What Startups Should Keep in Mind When Trying to Go Global

December 6, 2016, 10:49 PM UTC
Globalization - manager with a globe under his arm.
GERMANY - NOVEMBER 23: Globalization - manager with a globe under his arm. (Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)
Ulrich Baumgarten—Getty Images

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What three things about growing a business keep you up at night?” is written by Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer.

Growing your own business can be simultaneously inspiring and nerve-wracking. No matter how many challenges you overcome, there is an endless supply of issues that can keep you up at night. In today’s digital, hyper-connected world, expanding—both on a national and global scale—is a necessity for most companies. When doing so, it’s important to remember that you’re probably not the first person to hit a particular problem when scaling your company, and the solution is likely simpler than you might think.

Harness these fears and, rather than worry, focus on developing strategies in advance that can better prepare your team and make sure that your business model can evolve to meet new hurdles. While no two startups are identical, there are several common worries many entrepreneurs face while growing their businesses.

Here are my top three:

Can we reach new customers outside of our region?
International growth promises access to a massive customer base, but there are several questions you’ll need to answer before you begin: Will you need to translate your marketing, and is your product right for every geography? How will you deal with shipping? How about the local regulations of risk, compliance, and, of course, payments? These are all items you’ll need to address if expanding outside of your domestic market to ensure your resources are allocated well and that you don’t make any mistakes that hurt your sales, cause legal issues, or leave your customers unsatisfied with your service.

See also: The No. 1 Problem Every Startup Has

For many, online marketplaces like Amazon (AMZN) are a powerful, all-in-one solution for these concerns. Partnering with an established marketplace can significantly simplify the logistical and operational support needed for reaching more customers, while reducing the heavy burden of developing distribution channels from scratch. Utilizing marketplaces, a company can grow across many regions at the same time without heavy up-front costs, and maximize the effectiveness of its existing team and assets.

What is the best way to grow our operations?
At some point, a growing business will still need to scale its operations. For companies with a growing customer base abroad, going global can be the next logical step. You have to consider how much of your operations to keep “local” and how much to build out “remotely,” and whether having a direct presence in every region or developing local partners to outsource particular aspects of your business makes better sense.

At Payoneer, for example, we centralize high-level corporate functions, such as research and development. But we think customer interactions should be high-touch, and therefore must be local. So we put marketing, sales, and support teams on the ground in a large number of strategic geographies around the world. We keep these in-market roles focused on driving demand and customer engagement, which keeps these teams small. We centralize the management of the teams and the products we’re selling through them.

Ultimately, look to find the right balance that meets your particular needs and can help the most to facilitate—and even accelerate—growth, while making sure that your operations can handle scaling demands from your expanding customer base.

Who can I trust?
As you expand, you will undoubtedly need to grow your list of suppliers. You may also eventually graduate from doing your business via marketplaces to doing your business directly with customers as economies of scale shift in your favor. These changing relationships require extreme levels of trust.

Initially, you may have only worked with a handful of vendors whom you knew you could count on, but what happens when your production has to grow tenfold? Will you still be able to trust the new suppliers you bring in? The same can be said of the new direct customers, who may not be comfortable sending large sums to a foreign company they’ve never worked with before, nor would you want to send items to a customer abroad without receiving payment in advance.


While growth is exciting, the stress it creates can take its toll on an entrepreneur maneuvering the ins and outs of scaling an organization across new markets. Luckily, for every nagging problem that comes with a new opportunity, e-commerce’s growth, especially over the past decade, has probably already delivered a solution for small companies to do big business around the world. By identifying, early on, potential roadblocks and processes that normally require heavy lifting internally, just a little online research can deliver simple solutions and potential partners to relieve what might seem like a major endeavor when starting out.

For any entrepreneur with a good product or service, whether your company consists of just you or hundreds of employees, scaling the business and organization is extremely achievable if you understand that you’re not alone. There are countless marketplaces, platforms, services, and partnering companies out there whose networks you can leverage to take a local brand global. The key is to look for easy solutions that already exist instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. Learn this, and you’ll solve problems faster and sleep better for it.

Galit is not an investor of Amazon.

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