Take your startup global from the very beginning

By Editor February 1, 2016

The world can be the marketplace for any entrepreneur who is launching a startup. When building a new business, the Internet makes it possible to go global from day one. However, in today’s world, you need different skills than were required just 20 years ago to take a startup global. The keys are to think global from the very beginning and to be quick about it.

Get Connected

There are tech and startup events throughout the year where you can learn about innovative initiatives and new trends in the digital world. New businesses and startups find venture capital and other funding when they make the right connections at these events. Investors attend these events looking for innovative ideas and new investments. Even if you have your funding, you can learn about new market approaches and meet like-minded people. Many events offer world-renowned speakers. It is worth the time and effort to attend several tech and startup events in your area or abroad.

Become a Global Company From Day One

With the Internet, mobile wireless access and cloud services, entrepreneurs can reach a global customer base instantly and receive payment online. Almost half of the world’s population is online and can access information, services and products. You can maximize your chances of getting it right the first time if you lay the international groundwork from the moment you start your company. This means making sure that your product or service is designed for a global market and not just for the U.S. If you start your business with a product that is designed for one market, you will have to re-engineer it to work in Europe, Asia or South America. This could take years and be expensive. You can avoid this by doing the groundwork from the very beginning.

Consult an International Lawyer

A lawyer who specializes in international business will be able to help you deal with corporate issues abroad. He or she will negotiate contracts that affect more than one country and help you apply international rules and regulation that are applicable to global businesses. Your lawyer will know how the tax laws work in different countries and help with cross-border transactions. He or she will be able to analyze the specific laws for each jurisdiction so that you can determine which jurisdiction is best for your transactions.

Many entrepreneurs understand that they need legal advice for different areas of their startup, but they make the mistake of trying to save money by hiring a friend or family member who will give discounts on fees. It is worth finding first-rate legal counsel at the very beginning, especially if you plan to go global right from the start. You will avoid big problems in the future if you get on the right legal footing now. When you write your company’s mission statement, make sure it relates to the whole world. Nike’s statement is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

Some tips for making your startup international from the beginning.

  • According to Shahram Shirkani’s site, startups should make sure that at least 30 percent of their management team has international experience. This will also add diversity of thinking. Dr. Shahram Shirkani is an international legal consultant
  • All senior product management and engineers should have international and local experience
  • Board members should all have international experience
  • Your IP protection plan should cover you internationally. You’ll get some global protection from The Patent Cooperation Treaty process
  • Your domain names and trademarks should be registered in the top 10 – 20 world economies. It would be disappointing to say the least if you developed a great global brand and found out it was already registered in India

When a product is developed for the U.S. market, ask your team to consider international implications. For example, how would this product sell in China or Brazil?

Keep Track of Overseas Markets

When you sell globally, you need to keep track of the countries from where you get most of your website traffic. You should also be able to find out why this is so. If you have employees in other countries, ask them to keep you up-to-date on the local trends. It is also recommended to travel to the places where your product is sold. This means international travel at least once a year. The main thing to see is if the international market is developing the same or differently from your home market. It may be a good idea to find a local partner to get started. Your international lawyer can help with this.

You have a brilliant idea for a startup, have several investors and are motivated to take the business global. To achieve this in the best possible way, it is recommended to think global from the very beginning and get an international lawyer to help you dot all the Is and cross all the Ts, so you are on your way in the U.S., Europe, China, India and South America.