How Can Start-Ups Go Global?

101 Guides14 April 20143k

Global domination does not happen overnight, trust me!

If your firm is looking to launch in a new country or region as part of an ambitious expansion plan, you'll need to make sure you research the market thoroughly. No one wants to end up making a blunder on an international scale, as it will be very hard to recover credibility afterwards.

Take Nestle as an example. The company was accused over being overly aggressive in its marketing efforts back in 1977 for baby formula in Africa as many of the locations did not have access to clean water. It led to a boycott of Nestle products that is still being observed in some parts of the continent.

This is a cautionary tale and highlights the importance of careful planning, as no amount of clever branding can overcome systemic faults such as your product simply not having a market to operate in. 

Creating genuine global success

In today's hyper-connected global marketplace, time to market has never been more important. If you have a similar product to your competitor, making it available to buy as soon as possible is very important.

Enter Rocket Internet, a German tech company with quite the reputation for developing successful start-ups in a short period of time. Since 2007, it has backed about 75 start-ups in more than 50 countries and they now have an annual revenue of more than $3 billion, the New York Times reports.

Instead of originality being key, Rocket Internet uses an army of high-flying finance and management specialists to mimic already successful internet companies and apply the ideas in other countries, typically emerging markets.

"If there's a clear business model that is proven to work, we will look at it," said Oliver Samwer, one of the three co-founders of Rocket Internet. "Every new company is like a speedboat, and we want them to become aircraft carriers."

Bearing this in mind, what lessons can be learned from the company's success? Here are three top tips.

Fast global scalability 
Because of the pace of change in today's internet age, fast execution is essential. If firms do not get their products out to an international audience, they have no chance of encouraging growth on a global scale. This is why ambitious companies should be thinking global from the get-go and looking at how their operations can be scaled up once demand increases. With 56.2 per cent of consumers saying that having information in their own language is more important than a low price, having a base in the country is vital.

Target new markets
By executing business ideas in regions where major firms have yet to establish a strong foothold, they are automatically giving themselves an upper hand. Getting to new markets quickly gives companies a huge competitive advantage, while the earlier you test your product on an international audience, the quicker you can start compiling useful feedback. This global feedback can then be used to create the very best product or service in your sector. The rise in the number of internet users also means markets are more accessible than ever before.

Turn to the right localization company
Of course, global expansion has to be underpinned by sound branding. If you are looking to speak to a group of countries that are diverse in terms of culture and language, you'll need a top rate localization firm to make sure your messages are consistent. For example, Gap introduced high-profile 1969 jeans in China under the slogan of a good year in the US, despite the fact the Chinese were involved in a border conflict in that year. This is why localization is so important, as it is the key to connecting with a target audience in any country or region.


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