Is it time your business started thinking globally? Our soon to be 2 year old startup has taken the USA by storm, but it was no accident; a great product, perseverance and a global strategy were all part of the mix. VideoMyJob co-founders David Macciocca and Kristen Graham share their insights from our recent residency at Austrade’s San Francisco Landing Pad.
Preparing a global strategy
Where are you planning on going? In which continent will your product be best received? These are the questions we asked ourselves whilst preparing our global strategy.
In order to create your strategy it’s a good idea to prepare the following answers and allocate the appropriate resources.
- What are your objectives and vision for growth?
- Is your product scalable?
- Do you have the ability to deliver a product or service to 100 or 1 million customers?
- Does your startup have traction?
- Assess existing sales and customers, funding, investors and partners
- Does your startup have the ability to disrupt the marketplace?
- Articulate your value proposition
- Consider market relevance
In July last year we attended a presentation by Australian Government agency Austrade about their Landing Pad program. Landing Pads provide market-ready Australian startups and scaleups with access to some of the world’s most renowned hubs including San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.
A Landing Pad residency is a great opportunity for your startup to explore a new country or region with a support network already in place. They provide your business with plenty of new, exciting opportunities to share your product and to network with international companies.
Growing a local presence without a local office is challenging, but a Landing Pad residency gives you the opportunity to build a network and customer base before investing in costly staff relocations and offices.
Landing Pads provide:
- A 90 day residency in a co-working space
- Introductions to networks of investors, mentos and strategic partners
- Access to a community that supports Australian entrepreneurs
- Business advice to help grow your business
Evaluating your needs and setting goals
The next step is to set your goals and evaluate the resources you need to make this happen.
Come up with realistic targets. We needed to organise buy-in for the business to support US expansion. What do you need to organise to help create your ‘Go to Market’ plan?
Learning the language
The most vital advice we can give your startup is to find a way to resonate with your global audience. What we learnt very quickly was Americans like to buy from Americans and in order to establish a local presence we had to change our language.
Steps we took to learn the lingo:
- Updated our sales and marketing material to showcase American companies already using our product
- Created a local version of our website with American English and references
Creating a good support system
Once you decide which of your team members can have the most impact overseas, you need to commit to supporting this person. Ensure they do not feel isolated or alone. Remember scaling your product is a team effort, your overseas team might be very visible publicly but they are supported by a small army of dedicated professional back home.
Ways to create a good support system:
- Schedule regular meetings with your team to keep in touch
- Ensure you have documented processes and systems in place so the business doesn’t grind to a halt waiting for the other side of the world to wake up
- If you don’t already, consider moving to a cloud based server so that your team can continue to collaborate with ease
Useful communication tools:
- Slack - increases productivity by removing BAU and team conversations from your inbox
- Appear in / video conferencing - effortless video collaboration
- VideoMyJob an awesome tool to keep your community updated with engaging video messages
Building a local network
It’s important to establish a local network. Spend time researching and attending relevant events and conferences, identify influencers in your field and ruthlessly (but charmingly) pursue meetings.
Be consistent and connect with the right people – networking is a contact sport!
Each of these activities had a ripple effect and opened up new opportunities and new introductions, building our brand awareness in the States and helping us to quickly established a fantastic local network of advocates, customers and potential investors.
Keeping your community updated
We knew that our customers and supporters in Australia would be following us so we created a weekly video update to share our experiences and build on the already strong connection to our brand and local pride in our homegrown startup.
We are 8 weeks through our Landing Pad residency and to date Kristen’s weekly video updates have had over 24K views and generated hundreds of new visits to our website. But that’s not all, just last week we pitched to be part of Plug and Play’s new accelerator program ‘Enterprise 2.0’ and we made the final cut!
This week we move to the next stage of our incredible journey, a 3 month residency at Plug and Play Tech Centre Silicon Valley.
Plug and Play is a renowned startup incubator which has hosted outrageously successful businesses such as Dropbox, PayPal, SoundHound and Zoosk. Wish us luck for the next stage of our journey, we’re in good company!
Kristen & David