Apr 8, 2020 11:00:00 AM
5 reasons you should expand your business overseas now. Yes, really.
If you’re a growing SaaS or tech company who – up until recently – had plans for overseas expansion, you may now be wondering if you should put everything on hold and change your plans for expanding your business abroad.
But you shouldn’t be afraid to grow your business – and you won’t grow if you stand still. We believe that the current situation presents an opportunity for companies in the SaaS market to thrive, providing the technology that we need to stay connected – and jobs for talented people all over the world.
Here are our five top reasons you should go forward with your overseas expansion plans with confidence.
1. Your product has no physical supply chain
If you’re in the tech space, chances are that nothing has changed in how your product or service is delivered – besides the expectation for face-to-face meetings. The world has embraced the remote-working model, and this is now the way people will expect to be served – even after things return to normal.
If you have a product or service that can be delivered at the click of a button, you have a huge opportunity to grow. Unlike industries who rely on the physical presence of staff in order to run their organisations, SaaS companies can run entirely remotely. For example, if you’re selling a software license and are looking to get into the UK or European market, all you need to get started is a sales team in the right time zone.
It is important to realise, however, that the UK and EU workforce expects – and is entitled to – different workplace packages than in the US, as Rory Harpur, Sales Manager at SOLA Group explains:
You might know that employment contracts are different in the UK/EU, but you might not know the extent of those differences – things like notice periods, and being paid, taxed and HR-run in the country you’re working in, and not run from US headquarters.
To ensure you’re meeting all the regulatory requirements, you’ll need to do thorough research around employment law in your chosen country. You’ll also need to understand the real costs of employing people overseas besides salary – such as tax and national insurance.
2. Your product or service will be in high demand if you’re in the tech space
If you’re a software or technology company, you’ll likely see a surge in the demand for your product. In the past week alone, we have seen the boundless power of technology in bringing people together and keeping businesses and vital services running.
Until very recently, working from home was a once or twice a week affair for most – now it's the norm for many workers around the world. And, with the spread of coronavirus still on the rise, the demand for tech solutions that enable businesses and families to survive will only continue to grow.
Daniel Broome, Principal Consultant at SOLA Group says in recent days and weeks, he’s heard from multiple firms who are continuing to either increase their presence, or launch into new markets – especially cloud or video-based services.
I think it’s about getting the pipeline in place prior to the resumption of "normal life" – we have a couple of firms successfully entering the UK market for the first time now.
Time is of the essence, and if you can be contributing positively to people’s work lives as they navigate this ‘new normal’, then you’ll be in high demand – even once this crisis is over, and people gradually return to more traditional ways of working.
3. Failure to act will harm your business
It’s hard not to freeze in the face of a global crisis. But standing still and waiting for the wave to hit won’t help. Battening down the hatches and pausing your growth plans to preserve cashflow is a knee-jerk reaction. What will happen when those cash reserves are gone?
If you had plans to grow your business overseas because there is a genuine demand for it, then (in the vast majority of cases) that won’t have changed. Those customers are still out there – and will be after the dust has settled. Plus, if you’re offering a tech solution, then chances are you will see an uptick in the demand for your product or service. If you aren’t bold in your actions now, there is competition who will be, and will take advantage of the current situation to move ahead, while you stand still.
However, you’ll need to be ready to cope with increased usage, and ensure you’ve got the right team and infrastructure in place. If you haven’t invested in recruitment in a timely fashion, you’ll either miss the opportunity and lose out to a competitor, or worse, end up with disappointed and frustrated customers because you don’t have the capacity to service them.
4. There is more talent available now than ever before
As technology advances, so does technology education, increasing the talent pool available to growing tech companies, year on year. And now, due to recent events, this talented, well-educated workforce is at home and more available for interviews than ever. With global job losses in the travel, entertainment and food sectors, there will be a wealth of high-calibre candidates out there with the transferable skills you need.
Forward-thinking companies will be seizing this opportunity to get their hands on top talent. If you wait too long to recruit, you’ll risk missing out on the best candidates. If you already know what you’re looking for in your dream team, then it’s likely the right people are out there now, ready to talk.
You’ll want to think about which team members to prioritize for your recruitment efforts. Who would need to be in place for your overseas team to be self-sufficient? Rory Harpur says that from his experience, you’re likely going to need to fill sales roles first:
If it’s a software company with high growth, we will encourage setting up a sales team right away. They’re usually interested in getting an idea of benchmark salaries for different roles and getting to work selling as soon as possible in their new market.
5. There are organisations who can do it all for you, faster
If you’re wondering how it’ll be possible for you to go through all the necessary steps to expand into the UK or EU, you’ll be relieved to know that help is at hand. Depending on the partner you choose to work with, you could have everything taken care of for you – so you can get ahead of the competition, and make your expansion dreams a reality.
Sometimes, it’s only a matter of weeks before you’re set up. But businesses should be prepared for it to potentially take 4-6 months, or beyond. Drawing up contracts, for example, can be a lengthy process. There are compliance measures that need to be met, so your contracts should be comprehensive – and, at these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to ensure that any paperwork is water-tight. Rory Harpur explains:
The process from day one to finish can be lengthy – not necessarily costly – but it’s the time and opportunity cost of not selling and being properly set up. That’s the potential loss. Companies need realistic expectations about how long setting up might take.
Working with an organisation like SOLA Group means you can kick-start your expansion into the UK, from sourcing the right talent to interviewing and onboarding new team members. Daniel Broome explains that, as well as having all the necessary compliance and regulatory requirements met, SOLA Group can work to your deadlines:
Companies can send over job titles and descriptions, then we map everything out backwards, from the start date they’ve got in mind. We plot when first-stage video interviews need to occur to make sure that you get the people by that date.
If you’re looking for an organization that can help you recruit the right talent in the UK and EU, while meeting all the necessary legal requirements, SOLA group could be a good fit for your business – especially at this challenging time.