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1. Determine whether you are ready to go global

When analysing your business, you should consider the following:

Human resources 

  • Do you have adequate human resources - both locally and offshore - for overseas expansion?
  • Do you have the necessary skills, such as language capabilities and in-market operational experience?  

Technology 

  • Do you have the technology needed to support your particular mode of entry. For example: packaging and labelling technology for exporting; or web servers, database systems and network access for online?

Physical resources

  • Have you considered a suitable warehouse or shopfront (local and/or offshore)? 

Financial resources

  • Have you considered costs associated with the following: human resources, technology, marketing, travel, consulting services, website/e-commerce platforms, insurance, production and supply chain requirements, logistics, warehouse/shopfront needs, import duties, and taxes, among others? 
  • Is your domestic business adequately prepared for the anticipated cash burn rate during your overseas expansion? 
  • Do you have an approved line of credit if required?

In addition, it is important that you determine whether you have the Australian and in-market contacts and networks necessary to support you on your journey. Building relationships and having a support network is crucial, as it will play a big part in helping you get your business off the ground. Focusing on both Australia and abroad, you will need to begin to build your network by engaging the startup and business community, industry associations, local government, and chambers of commerce. Cold calling is not always well received - where possible, it is best to connect via a warm introduction.

All of the above are vital, however some may be of greater significance depending on your market of choice and the nature of your product or service.

Austrade has put together a step-by-step guide to help Australian businesses get export ready.

The Export Council of Australia also has number of free resources to help you get ready to take your product or service global. This information is listed under the Trade Topics subsection on their website.


Case study

Amplifier logo
 

“We are not afraid to cold call, but we have had greater success via warm introductions, so it helps to have contacts who can make those connections for you.”
Adam Friedman, CEO

When Australian startups are ready to scale, foreign markets are attractive for expanding customer bases and for raising capital.

Adam Friedman, Founder and CEO of Amplifier Corporation, the team behind Shareable Apps™, has done both of these things - taking Shareable Apps from concept to a global business with over 16,000 clients, and raising over $6 million in Australia and abroad.

As a participant in Austrade’s Landing Pads program, Friedman formed a beachhead in Singapore to manage the company's operations in Asia at the end of 2018.

His advice for other Australian startups wanting to access foreign markets for capital and customers is:

“Australia is a great test market for getting your product and business model right, which helps to validate your proposition before you try to duplicate it and attract customers and investors in foreign territories.”

“The Shareable Apps platform can produce an almost endless variety of app products, so we needed to simplify our message before entering new territories. From a marketing perspective, we found it useful to focus our Enterprise and Reseller offering to a core product suite of best-sellers. This made it easy to explain to new customers, and we focused on selling into key verticals in which we already have a proven historical track record.”

“We productised: there was one product for investors, one for staff management, one for government, one for charities… we packaged it up into specific use cases, which made it easier to target certain verticals and to sell to new clients.”

“You need sufficient capital and credible connections to enter a new market. Those markets typically only care about brands that they know and trust. The same applies for investors – we are not afraid to cold call, but we have had greater success via warm introductions, so it helps to have contacts who can make those connections for you.”

“These referrals have typically come from existing customers expanding their use into foreign territories, from investor networks and more recently via Austrade.”

“We have achieved strong organic growth and because anyone can make Shareable Apps via their browser, DIY creators are now located all over the world. However, growing our Enterprise division required a higher-touch relationship with customers, and for that to grow we needed to have people on the ground. Different markets respond differently to your pitch, but a consistent theme, in my experience, is that that it all comes down to trust. You build credibility by working with brands and advisors that they know, and by executing on what you say will.”

While the bulk of Amplifier’s capital has been raised in Australia, the company has also secured investments from the US and Asia, drawing a range of investors including high net worth individuals and family offices.

“When you’re looking for investors, both locally and abroad, it is important to find more than just money: you want to partner with investors who share your vision and whose values match your company’s DNA. They will provide you with more value than just cash, such as opening up their own networks and providing acumen.”

“What’s worked well for us is investors that understand our industry and have grown their own businesses before, so they understand what it takes to create something like this.” Friedman says.

“You’re sort of auditioning each other. You need to find investors who want the same things out of the business that you do. Also consider that you will likely raise more capital again in future, so you want long term partners who are prepared to come along for the ride and support the business as it grows from phase to phase.”