How to build a global company from day one

Brynne Herbert,  MOVE Guides
- Leadership - Sep 18, 2016

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to share my experience of how I built a global company at Zendesk’s event, Relate Live. As a business created around employee relocation, MOVE Guides had no choice but to build a global company from the get go, but how can other businesses do the same?

A lot of companies begin by establishing their business in just one location, with the aim of gradually expanding into global territory.

With nine out of ten start-up’s now likely to fail, it’s becoming more difficult for companies to break into the competitive international market. How can organisations not only succeed on their own turf but give themselves the best chance of operating globally?

Commit to being global

Building a business from ground-to-global requires sacrifice, especially in the early stages.

To open multiple offices in various locations, it’s essential you find the right people to see the process through. They must share the same level of commitment as you, as you need to trust that they have the ability to drive and push the business to succeed.

Not only does global success require commitment, it requires fluidity. Working hours won’t be nine-to-five as you’ll have to find the time to communicate across different time zones, often resulting in longer working hours. With offices around the world, late night calls, early flights and video conferences are just a few factors to be expected.

Develop your company culture

Company culture is an unspoken social contract that everyone involved with your business signs up to. You need to make sure it’s consistent across each location. You might have one office in Cardiff and another in China, but aside from obvious colloquial variations, your brand should be strongly recognisable throughout.

One way of developing your culture and ensuring its implementation is through your employees. Encourage them to own their work and immerse themselves in the job. Employ people that believe in your business and its values. Who best to advocate a product or service than someone that believes in it themselves?

Build your communication model

Building a communication model for a start-up can be difficult. Trying to do this across different locations brings another set of potential challenges.

Rather than trying to build your business around a model, build a model around your business. Think about what would work for your employees, customers and culture and adopt a process that suits all of these factors.

A business with a solid set of values, purpose and strategy, already has a good foundation to build a global operation. Combine these factors with strong leadership and you’ll find employees begin to adopt this into their way of working. Consistency throughout will push the business to release its full, desired potential and propel your business forward.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, embrace the journey. Start-up businesses are subject to a lot of change in the early stages, but it’s all to be expected. Be agile, adaptable and willing to work through the different phases your company has to go through.

Read the September 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

Follow @BizReviewEurope

By Brynne Herbert, founder and CEO, MOVE Guides

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