3 key lessons in managing an international expansion

With globalisation on the rise, more organisations are looking to new markets overseas. Successfully expanding can be complicated however, so it’s helpful to anticipate some of the challenges you might face along the way.

In December 2016, Blackdot opened its new office in the UK, blazing a trail as a challenger brand in a diverse region that holds many challenges for newcomers. A little over a year later, the team has doubled in size, built up new relationships across EMEA, and onboarded several leading brands as clients.

Here, Blackdot Executive Director EMEA Mark Taylor shares 3 key lessons learnt while leading the company’s international expansion.

1. Clients are not always where you think they are

When operating in a single-country region like Australia, it can be easy to overlook just how geographically diverse client locations can be. Blackdot’s EMEA team soon learnt that while most companies in the UK are within close vicinity to London, some have regional/global headquarters in Germany, Switzerland, Ireland or elsewhere. This meant the team had to reassess how to best service this geographical spread. 

Practical tip:
Selling into headquarter opportunities is a matter of persistency, navigating complex stakeholder dynamics, and the need for razor sharp value propositions. Blackdot’s 7 Customer-Centric Behaviours provide a strong foundation for enabling staff to safely stretch themselves and adapt their approach to new customer dynamics. 

2. Anywhere can be an office

In its humble beginnings, Blackdot’s EMEA office was found above a local café. After moving into an interim office in a commercial business park near Heathrow, the team now works in an edgy shared workplace in Paddington, complete with Google-esque start-up vibe. The team also has access to about 1,300 offices around Europe and has taken advantage of the region’s ingrained flexible working culture.

Practical tip:
Consider whether a fixed address or a more flexible structure will suit the needs of your business and the way that you work. 

3. Growth can make a tightknit team even tighter

Blackdot firmly believes that nothing stimulates individuals or businesses like growth – it’s the lifeblood of dynamic organisations. This value helped Blackdot’s EMEA team thrive during the early stages of the international expansion. Working closely together, the first members of the EMEA team had to not only step up on the sales and marketing front, but also on the all-important procurement front, as well as quickly adjusting to working with a vast range of cultures. 

Practical tip:
In undertaking new challenges as a team, it’s important to stay true to the company’s vision and values. Effective change leadership can play a vital role. 

Opportunities to grow with us:
If you are interested in joining the EMEA team in their growth journey, check out the Blackdot careers page for current opportunities.