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How to grow your startup internationally? 3 steps and 1 programme to expand your business (Sponsored)

Boost your expansion with the EU-funded Rocket Up programme! The EU-funded Rocket Up programme offers a 15-week programme designed to support women founders with customized mentoring, training, and networking opportunities, for startups in mobility, food or manufacturing tech. Apply now to join the programme!

For European startups, international expansion becomes essential very quickly. To reach a large customer pool, ventures must move across borders in a continent made up of more than 40 distinct countries, each with its own regulations, infrastructures, languages, and cultures.

Yet, expanding internationally is not so easy. Especially for women-led ventures, which are often held back by additional barriers.

Building products for a different customer base adds a great level of complexity.  According to research, around 70% of startups fail due to premature scaling. This means that, before jumping into international expansion, it’s important to ensure that your business is ready for the challenge.

Here are 3 steps that can help you successfully expand your business globally:

Step 1: Check if you’re ready

When you’re first getting your business off the ground, your gut is often all you have. However, before you go international, you have to make sure you have the right structure to handle the extra complexity! Here are 5 things a start-up should have before take-off:

  • Product Retention: Your product should be already in the market and should have a good retention rate.
  • Infrastructure to Scale: Your business should have the infrastructure required to scale the product, including financial resources.
  • Multi/International Clients: Your business should have multinational clients on board or international visitors showing interest.
  • International Team: Your team should have international experience.
  • Clear Sales Funnel and Processes: Your startup’s sales funnel and internal processes should be clear and efficient.

Step 2: Choose where to go

Choosing the right location for your business is crucial to your success, but how do you decide which market is best?

Although it can be tempting to just trust your instinct, it’s important that you invest your time into the initial research process. Here are some steps on how to choose your new market:

  • Understand Market Needs: Identity what makes your product successful in your home market.
  • Understand Customer Needs: Understand what considerations customers take when selecting your product.
  • Express Them in Numbers: Express both needs with quantitative parameters.
  • Measure Market Attractiveness: Measure potential location attractiveness based on the above parameters.
  • Validate Most Attractive Markets: Validate the most attractive markets with research, surveys, and experiments.

Step 3: Set your Strategy 

Once you have selected the location for your business, you will need to adapt your strategy to new markets. A few things to keep in mind while doing this are:

  • Consider exploring partnerships with local businesses, organizations, and entrepreneurs to help you navigate local regulations and customs, that can help you pass various barriers
  • Cultural differences can have a significant impact on the success of your business. Therefore, it’s crucial to adapt your business model to suit the target market. Take them into consideration and fine-tune your product and marketing strategy accordingly.
  • Define your hiring strategy from less to more. You may not need to open an office immediately. You may start with outsourcing and contract work to build a team, then gradually scale up.

Expanding your business may not be straightforward, but, if done right, it can bring amazing results.

If you want to have a deeper understanding of the steps to take your business abroad, and receive personalized support from hand-picked and exceptional trainers and mentors, apply to the Rocket Up programme!

This EU-funded program is designed specifically to help businesses succeed in international expansion. By joining, you will get:

  1. Clear and Validated Market to Go.
  2. Go-to-Market Strategy with Steps.
  3. Customized Mentoring.
  4. Contacts and Relevant Experts in Target Market.
  5. Increased Female-Founder Network.

Apply and get tailor-made mentorship, training and networking. Sign up here for the free info webinar happening on May 15th. 

Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.

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