Right now our whole team at finder.com.au is running off the adrenaline high of having just launched our US site, finder.com. But while the last week has been one of celebration, our American presence has been a good nine years in the works.
This nine-year pipeline has been a gruelling process, showing me that even though you can create numerous thriving businesses in Australia, the second you decide to take it international you’re fighting a completely different game.
Here’s three reasons why going international – and doing it well – can’t be rushed.
1. Success comes from brand trust, and trust is a long fight
When you make that crucial decision to take your team global, the tender you have to work with is not actually your business model or your product – it’s your brand’s weight and trust in your original market. Modern audiences are smart – they’ll do their research when they hear of a new provider, and your press and media will speak volumes above and beyond what type of business model you have.
2. Your values may actually not mean that much in a different culture
When we started in Australia, the first questions we received was “so how do you make money?”, so we made that clear on finder.com.au. When we launched finder.com we made the same transparency efforts, only to realise our American audience simply wanted to know if our site was free to use. Transparency is a big issue in the Australian finance market, but in the US they just wanted a free service.
Know which of your values and driving messages actually loses relevance in other countries, and adjust to suit – this goes from high level ideas down to product descriptions and wording.
3. When you go international, people start asking why
Launch a site or business in your home country and no one bats an eye – but the second you take your domestic resources and insert them into another market, everyone wants to know why. Why didn’t you just expand in the same country? Why did you choose that particular market, and why at that time? While it’s good to know the answers to these questions ahead of time as a team, you’re also going to need the ‘media-safe’ equivalent of these answers.
Launching internationally is the equivalent of a house cat being air-dropped into the middle of the Amazon. Brace yourself, you’ve got a tonne of adapting to do, and a bunch of already-thriving competitors, so don’t give anything away before you’ve landed!