Getting organised for international expansion
It is remarkable how much you can fit into a day, let alone a week.
I am travelling to the US on 22nd March to meet with some people over there; potential investors, key influencers, government and industry leaders. Organising my schedule and fitting everything in is near impossible. 10 days just isn't enough. But for this trip, it will have to do!
Starting a business overseas requires a lot of paperwork. Raising money requires a 110% focus all the time and making the right decisions on who to 'get into bed with' and who is best as an advisor, friend or a contact is difficult. Trusting your gut instinct is important. Actually, it's critical.
Being open to all possibilities and 'having the conversation' with as many parties as possible opens up a better understanding of what will work for your business in a new environment and what will not. It's surprising how so many people are happy to share ideas with you and if you take one thing away from every meeting, it's gold.
My 'to do list' is getting bigger by the second but that burning desire to make things happen is greater than any overwhelming moments that may come from looking at one very long list.
Passion is important because if you are not passionate about growing your business, then its hard to make things happen. It's hard to see the vision clearly enough to be successful. Most entrepreneurs know this and embrace it.
There have been no 'NO's' yet, but I know they will come. I am prepared. As long as you take the steps to be organised, pre-empt any questions that people may have, and put on a good show. Being Australian has its advantages. Funny accents are all the rage in the US right now thanks to our famous counterparts that grace the television and movie screens.
Tips for getting organised:
1. Get a good lawyer; there is so much legal documentation that needs to be done.
2. Get a good accountant: goes without saying.
3. Start building a network now and record it in salesforce.com or a similar CRM platform.
4. Book at least 3 to 4 meetings a day. I know its exhausting, but you have to fit in as much as you can while you are actually there and can do face to face meetings.
5. Grab a local mentor; if you have access to someone who is wise and has extensive knowledge of the local market and contacts, then your job will be much easier.
6. Write a very long 'to do list' and tick everything off as you go.
7. Be kind, thoughtful, appreciative and nice to every single person you meet. It's not only great karma, but they will always remember you long after you have left.
8. Read the book, Never Eat Alone, and stick to it while you are away.
9. Keep positive. Keep believing. Embrace your own passion.
10. Understand that you will have to make a lot of sacrifices; and it starts right now. It may mean your personal life, your finances or your home comforts - but it is worth it if it means fulfilling your dreams.