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Join the next International Growth Sprint one-day intensive.  

Thursday 25th  July in Manchester City Centre 

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Let's be real – most of us who lead companies that are scaling in the UK also dream of taking our business global.  

Those visions of pulling in revenue from new markets, establishing a worldwide presence, and joining the ranks of brands known beyond regional borders... it's important and attractive stuff.   

But then reality hits. There are so many questions and potential landmines. Where do you even begin with international expansion? Which markets are the best opportunities? What products and channels should you invest in? How do you align your team and operations for global scale? 

This ambiguity and overwhelm leads a lot of businesses to stay stuck in domestic mode. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Growing a company organically in the UK is both worthwhile and tough all by itself. Except that for those who know that there’s potential for more, they’re left with a nagging sense that the real value left on the table is a sad, ever-shifting “someday maybe”.  

Well, for over 200 companies who have attended previous iterations of the one-day intensive of the International Growth Sprint, that “someday-maybe” gets brought forward to today.  

You see, the Growth Sprint is based on Google's famous Design Sprint process that the tech juggernaut uses to rapidly drive alignment across teams, validate ideas and get moving to make a real dent in the market.  

What we’ve proven we can do is move teams beyond theorizing... but creating a concrete, prioritized action plan for international expansion. 


Key to Sprints having the impact they do is helping teams get the balance between Strategy and Execution.  

From working with 200+businesses who’ve been through these events now, I’ve found the most frequent barrier to exporting successfully isn’t capital, nor connections, nor legal constraints, nor any one of the thousand other challenges often listed... it’s overwhelm.  

The vast number of uncertainties often stops teams from meaningfully getting started. Or – for those who do dip their toe – they get overwhelmed with the plurality of strategies and channel maps and risk assessments that a lot of people say you need to have.  

The thing is, it's never an either / or when it comes to the balance between strategy and execution. The trick lies in getting the emphasis right.  

There’s absolutely a need for some strategic thinking. But just enough to get you and your team pointed in the same direction to then rapidly move into try lots of small, low-risk, low cost go-to-market steps and iterate step by step by step.  

We go into this in detail at the one-day International Growth Sprint, which I’d absolutely encourage you and your team to have a look at attending. But even if you can’t make it here’s some ideas that you can feed into your International Growth Approach.  

1. Getting aligned matters more than getting it right.  

When they have an honest chat about driving for international we find that leadership teams quickly realise that everyone is in a slightly different places on both the importance that export should have in the companies growth plan AND the best ways to go about it. This is understandable and largely because of exporting’s inherent risks and uncertainties. However, you can’t hope to make any progress with exporting until the senior team have some frank "get-it-all-out-on-the-table" conversations to identify the elephants in the room holding your business back.  

What fears do we have about entering new markets? Where are our operational bottlenecks? What might we have to temporarily sacrifice domestically to pursue the international opportunity? What's keeping each person from total buy-in? 

2. Being specific matters more than being comprehensive  

One tech company in B2B software came on a sprint two years ago with a whole grand plan about how they would scale take their core offer globally. The plan actually looked great on paper, but the target market was EVERYWHERE, the channels for going to market were ALL OF THEM and there were no tangible opportunities in the next three months to really dial in and focus on.  

Yet there was a smaller immediate opportunity to partner with one client on a whole new offer away from the core business surrounding data. Long story short, the team decided to run an experiment with that client immediately. 12 months later that pilot had become a whole new revenue line representing 50% of their turnover, selling across Europe.  

The team could have taken another couple of months to tighten up its expansive strategy and would have ended up with a better looking document. Instead it took real, rapid, concrete action in the market, using that to inform the strategy and ended up getting to a better bottom line, faster.  

3. Steal other people’s homework before reinventing the wheel  

You don’t have to start from scratch in running these experiments. There’s a track record of hundred, if not thousands of companies now who use growth experiments regularly to fuel their expansion. Look for two things to help accelerate your progress...  

  1. Stories from businesses both in and outside your sector who have broken the domestic barrier. At the Sprint we’ll share stories and tee you up with advisors who share intimate hard-won lessons from their experience of both exporting themselves and being involved in client journeys. But with a little imagination and some tenacity, you can source these from your network and / or the web! 
  2. Playbooks of how to run short sharp experiments and tests. There is a toolkit available - together with data on which tools have been effective - that we share at the Sprint. That said, have a look around online for resources around running A/B tests, pricing strategies, c-sat interviews, fact-finds, concierge trials and much more.  

As a final thought, Jesper Brodin, the chief of Ikea wrote in the FT last year that they had abandoned all long-term planning and were focused on much shorter cycles of test-and-learn.  


In volatile markets, why waste time and resources on bloated strategies that'll be outdated before the ink dries? It made more sense to shift into simpler and more meaningful 12 month scenarios, prototyping potential offers, running tests, analyzing the data, and always evolving and adjusting based on what the market was teaching them.  

The same can be true whether you're an ambitious startup, manufacturer, eCommerce brand or from any other sector. Weighting the balance towards execution and experimentation with just enough strategy to get you aligned and moving is something that can open real doors internationally or domestically for any company who’s serious about accelerating their growth. 

Only a limited number of companies can participate in the 25 July Growth Sprint in Manchester. If you're ready to rapidly accelerate international scale and leave ambiguity behind, claim one of the remaining spots at Business Growth Hub | International Growth Sprint before they're gone! 

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