Chloe Barrett, founder of dental training technology business Digidentistry, discusses her experiences of an international market visit, and provides tips for businesses looking to expand their global reach.
For a small business, the thought of international expansion is exciting and nerve-wracking in equal measure. When we got the opportunity to attend Web Summit – the world’s largest tech event – we jumped at the chance, but in the knowledge that we would need advice to make the most of it. GC Business Growth Hub provided us with key information about Web Summit and were always approachable and informative when it came to answering queries and ensuring we were ready for the trip.
As this shows, when it comes to entering new markets, it is crucial that you do your homework. Understand the cultures and difference between the UK and the local market, as something that seems meaningless to you could make all the difference to your prospective business partner.
You also need to know your business inside out. An overseas partner will want to know not just how you differentiate in the market, but how you plan to adapt your approach to meet their needs. Having clarity of vision on a long-term business plan is also important, demonstrating to prospective partners and investors that you have a clear growth trajectory in place.
When you’re on the ground, don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. With the sheer number of businesses at Web Summit, it would have been easy to get lost in the crowd. However, with the accurate targeting that we had done ahead of the trip, coupled with a willingness to immerse ourselves in the environment and network, we were able to mingle with businesses from around the world. It may feel unnatural to some people, but it’s certainly worth it.
Formal schemes, such as the Global Scale Up Programme, are available to support this growth. We at Digidentistry have been fortunate enough to be selected for the first cohort, and we will need to make sure we learn as much as we can from our fellow business owners. As a cohort, it is crucial to share successes and learnings, as well as make valuable connections into new sectors and prospective new business when you return home.