However, just a few entrepreneurs realize that scaling is not just a new profitable market but also a tremendous job, which is comparable with new business launch.
Choose your direction
First of all, you should form your main goals. For instance, searching for the investments, fixing your market positions, or development new business connections.
Secondly, decide on what exact market you want to expand. Lots of companies crave to enter “an international market”. And they frequently say that it doesn’t matter what market it would be in particular, because of their products in demand everywhere. To be honest, there are some highly required products. But entering every market in the world is very expensive and tough. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you will be able to do it quickly and successfully.
The thing is, even European regions, such as Western Europe, Balkans or Scandinavian are very different. Asia is even more complicated. For example, in East even two neighboring countries can’t be considered as one region. Every country has its own traits and you should develop a plan for each. For instance, Malaysia and Singapore are not just different worlds, they are different universes.
While choosing countries and regions you should investigate the competition environment. Interestingly, it’s even better if there are already some products, which are similar to yours. That means that the competition environment in this region or country is already formed. Then potential partners and clients would understand what product you offer. Lack of competitors is a rather bad sign. In this case, you’ll need to spend money not just on product promotion, but also on market creation.
Strong competition is also a bad thing. For instance, there is no reason to offer IT-development services in the Vietnamese market. There are a lot of well-qualified IT-specialists in Vietnam, who work for a small salary.
After finishing Internet marketing issues you should go to concrete region. Industrial events are your main targets. There you can meet competitors, accelerators, investors. You will plunge into the environment, where you are going to work. You can also increase event’s efficiency by setting up even a small board with some materials.
All communication and information materials should be translated into a particular country’s language. Some say that it’s enough to translate your materials into English. But if you are going to a non-English speaking country it’s not true at all. If you coming to France with French materials or to Germany with German materials you’ll get a lot more points.
This attitude is especially important in Asian markets. If you want to enter the Arabian market, all your booklets should be in English and Arabic.
Becoming a part of the community
The next step is to look for business connections. Every product or direction has its own community. People can operate on meetups or on Facebook, in Reddit, forums, etc. You should search for local communities’ representatives and build strong connections with them.
Also, you should realize attitude to your products or direction in this particular region. But even a highly negative attitude doesn’t mean that there are no chances in this market. If the attitude is positive (for instance, you craft ecological-friendly chairs and in a chosen country ecological community is utterly strong) local community can be your brand’s ambassador and support your product with useful connections.
Present your products in media
The next step is to tell about the project’s launch in the chosen country or region. Sometimes founders think that this message is useless. “Who cares? We’re launching our products in the 25th country!”, – they presume.
This opinion is not valid at all. Media publications raise potential clients’ and investors’ loyalty. Some bloggers and communities will be happy to post information about interesting products for free.
Another mistake is not to take seriously your launching news. Some startups write about launching and post it to random press release’s accelerators. You should never do so!
In order to tell your news you should form a list of understandable and accurate media, which write on business topics. Then divide this list to regional, national and industrial sources. Also it’s good to attach cover letter to your news and tell some intro information about your company.
After all those operations you should just work in the chosen region: create a good website, scale your business contacts, search for clients, launch context and target advertisements, develop your social networks.
Also, you can analyze the results of different promotional events. For instance, you can launch A/B testing in several countries: operate the same tools with the same budget. Country, which demonstrated the best results should be chosen as a leading one.
Even countries, which have a lot in common could react very differently to your products. For instance, in Norway crypto changing apps could be on top-5 in App Store and Android Market, while for Finnish people those apps wouldn’t be interesting at all. Citizens of those countries have different attitudes towards crypto assets.
Don’t disregard mentality
National culture and business traits are very important issues in terms of launching a business. There is a big interest in a wide range of technologies in the UAE and Bahrain. Medical and pharmaceutical fields, as well as fintech startups, are in great demand there. That’s why a lot of startups come to Mideast for the investments. But they don’t realize that they will get not only financial support but also total control. Arabis investors want a report for every cent weekly.
Meanwhile European and American investors demand a report after 3-6 months after seed capital. Another important moment: you are able to develop a European project, working in Russia. But if you work for the Arabic market you should open an office in a concrete country.
Don’t forget about cultural local specifics. In Mideast “tomorrow” can mean anything. The only approval of someone’s words can be money on your bank account, publication, or your speech in the conference.
On the other hand, Chinese partners will never say “no”. Their culture doesn’t allow them to do so. But after their “agreement” they frequently will do nothing. Even after the contract’s signing there still can be refused.
Another Chinese specific is “cycle negotiations”. The next day Chinese can forget about your agreements, and everything will start once again. Hurry irritates Chinese, so they will protract all processes. The one who is in a hurry will lose undoubtedly. That’s why in negotiations with Chinese it’s better to pretend that you don’t require their support so much.
Years ago we have started to work with the Estonian fintech-project with Russian roots, which provides payment services. By that time app had been working for almost 7 months, but there were no uploadings at all. Now the app has more than 200 000 users, 30% of them are loyal clients. For those kinds of app, it’s utterly huge indicators.
First of all, we started to promote the app inside stores and wrote news about this project. Our press release didn’t make a lot of noise, but we got a range of publications in industrial media. After that first uploadings didn’t make us wait.
Then we made a small guide on how to use a fast transfer system and how to create online wallets. Also, we told how to keep your assets secure. In other words, we explained how this system works in an understandable and honest way.
After that, we have come to every European country separately because the main currency in-app is euro. First of all, we have chosen top-10 countries, in which financial technologies were well-developed. It’s countries, where citizens are cryptocurrency-friendly and where a lot of financial systems. And banks don’t arrest fintech startups’ accounts.
Then we have launched an advertisement on Google, Twitter, Snapchat. We haven’t gone to Facebook or Instagram because those networks have restrictions on payment services’ advertisements. Also, we communicated a lot in the Reddit community and worked with bloggers from the chosen countries. Some bloggers have become the brand’s ambassadors. The company didn’t have a huge budget, that’s why we operated very carefully.
And certainly, we attended a lot of industrial events. Once in 3-4 months, we occurred in the most popular fintech events in chosen countries. Some partners and clients have been attracted this way. For instance, one Italian hotel chain took Quppy’s payment system as acquiring a solution. In November project will come to the second seed investment round and launch one more product on its platform.
To sum up
- Choose the region or country, where you are going to work
- Investigate the market and competitor environment
- Plunge into the market by attending industrial events
- Become a part of a local business-community in order to get its support and business connections
- Tell about your company in local media
- Don’t disregard national cultural and behavior-specific