Why some small businesses won't ever expand internationally
Inundated with calls from friends, its refreshing to know that through my experience with business expansion, others are able to rethink their business strategies and look at their own business potential.
The US market for my business is 27 times bigger than Australia and as such, a lucrative opportunity exist for businesses like mine that have a strong product or service to capitalise on the market opportunity.
Marketing Eye provides a bespoke business solution for companies that do not have in-house marketing capabilities providing small to medium sized businesses with a complete outsourced marketing department for just $2,000 per month. This includes an experienced marketing manager backed by a team of graphic design, branding, public relations, web and online specialists, all under one brand - no freelancers or outsourcing.
On top of that, we have our own custom magazine, giving our clients a voice to communicate their value proposition to tens of thousands of business leaders. We have built technology, systems and processes to accelerate our ability to provide marketing services and our creative teams are second to none. We are not everything to everyone, but instead specialise in companies that are looking at high growth and want to focus on their ability to do what they do best, and leave it to professionals like us to do what we do best.
Expanding overseas wasn't easy and it was a decision I didn't take lightly. Instead of racing into it, I took my time and have slowly built up a great, highly profitable business in the US market. Our profits this year exceed 30 percent (actually are much higher!) and we continue to grow and receive strong inquiries every day.
Marketing Eye has never entered a business awards program mainly because I am a believer that it can be the kiss of death. So many of my friends and people that I have watched in the media have gone broke after winning numerous awards and I don't want to be one of them.
I am also not keen to put myself out there and prefer to work hard and play under the radar, but doing so, we have a few things to brag about in relation to our expansion:
- In July, we were named #2 top person to follow on twitter in marketing in the US
- Our website is one of the highest ranking marketing company websites globally and in the US, our Atlanta website is on the first page of google for every keyword we have registered (mostly in the top 3)
- We have been inundated with journalists ringing for interviews, but have held off until we are "successful" enough. There are no smoke and mirrors here!
- We are actively changing the business outcomes of our clients.
In Australia, we are lucky. We have a great Government who is supportive of international expansion providing valuable tax breaks in the EDMG grant and others that are accessible.
Yet, many small business owners sit on their hands complaining that their business isn't doing well enough. Why? When Australia has some of the best marketing talent in the world, strongest and most ethical accounting professionals and lawyers and groups such as YPO and EO that help connect you to people abroad - its amazing to think that there is any excuse at all. Some small business owners just don't have what it takes, but with a few changes they can!
There are 5 things that I have learnt about international expansion
1. You can learn to love hotel rooms rather than despise them. Not only do they provide you with all the amenities of home, but it also gives you time to think about things and write strategies that you not have time to do otherwise.
2. Time difference makes you more efficient and effective because you know that there is only a short window to get things done.
3. It always costs more than you think, so make sure you are well funded.
4. People can make or break you, so make sure you hire slowly and fire fast.
5. Don't be afraid to vent your stress by hiring a counsellor of sorts. I use Sydney-based counsellor / psychologist Kylie McCullough who is amazing and allows me to talk to her via Skype whenever I need to deal with my stress of working, flying and managing many moving parts.
Small business owners who have a good product or service have no excuse as to not expanding their businesses.