Do you have the essential skills to launch your international startup?
You’ve come up with an idea that you believe can change the world. You’ve identified a hungry market for your idea and now all you need to do is turn your idea into a tangible product or service that can be scaled and sold internationally. The rewards of your venture may seem near, but it will elude you if you fail to equip yourself with the essential skills that you need to overcome the business challenges that you will face on your entrepreneurial journey.
Several businesses that have been in a position to succeed end up failing due to their business’s leaders lacking the key entrepreneurial skills that’s required to grow their business. The belief that you will succeed is what all entrepreneurs need, however to catapult your business venture successfully into the market will take more than just willpower alone. Hult MBA graduate Mohamed Abd El Azeem recognized his need to acquire the essential skills for him to successfully launch his cosmetics company LeSoie across the Middle East and Asia.
If you are serious about launching a successful international business venture, then you must fill the gaps in your business knowledge and skills otherwise you will risk exposing your venture to immediate failure. Hult International Business School trains entrepreneurs with the essential skills to successfully manage and grow your startup into a thriving international business enterprise. Skills that you need to possess to launch your startup include:
- sales and marketing
- risk assessment
- managing supplies
- finance and accounting
- general management
- managing logistics, supply chain and distribution
Master the art of sales and marketing.
The most important skill that you need to grow a business is sales. You will need to sell your ideas, your products and your brand to potential customers and stakeholders that will give your business money in exchange for its products or services. People that master the art of selling will always attract customers and grow the business. To scale your startup internationally, you must know how to identify your target market and to pitch your business’s proposition so prospects will become customers, as well as advocates for your business. You can learn the exact sales and marketing methods in Hult’s Master of International Marketing.
Learn how to manage risk.
Successful entrepreneurs know how to take smart risks that will allow their business to grow, while avoiding any potential commercial threats to the business. Since your startup will be exposed to international laws and regulations, political intervention and red tape, financial risks from fluctuations in currency rates, international transactions, and more. Entrepreneurs that are unable to identify and manage risks can jeopardize their business’s operation and expansion efforts. It is essential to learn how to identify and manage business risks.
Learn how to source, choose and manage suppliers.
To scale your startup quickly, you will need to engage with international service providers such as licensees, agencies or franchisees. The businesses and people that you work with can make or break your business. Should you hire a business to conduct a working project that they fail to deliver on; will your startup be able to take any actions based on the contractual agreements that were made between the parties? Furthermore, if things need to be escalated to the local authorities, which country and jurisdiction will settle any legal or arbitrary claims that have been made by either of the parties? It is essential that you know how to qualify prospective suppliers that will complement the operations for your business.
Understand and manage international corporate finance and accounting.
Will your business’s revenue and costs be affected by international transactions? If your business is exposed to this risk, how much could it potentially cost your business? And if so, will it severely impact the way the business operates? Cash flow management is crucial for businesses, especially for startups that are financing their growth with their own money or through the help of angel investors or venture capitalists. The loss of income and revenue through currency changes and banking fees can also impact the business’s profitability.
There are several corporate finance and accounting practices that you can implement in your business. You can learn how to manage these in Hult’s Master of Finance.
Understand how to manage an international business
In order for your startup to grow in scale with minimal disruption, an organized structure needs to be put in place. Leaders of an international startup must know what job roles are required to develop the sales, products, services and processes within the startup from the concept stage through to delivery. International startups may see their resources spread across the world where their staff will be exposed to different time zones, cultures and business practices, which can greatly impact the success or failure of your startup.
The business will have to implement a management structure that will allow the business to operate successfully across international markets. International startups should look at global, international, regional or multi-domestic business models that can be implemented to scale the growth of their business. During Hult’s Global One-Year MBA you can work with your startup over a 7-month period to bring the products or service to market, while learning how to manage and grow the startup internationally.
Learn to orchestrate international business logistics, supply chains and distribution.
The supply chain management of your products or services can be exposed to different types of risks depending on what your startup needs to deliver. The business may need to develop an international supply chain system that will expose your startup to international distribution risks such as:
- Damages to products
- Product losses
- Manufacturing errors
- Labor costs and skills
Communication breakdowns are responsible for several businesses imploding. That’s why it is important for startups to develop a communication process that:
- Establishes hierarchies
- Encourages collaboration
- Resolves conflict
- Considers cultural issues
- Successfully relays information to internal or external parties
When the goals and directions of the startups leadership aren’t communicated effectively through the management and execution teams, the startup is doomed to fail. Business leaders must implement processes that allow the goals and directions of the business to be filtered down and executed by all of the involved parties that are responsible for delivering the product or service to the customer. When communication breakdown occurs, it affects the end product, service, brand, and customer experience. It is important to learn how to manage these communication issues with advanced business communication strategies.
It is important to learn how to pitch perfectly to your target audience. The way that you come across will greatly impact the amount of success you will have when dealing with other business people, networking and pitching for more business clients.
Pitching your startup internationally will expose you to different cultures that will revere different values. The ability to be bold and assertive with profit growth over short and medium-term milestones will trigger more interest with Western cultures compared to the long-term outlook that is common with collective cultures from North and South-East Asia.
To succeed internationally, you must have a firm grasp on the motives, needs, desires, and values in businesses that operate in foreign markets. Hult’s Master of International Business will educate business leaders on the different cultural factors that will affect the success of your pitches in foreign markets.
Hult MBA graduates that have successfully learned and implemented business pitching techniques include:
- William Peregoy, who successfully launched the mobile app DineMob and secured $25,000 in funds from the Tech Wildcatters accelerator in Dallas.
- Colin Pyle, who is now the CEO and co-founder of CRU Kafe. He successfully raised $500,000 to launch his business coffee venture by successfully pitching through Kickstarter.
The world’s most successful entrepreneurs possess these essential set of business skills that’s allowed them to successfully launch and propel their startup onto the international stage and thrive. If you want your startup to be successful internationally, you must also develop these business skills.
Hult offers a range of highly skills-focused and employability-driven business school programs including a range of MBA options and a comprehensive one year Masters in International Business. To find out more, take a look at our blog Building startup talent: an interview with Hult alum Christian Claus of HoloBuilder. Download a brochure or get in touch today to find out how Hult can help you to learn about the business world, the future, and yourself.