Within a year, we generated over €100k in revenue, and to celebrate this we decided to share our perspective on what the 3 most important elements are on successfully starting a business in a new country in Year 1 via this first podcast and this blog.
1. HAVE THE POWER OF WILL TO PURSUE PLAN A.
Being bold, confident, and fully committed to heading forward through your PLAN A and not having a comfortable Plan B despite the vast sea of uncertainty and obvious risks is key. Sounds unreasonable? Totally. In fact, there should only be Plan A and Plan A only in your mind. You are the maker of your destiny, driven by your will to succeed. You must hustle for your dream by hustling for Plan A. Your dream won't just "turn up" so having this “power of will” will allow you to FOCUS on just one path to reach your vision. It will help you push, push, push through the immense hesitance and keep that relentless perseverance. However, this is much easier said than done. I felt apprehensive and I was scared. Not measuring our risks, or calculating the “what if’s” occasionally freaked me out. But in hindsight I do believe now that NOT having any comfortable Plan B hiding in the background was one of the primary success factors in igniting and launching our rocket.
a. Yep. Keep your cash flow to a minimum until you’re earning money in the bank. The only way to do this is to save, save, save. You can’t spend money where you don’t need it and when you’re not earning it. Renting an office is the obvious example and a trap that many entrepreneurs fall into. Don’t spend your limited resources on something you don’t actually need unless you’re ready for it. Instead, enjoy that FREEDOM you’ve always dreamed of! The freedom to work anywhere you want, whenever you want, is one of the things we love about doing what we do. Every day is exciting at the casual hipster coffee shop, the resourceful clients' offices, or at your cosy home! The bottom line is remain lean by not spending money where you don’t need it. To figure out what you can spend your precious capital on, ask yourself: do I need or want this?
3. BE AGILE.
Indeed, a 21st Century cliché phrase but “adapting fast” is so important. It’s not what you want to offer to the new market, it’s what your prospective customers want. You need to be open and ready to transform elements of your start-up and go as far as changing your core business models in order to adapt fast and meet the needs and demands of the market you’re in. This is to be agile, but never losing touch with your vision, the “why” of your venture. In other words, allow yourself space to manoeuvre within the ways in which you’re able to accomplish your vision. When we first arrived in South-East Asia, Jan and I expected to land large accounts with the corporate market and had all of our models and products ready to kick ass in this, but within a few weeks of due diligence we decided to change our processes and services to consequently land contracts in the education market, taking us one step closer to helping us transform the education system.
Thank you for listening or reading!