Even the most successful global startups face challenges with managing their business from afar. When you combine cultures, business models, risks and foreign markets—there can be a lot of unknowns. Whether you’re expanding your business internationally or are already operating in several countries, a global startup needs to have proper structure and management.
In order for your startup to adapt and thrive in a global structure, keep these tips in mind.
Streamline your business strategy
One of the most important factors that will impact the success of your startup overseas is the solidity of your business strategy. International markets are vastly different across all continents, so it’s important that you keep your overall business strategy central, clearly defined and understood by top executives in each department.
While the tactics and strategies used in each market will significantly differ, the overall goal should be the same. If everyone is working toward the same goals, even if they’re catered to each individual market, you’re working in harmony, which makes the process of managing progress and success much easier.
Establish one culture among many
While an international business is made up of people with many different backgrounds, establishing an identifiable company culture, despite those differences, is a must. A great culture promotes teamwork among employees, increased productivity and overall job satisfaction. In fact, it can even increase your bottom line: Growth Everywhere reports that happy employees have a positive correlation with shareholder returns.
While you should recognize and celebrate differences among cultures, you can also focus on the commonalities of all team members to unite the company as one. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Monthly video calls where team members connect face-to-face
- Company-wide challenges for most sales, top social media engagement, etc.
- Displaying the company’s mission statement in every office, in their native language
It’s important to embrace the region’s language by translating not just the mission statement, but all onboarding documents, training materials and any other shared information.
Networking in each individual region is critical for your startup to establish a circle of people in each market that you can trust, learn and grow from. It’s also a great way for your top executives in those countries to learn about and embrace the regional business culture:
“We’ve found, in experiencing these various cultures, that it’s important first to understand the nuances of the country or region in which we are working and what makes those team members ‘tick,’” Ted Rollins, global entrepreneur and chairman of Valeo Groupe, said.
Know your team
Whether you operate from one central office, or many around the world, allowing employees to work to their strengths is the best way to boost retention and empower them to do their best work.
“Despite operating in many different countries, the upper management has one common goal: building purpose and autonomy with all our various team members, regardless of where they—or we—are,” explains Rollins.
Since you can’t be everywhere at once, build this into the company culture, encouraging managers and team leaders to learn about the people they’re managing, both professionally and personally. When it’s time to promote someone (or worse, let them go), you can turn to these regional leaders for insight on the team members they work with each day.
Managing business overseas can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Use these tips to unite your employees, learn about the culture, and network between overseas meetings and offices back home.