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6 Min Read

Taking Your Company Global – The When

Now that your company has become established and gained a solid share in your original home market, you may now be thinking of scaling internationally, enhancing your geographic reach, and growing your overall revenues. Internationalizing a company is no easy task… As the leader of a business hoping to break into new markets across Asia and Europe, you will need to carry out extensive planning for your plans to succeed.

Remembering that in most instances, only the best-laid plans tend to succeed, and all require frequent course alterations and corrections along the way. If you are planning to enter a new market and win big, our research has identified that one of the most important aspects to consider “when might be the best time?”  If you can get “the when” right, then you will have laid solid foundations for your journey to international success and be well on your way to realizing true unicorn status!


Always carry out thorough and diligent research on your prospective market entry point before taking your business global. Internationalizing is akin to you personally relocating to a new country. When moving, if you do not carry out thorough research, you could end up locating in a less than an optimal neighborhood with all kinds of nefarious characters. However, with a little more consideration, you can choose a location where you will enjoy the experience, be able to immerse yourself in the culture, and ultimately thrive.

When carrying out your research, you will find that some markets are better or easier to enter than others, or that they are even offering start-up incentives to businesses just like yours.  Do not be afraid to engage with the various government agencies as you will be amazed at what they can offer. If you are lucky you can even be introduced to other companies and peers who have gone on a similar journey.


You should also consider how your business is performing in the current market. To find out if the time is right for internationalization, ask yourself:

  • Have I standardised the key processes of my business?
  • Have we captured market share?
  • Has growth slowed, or even stagnated?
  • Has the total addressable market changed?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then it may be time to explore new markets.


Before rolling out your plans for global domination, ask yourself if you have enough capital to fund your expansion efforts. Internationalization is a money-consuming venture that needs to be approached with a lot of financial sobriety and is a decision that will no doubt be keeping your CFO awake at night. Some of the funding you require will be earmarked for:

  • New offices
  • Hiring employees
  • General business operations
  • Paying for business licenses and local compliance
  • Marketing

Remember that your business will not start showing revenues immediately and will most likely take months or even years to break even.  Make sure that you have very clear targets beyond pure revenue in the early days, and do not expect to get it right on the first attempt.  You don’t want to be one of those companies that are had to retrench back to the core market as your funding hasn’t completed as you had hoped.



This is one of the most time-consuming and critical tasks you will undertake and should form part of your decision matrix when determining the right time to launch in a new market. Start this process early, as early as possible before you plan to officially launch, as non-US employees will likely have notice periods ranging from one to three months. By hiring early, your local team can take charge of smoothing the road ahead for you, ensuring that you and your business can focus on seamlessly integrating into the new environment.

Top of your list will be top-tier sales and marketing executives, preferably those that have been on this scale-up journey before and understand your business stage, go-to-market strategy, and are prepared to roll their sleeves up and do whatever it takes to propel you. Hiring the right people, at the right time or even in-time, will be critical to your international success.


Remember that different markets have different needs. What your tech company is offering in its home market may not necessarily be aligned in your new target markets.  Before committing to internationalizing, ask yourself:

  • Does my target market have a problem that will be solved by my existing product?
  • If my product cannot solve the problem that my target market has, can I modify it in some way to effectively solve their challenges?

Remember, no time will ever be the absolute perfect time, and the hardest part of going global will undoubtedly come from overcoming the inertia and comfort of sticking to your home market. Apply the tests above, do not overextend your business to the point that your home market suffers, invest for the longer term, and leverage the knowledge and expertise of people who have successfully scaled revenues in your target markets.


Your unicorn status will follow shortly after. Good luck!


Skale Executive Search work with the founders and investors of high-growth technology companies, to help them enter new markets and scale their leadership teams. More details can be found at www.skaleexec.com.



EMEAGeneral ManagerHiringInternationalizationNew Market EntryScale-Up

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