On Tuesday, May 24th we organised our very first event, in collaboration with Polyglot Group in Paris. We had dozens of founders, investors, experts… some of them with a heavy experience and others totally new to European expansion.
Orrick hosted us for the night while monbanquet.fr treated us with a nice buffet. Oh, and let’s not forget that bar animation that we’re not allowed to advertise explicitly. Such a great night!
Going back to our matter. We wanted it useful & practical for tech companies’ founders, looking to launch or develop new markets accross Europe.
So we started with short ultra-specific workshop sessions, around the four main operational topics of expanding companies:
- Recruit, Build & Manage your cross-border team in the EU with Jacques from Polyglot Group
- Employees incentives accross borders with Benjamin from Orrick
- B2B SAAS Sales & IoT Channel Development in Europe with Rick from Sales Force Europe
- Scale your storytelling and Coordinate campaigns with Cédric from Ballou PR
Do contact us shall you want more information about these workshops and/or the slides of our experts!
Then came the big talk.
We had amazing speakers, who know first-hand what it takes to expand your business accross Europe: Audrey Soussan from Ventech, Alexandre Droulers from Uber, Benjamin Chemla from Stuart and our unanimously acclaimed moderation master, Antoine Baschiera from Early Metrics. Needless to say they were here to discuss practical inputs, methods, roadmaps & ROI.
So we’re really sorry if you missed it as we won’t write here everything that was said then.
BUT we’ve compiled a great checklist of the things you need to ask yourself and make sure of before your launch in a new European market.
Here we go, feel free to get in touch to discuss any of these:
1- Why would you go abroad?
It could help your communications and credibility efforts, as well as being the keystone of your business model. Just don’t forget you still have to serve your domestic clients.
2- When should you go abroad?
Ideally you’re over mature on your domestic market, even the best at what you do. Oh, and you need to have the money to do it. Most of the fails we’ve discussed come from a lack of either one of them.
3- Build your Playbook.
Document everything, the things that went bad as well as everything that worked well. Even if you choose to do everything at the same time like Uber, you have to know the 10 things you need to do right when you land.
4- Test & learn.
You need to find a way to be reasonably sure before you launch, even if you’re ready to pour big money into this market. Either through market studies, roadshows to test clients’ interest, a light & agile pre-launch team… Whatever way you choose, bear in mind that its execution must serve your overall local operations.
5- Structure or not structure?
This one can be nasty. What kind of setup do you need there? Why? When? And what is the relationship between your domestic structure and the one oversea one? Needless to say there’s no unique answer, but there are very good lawyers & accountants around here 😉
6- Who’s Who?
Do you send a Founder or recruit a Country Manager? Is your Country Manager a Community Manager or a customer success Manager or a full-stack Managing Director? Remember it’s a launch, so it’s all about potential. If you decide to recruit, you should look for an absolute killer in what makes your core competitive advantage, he or she’ll learn the rest.
7- Expect domestic impact.
Sometimes you’ll have to downsize your domestic ambitions, maybe even make “the flip” and switch all internal communications to English-first (most of the time).
8- The Dream Team.
We’re talking company culture. That is probably the most complex thing about internationalisation. What about your values when you switch languages? How do you recruit natives (that’s a no-brainer) who’ll fit your culture? You need great local partners to find them, and think hard about your on-boarding process for these new foreign recruits. May it be a few days/weeks at your headquarters or regular trips.
9- When should you call it a loss?
Look for companies who made the exact same trip as you did, but didn’t make it on the long run. It always comes from Lack of preparation, lack of money or lack of culture fit.
GATE #1 / Europe was the first of a — hopefully — long series! Stay tuned for the next one, as we might go looking for some place sunnier… around September.
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