Starting a business in one country is a challenge and a journey in itself – so imagine doing it in another. However, many entrepreneurs aim to expand globally because there are significant benefits. A recent McKinsey study shows that while global U.S. companies only account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. companies, they earned 25 percent of total U.S. gross profits. Going global allows your company to grow to its utmost potential and reach target markets that are untapped.
Our founders, Matt Clark and Jason Katzenback, chose Austin, TX as the location to set up our HQ. Within the past year, we’ve established an office in Dublin, Ireland with an ongoing expansion into China.
Are you thinking about taking this next step? Coming up with a global strategy and thinking global from the beginning of the process are vital steps in successfully starting – and developing – your company abroad. Our CFO, Steven Siegel, says these are the 5 steps you must take as a part of your expansion process:
1. Ask yourself: why do you want to go global?
Map out your thought process on why you want to go global and if you?re ready to go global. It should really depends on your industry. Then, start structuring it. Find the country and/or countries that best suit your needs. When we decided on expanding into Ireland, it was because of the talent, the ease of doing business, and the location. Ireland is the new tech hub, and we figured we wanted to be there.
2. Reach out to the local development agency
Every state and many local governments have economic development agencies dedicated to assisting new and established businesses start, grow and succeed. They can connect you to banks, real estates, accountants, and most importantly, other companies. This will allow you to avoid pitfalls. Start up advice and training services are also offered. Take advantage of this.
3. Figuring out the office space
First, think about whether or not you actually need a physical office space. Is your business mainly web-based? How many employees do you have? What about renting a co-working space? There are many factors involved when it comes to deciding on the location, so choose the environment that is best for your employees. If you need help locating a physical office space, the local development agency is a great resource. The local development agency in Ireland (IDA) actually helped us find our office space at The Digital Hub.
4. Hiring a new team
Decide if you want to use a local recruiter or ads. For Ireland, we used a local recruiter for our customer service and software engineers positions. If you’re already there, you can do your own recruiting but because we weren’t, we decided to use a local recruiter because we wanted to get it done sooner than later and also because of the lack of resources.
5. Company culture
Company culture is something that you want to stay consistent, especially as your business grows. It can be difficult when expanding to another location, so think of creative ways to do this. And although culture may not seem like the most important factor when going global, it can affect your company’s brand and image. Send your overseas team to your headquarter for 2 weeks and let them experience the company culture firsthand. We also recommend sending your local employees to the new location for about a month to implement existing company culture.
Have you thought about taking your business to the next level and going global? Or have you successfully done so? We’d love to know. Share with us in the comments!
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.