International Trade

Small companies should go global ASAP

6 min read

26 August 2014

As all but the luckiest or most deluded entrepreneurs will tell you, launching a new business is an extraordinary challenge.

There are risks and obstacles at every turn, and the odds are generally against you. Among the more daunting challenges for those businesses that make it out of the gate is the prospect of expanding operations into a new country.

However, foreign expansion is easier today than most entrepreneurs expect. And for many startups, the pursuit of a global presence early in the growth process can create a smoother path than other forms of growth. 

Here at Consero Group, we have found that with focused planning and execution, as well as the right advice, the process of globalization early in the experience can reap big rewards. Set forth below are a few reasons why it may be worth considering a foreign office sooner rather than later.

1. Do what you do best, but in a new market 

Taking your business to new heights often requires developing new products and services for your existing customers or market. By contrast, going global gives you the opportunity to do the same work with the same proven products and services, but in a new place. 

This is not to say that you should abandon the pursuit of new products or services, or that your sales, marketing, or delivery methods will be suitable without modification. Rather, taking what works at the business to a new base of foreign customers soon after your product or service is tested and proven is often easier than developing new goods and services for the market in which you already operate.

2. Optimize your team

Launching a new office in another country is a great way to expand the quality and strength of your team. Not only will you gain access to a new pool of talent for the business, but you will have access to prospects with new perspectives and expertise that may be much harder to find back home. 

Moreover, a global team in the early stages of the business enables you to allocate work most efficiently when it may matter most, leveraging skills and expertise where the cost is most favorable, giving your business an early competitive advantage and accelerating the path to higher revenues and profit. 

3. Boost morale

Opening a foreign office is exciting for both the company and its employees. The experience gives everyone at the business an opportunity to develop a global perspective, as well as build working relationships with colleagues who can provide each other with informal cultural and historical education. In addition, it is hard to top the morale boost that your hard-working startup team will get from helping launch or rotate through a foreign office. 

Here at Consero, the opportunity to rotate through our office in Dublin is something that excites most of our recruits, and for many employees, the tour through that office is a highlight of their experience at the business. Providing this experience early in the growth of the business is a great way to keep spirits high after the initial startup adrenaline begins to dissipate. 

4. Keep up with the competition

On a more practical level, going global is increasingly important for  growing businesses because of the speed at which competition is becoming global. In short, if you do not generate your own global footprint quickly, there is a good chance that competition will get there first. Once your products and services are available in the marketplace, individuals and other companies in many other countries will know about them. 

And if your company is doing well, these individuals and companies may attempt to grab a share of the market in other places by replicating your products or services. Going global early is a great way to claim your stake in foreign markets before others have the chance. 

5. It has never been easier

Finally, it has never been easier to begin building a presence in a new country. A wide array of companies and professionals now exist to facilitate foreign expansion, which can support everything from filings and tax issues to relocation and recruitment. 

A large community of startups and small businesses have already paved the way for this kind of expansion, and most are more than willing to share their experiences and best practices. Many businesses have taken this journey before you, and their lessons will make your journey far easier. 

Going global in the early days gives startups an exciting edge that can accelerate growth and ensure long-term success. While the process does require quite a bit of planning and capable execution, the potential benefits are enormous and generally well worth the cost.

Paul Mandell is the CEO of Consero Group and Gavan O’Farrell is senior director & head of EMEA operations at Consero. 

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