Affordable technology and communication tools have enabled companies to move overseas faster than ever before. While international expansion is an obvious path to growth, making the move to a local market comes with significant (though often overlooked) challenges.
Understanding the local market well enough to move quickly is no easy feat, especially while trying to maintain a company culture that drives innovation. One of the most efficient ways you can tackle these problems is through implementing a thoughtful hiring strategy.
Here are three hiring hacks to help you scale in a local market.
1. Think globally, hire locally
The problems your company faced at home will not necessarily be the same issues you face in a new region — simply slapping a geo-specific domain on your website doesn’t make you a local player. To build a true local business, the first thing you should do is hire locally to run your regional operation.
When I came on board as General Manager for Eventbrite Australia, it wasn’t by chance; they wanted an Australian for the role. The fact that our operation is run by a team with local insight gives us both operational efficiency and strength in maintaining relationships. Having people on the ground (who understand the nuances of the market) helps you achieve your global vision authentically.
2. Seek out talent and passion
When scaling a product in a new market, you’ll often be expected to produce outsize results with a small team. To achieve these results you need to hire people who are not only at the top of the pile, but also have a passion for your product.
Look for people who are willing to take on responsibility and push their boundaries — you’d rather have five cracking all-rounders than a few people who are experts but won’t step out of their lane, especially at a time when you need to move quickly. If you can find hungry generalists who are excited to build something new, it will go a long way towards recreating the start-up ethos of the early days of your company.
3. Cultivate company culture
The pressure to perform on a new team can feel huge — it’s important during this time to build trust, camaraderie, and fun into your company culture. Whether it’s as simple as office structure, team outings or regular group check-ins, now is the time to invest in activities that build a supportive and enthusiastic team — a team that’s willing to go the extra mile for each other as much as for the company when you most need it.
There are simple ways to build these relationships. Here in Eventbrite’s Australian office, we operate on a much more informal basis than in a larger corporate environment. We take advantage of our open office and workshop problems as a group when they come up. Having members from different functions (sales, support, marketing, etc) sitting together helps keep our team completely aligned and builds the sense of being one team working towards a common goal.
The expectation that teams will be able to immediately replicate success in international expansion is often at odds with the realities of complex and unique markets. With these three tips you can avoid the most common mistakes and hit the ground running, quickly turning a new market into the next international success story.
Phil Silverstone is the General Manager at Eventbrite Australia.
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