Many CEOs of American startups feel uneasy in the midst of expanding their company internationally—and this fear isn’t without warrant. If your expansion is going to succeed, there are some common challenges that American startups need to be aware of. Before your first overseas hire, make sure you’ve done your homework to safeguard your company against complications that may arise from differences in location, culture, and language. Here, I’d like to share with you the wisdom that I wish someone had imparted to me before I expanded my company.
Have Clear Communication
Clear communication is essential for companies whose staff is scattered around the globe. Define the core values of your brand and make sure that these values stay intact. Your core value set is who you are—it’s what made you successful. Vigorously protect the integrity of your organization by ensuring that this core value set is implemented within each corporate branch. Set clear objectives to make sure that everyone is running in the same direction. With a more complicated hierarchy, there’s much more room for deviation. Ensure that the whole team is on the same page. Don’t let anything get lost somewhere across the ocean.
Day-to-day correspondence can very easily be misinterpreted. Encourage employees to communicate with each other (with voice and video) through tools such as Skype, WebEx, and GoToMeeting. This not only eliminates the guess work of intonations that come with reading the written word, but eliminates the wait time between email responses.
Create Cross-Border Reporting
Cross-border reporting is useful for international team members. You don’t want a situation where the entire marketing team is located in California and the entire development team is located in Spain. Mix it up. Employees in Spain can be managed by employees in California, and vice versa.
Dan Adika is CEO and co-Founder at WalkMe, an online guidance and engagement platform.
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