adjustments will need to be made in terms of marketing, functionality and user experience?
- What are this country’s regulatory and legal requirements to do business?
- Having the right funds to manage international expansion.