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25/10/2019

Disrupting the way we do business

Disrupting the way we do business

The UK has had a long business relationship with North America, with many successful brands managing the transatlantic crossing, going on to a successful customer base. But at what price? And how many more have failed, with huge outgoings that crippled their expansion plans before a single unit had sold.

Is it possible that taking a different approach would have helped them grow faster, and with far lower initial costs?

We’re not saying that they did anything wrong – what we are saying is that the official, well-trodden pathway to taking your product across the ocean to a new market may not be the best, or most logical route.

Tackling the transatlantic route

The Americans, Canadians and British do have obvious differences in the way we do business, and plenty of similarities too. One of those things we have in common is that our governments – all of them – have a textbook guide to growing a business overseas.

There’s a very corporate, structural approach. Firstly, get yourself an accountant. After all, you need someone to set up your bank accounts, juggle all the currencies and, importantly from the governments point of view, make sure those taxes get paid.

Then, find yourself a lawyer. There are all sorts of pesky legalities to setting up an overseas business. Pick yourself a head office, choosing the location based on, presumably, some political advice to the regions.

Finally, start paying an expert salesperson. Start a recruitment drive, find your lone ranger, put them on the books, and send them out there to start talking business.

Disrupting well-worn pathways

The problem with this guidance is that it’s missing the key ingredient. After all, what use is having a registered company, if you don’t have any customers? It’s very much a case of putting the cart before the horse.

Let’s take a far more realistic approach – one that will appeal to our more cautious Canadian cousins while slowing the more breakneck approach of the Americans. That is – let’s find out if your product has any customer appeal first.

Forget what the official guidelines have to say. We believe that the first thing to focus on is the customer. Develop your proposition, understand the wants of your chosen market – and how they differ between countries and cultures – develop your company USP and identify your route to market.

Identifying the right partnerships from the start minimise your risk and exposure, allow you to build up sales and maximise your returns – all before you spend a dollar on incorporating your company, paying out for accountants and lawyers.

Putting it out there

It sounds fairly obvious. It should be. Scaling up your business needs sales – so putting a customer base in place should be the first step. It’s just not what businesses have been taught to do – thus far. 

We’re prepared to put our heads above the parapet and disrupt old thought processes. Put the horse first, and the cart will follow. Are you prepared to take the challenge?