Throughout the last several months, I spoke with six key personalities behind notable Brno based companies (some of them their founders) that succeeded internationally in doing business from our city. Some answers did not fit into the stories/interviews.
We made this compilation so you wouldn’t miss them.
What would your advice to Brno companies seeking success abroad be? What would you do differently if you could go back to the beginning?
“The success of your startup largely depends on your first hires. Be clear about what type of culture you want to build in your company and hire people who share the same idea. Focus on hiring people who complement your skills. Delegate or outsource as much as you can, so that you can focus on your unique strengths.”
“Czech companies seeking success abroad should invest extra time and effort into a better understanding of foreign culture and mentality. There are two aspects: first, from the point of view of potential customers – to understand what it is that they actually need and expect from your products. And secondly, from the point of view of potential new team members from abroad – how they can enrich your team diversity and what new perspectives they can bring into your team.”
“Firstly, I would advise to have international expansion as their core strategic initiative. You cannot do it as an ‘on the side’ project. Secondly, I would advise entrepreneurs and key stakeholders to spend a significant amount of time physically present on the most important target markets, to learn about their specifics, needs and opportunities. Thirdly, getting local talent is tough. Spend a significant amount of time reviewing their background, motivation and have metrics that will help you define success.
It is very easy to find excuses, why something doesn’t go as planned on foreign markets, but you need to be able to fail fast, because international expansion is expensive.”
“Do not imprison yourself in a Czech cage – that is, start selling abroad as soon as possible, instead of picking up business opportunities through friends in Czech and telling yourself that you have a product market fit.”
“You should think twice whether you go onwards alone or join an export leader in the region. It depends on the field of business and the target territory. Exporting components or subassemblies to EU countries is relatively easy, but exporting final products overseas requires a sales and service network and is an expensive and long-term business.
I definitely don’t recommend relying on the support of state institutions and some so-called economic diplomacy. Money is wasted and time is lost! Rely on yourself; if you don’t believe in yourself, stop your efforts right away and rather get back to being employed – it’s nothing to be ashamed of to recognise your strength and weaknesses soon enough.
In today’s state of globalization, integration of capital, development and production capacities and sales networks, lone fighters have only a small chance, in a few fast-paced fields and in certain time windows. Today’s time requires collaboration in large teams and the ability to manage them, high market knowledge and sufficient capital.”