So, you want to expand your FinTech business from Australia to the UK market? One of the strings on our bow is helping tech businesses land and expand to different markets by advising, connecting and supporting founders to face the challenges ahead, so we know a thing or two about how to do it (and nail it) from start to finish.
This means we’re also aware of just how much there is to figure out, research and action as steps before you make that leap. We’re sharing 5 key questions that you need to ask (and answer) yourself that can help form your expansion strategy and make it a success from day one.
1. Are you confident in your niche?
With a market as large and innovative as the UK, your niche is potentially one of the most important things to prepare ahead of your expansion because it’s not just what will set you apart, it will also determine your success in this market.
Why you should care about your niche:
- If you (naively) assume that because you’re niched in the Aussie market that you will be in the UK market too, you’ll be left scrambling to craft a new one when your focus should be on more important things at that stage of the expansion.
- Your niche is the foundation of your comms, marketing, sales, product and even key hires - literally everything you need to bring you success in the UK market.
Why it makes sense to get confident in your niche:
- Investors, VCs, banks and even people pretty deep in the market do their research and they will know if you’re truly unique or not. Don’t put yourself in that tight spot of having to be told, ‘you’re not actually that unique…’
- Being upfront and honest about your competitors and why you’re not only different but are the safer bet will increase respect and opportunities in this new market for you.
- Acknowledging trends that support your niche as scalable will sound impressive to investors, customers and partnerships.
2. Are you telling your story in the best possible way?
A niche and USP in the market is the first (largest) stride, but now you’ve got to figure out how to communicate it because falling into that trap of regurgitating the same stories is all too common and frankly, gets boring.
Why you should care about telling your story right:
- You’ve worked so hard to craft a niche that makes you stand out in the UK market, but not being able to communicate it means it’ll just get lost in the noise.
- We know that talent these days want to make a difference, to do social good, feel part of something exciting and feel like they belong. The only way you can communicate the opportunity you have for them is through telling your story.
Why it makes sense to get confident in telling your story:
- The obvious answer here is pitching, sales, partnerships and networking.
- Your story has the power to win the hearts of the key hires that will make your expansion a success. Don’t glaze over it or neglect it.
- It’s just one story you have to tell, but there are several ways you have to tell it in order to captivate and engage different audiences and communicate confidently how you are going to solve their problem.
3. Are you clear on taxes and regulations?
We know that you know - the legal stuff is crucial. Fast growth means more responsibilities, more tasks and ideas to cram into your headspace and this can result in a tendency to forget or not have time for the important things that will seriously impact scaling.
Why you should care about being clear on regulations:
- In the UK, it’s more likely going to be a fine, which is still not something you want, obviously. But, in other countries, it could even mean jail time.
- Open Banking in the UK differs from other markets. How you embed that into your product has to be figured out first otherwise you run the risk of different versions of the product with slightly different codebases, which is just causing you more potential problems.
Why it makes sense to get confident with regulations in different markets:
- The UK government invested half a billion pounds in R&D tax credits last year, it literally pays to be in the know or hire somebody who is.
- GDPR in the UK has different rules on storing data, so that can have an implication on where your product is hosted, which then impacts the size of your team and how you support a global product with just a local team.
- PTS-2 and licenses - understand what they are and what you need for your UK expansion because they are going to have implications on your product.
4. Have you determined the right salesperson and/or tactics for your launch?
Who is the right person to sell your product in this new territory? Does such a person exist or will you have to compromise or combine skillsets? It’s not just sales to think about either, but partnerships too. Some of our clients, after visiting the UK ahead of their expansion, realised that partnerships would be more valuable to them in their initial launch.
Why you should care about finding the right salesperson and partnerships:
- If you have a sales hire who is so focused on growing revenue and getting more customers on board, even if it means altering the product to fit their needs each time, not only does that put more pressure on devs but you also end up with a Frankenstein product and losing the original problem you planned to solve.
- Partnerships can be a great entry point into the UK, with warm leads and contacts. The key thing to remember is to do your own due diligence on them.
Why it makes sense to feel confident in who is selling your product:
- If your product is in early-stage (so is going through teething issues), you’re going to want to have sales who can also fix simple issues on the ground but who can also sell that. Whereas a typical enterprise salesperson is used to selling something that has the kinks ironed out.
- Boots on the ground who know the ecosystem and can evolve partnerships will always be the more fruitful option of flying a founder or an exec in and out of the country every quarter. With knowledge brings more trust and peace of mind that they’re going to do a great job.
5. How are you going to create harmony in different time zones?
As we know, the language is the same, but the time zones couldn’t be further apart for Australia and the UK. From October to March, you’re looking at a whopping 10 hour time difference between London and Sydney which doesn’t leave a huge amount of ‘normal’ working hours to communicate in.
Why you should care about the time difference:
- We now know that one of the most important factors of a role and working environment for talent is a sense of belonging. At the start when you’ve just got one or two people on the ground, it can feel incredibly isolated and lonely even without the time difference.
Why it makes sense to be confident across both time zones:
- What happens when the product is down or has an emergency issue that your person in the UK can’t fix? You must have these kinds of protocols in place so that customers stay happy despite a challenging time difference.
- Figuring out what needs to be monitored and processed in real-time and what can be automated will lighten the load on employees at HQ and in the satellite office.
We are Think & Grow, helping humans and businesses scale. We are growth partners for bold technology businesses helping tech startups compete globally in a world of rapid change, targeted for different stages of growth.
If you’re looking to expand, check out our Land & Expand service as well as our Going Global program in partnership with Investment NSW.