Aidan O’Shea, Managing Director of Voxpro, recently shared his insights on how to scale and position a business to become an international market leader at the EXIM Summit (Export, Import & Global Trade Conference) in Croke Park, Dublin. Aidan touched on his experience of steering Voxpro to become an international success and shared some of his key learnings from the past number of months. Here we share some of Aidan’s advice for businesses looking to successfully scale their operations internationally.
1. Clarity of Purpose and Vision
Having clarity of purpose and a distinct vision is key- we knew that we wanted Voxpro not only to become an international brand but a company that stood for something completely different in its field. On our quest to become an international brand, we identified a gap between our visions and values and what would be needed in order to become a truly international brand. We set clear targets, and while these targets initially seemed daunting, it provided clarity and made planning towards our goal easier.
2. Dream Big and Back Yourself
I truly believe that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough! When we set our targets back in 2015 we were scared. Declare your ambition, release the number or plan – and make it public. Say it often enough and it will spread around your organisation.
3. Values and Culture are Key
At Voxpro we have a very distinct set of values, that guide us every day. We say ‘Brace yourself – there is no such thing as an ordinary day’- a perfect description of our experience of scaling internationally. Your mission, vision and values will attract the right kind of people to your company- both customers and employees. In turn, having the right people on your side maintains and protects your culture in international offices. In Voxpro our culture of innovation and risk-taking is encouraged. Without this culture, we couldn’t have succeeded.
4. Create a Mindset for Scaling and get the Right People on Board
Scaling internationally is a huge step that brings change to any organisation. Not only do you need the right set of people who share your vision, values and ambition with you, but you need to create an international mindset among your team. It is critical to create a mindset where people are very clear that there is a need for constant change, and where people always consider the international office. In the beginning it was difficult to shift our focus from local to international, but now every business decision is made with the international office in mind.
5. Focus on Your Strengths
Focus on what it is that you do better than anybody else in the world- what makes your offering different? When we decided to move into the US, we knew that we would find competitors doing something similar, so we had to narrow and focus our value proposition even further. Narrowly defining your niche and having self-belief goes a long way. Our vision ‘to deliver beautiful customer experience to those who are changing the world’, along with a sense of self-belief led us to where we are today.
6. No Mistakes, Only Learning
If your experience is anything like ours, you’ll get things wrong sometimes. When scaling internationally for the first time you can’t anticipate everything. No matter how hard you try, communication will never be perfect and some decisions will still be made with a local mindset. Strike a balance where you clearly define which core processes must be uniform in each location, but allow a degree of autonomy at the same time. You’ve got to be prepared to make mistakes, make changes and continuously innovate to stay ahead. But, with the right mindset, attitude and ambition you too can successfully scale internationally.