Why Internationalization Is Important For Startups

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Internationalization is the way to go for startups. Explore how a Spanish company expanded their business into the US, the UK and Mexico and what to be aware of.

In this article (btw my first for StartUs) I want to share my experiences from my last visit to Wayra with you. Wayra is one of the best accelerators for startups here in Madrid, and maybe one of the most extended in latin countries, with the support of Telefonica de España, present in more than 20 countries.

The meeting that took place was a master class with one of the “brains” of Ticket Bis, Jorge Diaz Largo. They started out in 2007, re-selling tickets for events (like Real Madrid games or Rafa Nadal, concerts or even bullfights) and now are selling tickets worth more than 100mln Euro. Jorge talked about the importance of internationalization for startups in order to become successful.

Looking Outside Your Country

Spanish companies tend not to look outside the frontiers unless they are successful there, but the point is, why don’t we develop in this matter and take marketing actions outside our home country?
Spain is the second most visited country in Europe regarding tourism, so it’s possible to sell these visitors tickets in their country, before they even come to Spain. This target has a high purchasing power and represent 50% of Ticket Bis’ sales.

Ticket Bis started to sell in countries like Germany, UK, USA, Mexico and Argentina but their main office is still in Madrid. They also study the costs of relocating their offices every time, and thus recognized Poland as the next “Ireland”, for costs and great capacity as well as quality of work.
The main partners of the company went to every country to study the market and create a salesforce on site. Jorge noted that in Brazil they committed a big mistake: a lot of people clicked on their page, but conversion was very low. Something was wrong, and they were obsessed with the mistake lying in the marketing team. But the problem was the sales platform itself. Once they improved the platform sales started to go up.

The main point here is that every country has specific problems that need to be solved with local people but with a global vision (and someone at the headquarter) behind it. The process of improving your platform, your strategies, your team and yourself is a continuous one.
Teamwork, global vision and shared information take an important part in this process. A well managed team can produce positive synergy and shared information is needed to keep everyone up-to-date and thus create a vision everyone shares and follows.

Don’t forget that unexplored territories can be an obstacle at first (thinking of different customs, languages, cultures) so you willl always need the empathy to connect with these different markets and keep this values up in your own organization’s culture as well. The better you know your own culture, the better you can manage your team in your country and offshore.



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