The difficulties with scaling your business
In our clients businesses, of course we have seen scale and from a marketing perspective, have a large role to play in making this happen.
But as any entrepreneur can attest, scaling into new markets internationally, particularly in countries that don't speak your language, requires a lot of planning, execution and partnership.
I don't know it all, and in fact I know very little about scale particularly when it comes to funded scaling up. Using other people's money is a risk and some people know how to play this game and execute on their promises, and other's quite simply, know how to blow money - because it's not theirs.
When you are looking to scale your business, you need to ensure that not only do you have the dollars and cents in order, people, management, product/service - but you have a marketing flavour over every single thing that you do. If you do this well, you will win. If you don't, most lose.
There are some things to consider:
Your first touch point, is what people will remember the most
When you enter a new market, all bullish about what your company can and will achieve, it's best to understate than overstate. You need to provide "wow" factor and followup without fault. People will remember that, and if you do the little things, like "thank you" cards, or at the very least a followup email - most people will remember that.
Be authentic and honest
By showing transparency in what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve, you will gain respect from everyone. In addition, people who would not normally listen to you, will want to help you.
Look after your own backyard first
This is reiterated to me often by my mentors and it is so true. You cannot scale if you haven't got everything in place and that means people, systems and processes. When you fail to do this, you fail to execute on your plan. You cannot grow in new markets if your base is a mess. Keep investing in your people and give them a reason to be part of the bigger picture.
You need money
I wish it were not true but it is. You really need money to scale. I have done this without anyone else's money to date, and it really does cost a lot more than you envisage. Fortunately for Marketing Eye, we expanded into the US market when the Australian dollar was worth more than the US dollar. Everything was affordable. Now, if you are looking to scale, you really need to factor into the equation the volatility of currency, salaries, marketing, legals, accounting, insurance and more. The second phase of this equation is what happens when you run out of money? Do you scale back? Do you wait for your brand to be successful financially and use that money to fund future growth? Or do you seek investors?
I wouldn't have given up expanding to the US for quids. It was singularly the hardest, yet the best decision I ever made.
I am one person, so I have had to draw on strength that I never knew I had. There have been stops and starts due to some of the above, and also due to sheer exhaustion. You have to share the load, but reward in return. There are so many things to consider, and without sitting in the shoes of someone who is doing this - it's hard to navigate or understand really what goes into scaling your business internationally.