Mobile has taken over the world. Whether you’re in Surrey or Shanghai, Busan or Barnet or Rio de Janeiro or Rochdale, the mobile revolution has successfully connected consumers and businesses across the Earth.
Which means there is an unprecedented opportunity to grow a small local business into a globally operating entity. But how can you make the mobile world your oyster?
We caught up with The Mobile Academy tutor Stuart Revell, and he gave us some #needtoknowmobile tips ahead of his session on the topic.
1) Recognise the scale of the opportunity
Mobile penetration is a genuinely global phenomenon. According to a GSMA report released in October 2014, there are now more mobile devices in the world than there are people. And although half the people in the world still don’t have a device, that still means there are over 3 billion potential consumers in the world for you to tap into.
This is a serious opportunity for everyone operating in the sector. For app developers in particular, the proliferation of global distribution platforms has helped them to reach markets abroad with ease.
“You have markets all around the world and there are differences and niches you need to think about, but the economies of scale are huge” said Stuart. “Leveraging the app stores, like Apple’s, Google Play and Amazon’s can get you quite a long way without needing to have businesses located around the world”
And though there aren’t out of the box solutions for creators of other products, such as physical infrastructure or software as a service, the sheer size of the mobile market is enough to encourage providers to look at distributing globally.
2) Appreciate national and regional differences
That said, thinking of a global market as a uniform entity is a mistake. Despite the fact that you can distribute globally, you still need to appreciate how different regions and nations operate.
This happens on two levels. The first is on the product level. Adapting your product to suit the differing needs of audiences in Asia, the U.S. and Europe won’t just require localisation of text; it’ll require you to adapt to unique marketing channels, different artistic tastes and cultural sensitivities.
Second, you’ll need to deal with different legal landscapes, business models and the headaches that could come with them. As Stuart told us, the scale of problem depends on what sort of product or service you’re releasing.
“I chaired a session at CeBIT 2014 on the Internet of Things in Germany and I couldn’t believe the push back from the attendees on things like cameras and privacy” he said. Similarly, mobile products supporting sectors like healthcare can be quickly tied up in all sorts of red tape depending on which countries you operate in. Selecting the right opportunities in the appropriate markets is essential for building a sustainable business.
3) Take advantage of your national institutions and brands
Expanding globally can be difficult to do. Even if your proposition is being distributed with the help of international virtual channels, you’ll need to find a way to physically get on the ground in certain countries to help market your product further.
And for most businesses, whether big or small, it can be difficult to know how to do that effectively. Which is why you should be thinking about leveraging national bodies to help you extend your reach.
“If you’re prepared and your proposition is ready, then you can go through UKTI (UK Trade and Investment), as they’re always looking out for good stories from UK companies,” said Stuart.
But beyond bodies, national brands can also help you to cut through the noise. According to Stuart, “In certain markets the UK has a good brand on security, privacy and data. It’s a difficult topic but our ability to collaborate and work together and solve these challenges provides us with a unique differentiator”.
And with the UK boasting a great reputation as a provider of mobile innovation, financial services, games and design, there are likely to be other angles you can explore to take advantage of the national brand for your product.
4) Perfect the pitch
Finally, when you are heading abroad on that expensive international trip, you want to make sure that you perfect your pitch to make every meeting matter.
“The main reason [that it is important to pitch well] is that you have snapshots of opportunities”, said Stuart. “If you don’t take them and you’re not prepared, you’ll miss your chances. If you get the pitch right, it may turn into business.”
That means you need to be doing two things. First, you need to be honing your company pitch down to the essentials to help you confidently tell people about your business.
Second, you’ll need to learn to adapt it for different people. “I’ll be getting them [The Mobile Academy attendees] to prepare thirty second and 2 minute pitches, with different pitches for different people.” Stuart explained. “Most people don’t want to hear about the technology, they want to hear about the outcome and the value.”
By shaping up your pitch as sharply as possible, you can ensure you get value for money from those potentially costly expeditions abroad.
Learn more about these tips and the making the most of going global from Stuart by attending the The Mobile Academy, which starts on the 1st October. Tickets for the next course are available here, with discounts available for start-ups and students