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#6 How to sell abroad? Foreign expansion of polish startups | Podcast Startup Starter


Startup Starter - Podcast #6 - Jak sprzedawać za granicą? Ekspansja zagraniczna polskich startupów

The pandemic caused foreign expansion to stop being perceived as something physical. It changed the perception that in order to sell our product, we have to go somewhere and do it in person. We have learned to communicate remotely, which, of course, makes business relations a little more shallow, but also makes the conversations shorter and more specific. According to our expert, customers abroad have opened up and the barrier that something has to be done locally has broken.

Startup Starter - Podcast #6 - Jak sprzedawać za granicą? Ekspansja zagraniczna polskich startupów

In this episode you will find out:

  • how and why to sell abroad?
  • what determines the success of a company abroad and how to increase its probability?
  • what are the models for going beyond the domestic market?
  • how to estimate the costs of expansion?

The foreign market is bigger, it gives the company much better development opportunities, but foreign expansion is not so obvious. The Polish market is specific: large enough that you can earn a lot of money, but historically it is less internationalized and globalized, it does not have deeply entrenched international cooperation in business. For this reason, many companies often do not decide to expand abroad throughout the entire period of their activity. There is nothing wrong with that, because it is not necessary. Grzegorz Motriuk claims that if we do not saturate our own market, it is cheaper to develop it than to open up to a new one that we do not know.

We are starting the expansion

Should a startup think about expansion from the very beginning, or only at a later stage of development? Our expert advises that if the product is fully digital and we can sell it remotely, there is no obstacle to start from the very beginning. However, if our presence is needed, e.g. hardware assembly, physical implementation, etc., then the decision to expand must be carefully considered.

In the global world, the origin of the company does not matter much, it can be promoted abroad as polish. There are exceptions, such as Switzerland or Sweden, where the national brand is an additional value, but in the vast majority of countries, the “nationality” of the brand does not matter.

First of all, a good plan

During planning foreign expansion, we must pay special attention to the analysis of the selected market in terms of our product or service. Recognizing and mapping your target group is important – after all, these are our customers, our recipients. Should the product be adapted to the needs of the local market? It is important whether it is profitable for us in terms of business. Grzegorz Motriuk points out that understanding the culture of country to which we want to sell is crucial, while the cost of learning a given market, including the time we have to spend on it, is lower in the case of markets that are closer to us mentally or geographically.

There are different models of foreign expansion, but the process should always be structured and planned. This is a challenge because when developing a business locally, we usually already know the business ecosystem and we have a network of friends. Therefore it is easier to start this business, promote it or find the first customers. In the foreign market, where we are new, we have to build everything from scratch. Our expert emphasizes that it is important not to act blindly, experiment and reject what does not work. The principle “if others do it, we will as well” does not necessarily work. We need to check what works for our service and be ready for failure, which is also good news.

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