All too often, you’ll see articles about companies venturing into the unknown with disastrous effect. You’re bombarded with stats about the number of startups that fail within their first year, and if you’ve been able to keep your resolve past all those articles, you’ll then start seeing commentary about the perils of taking a risk or making a significant change in your business if it’s working perfectly well as it is.
But what if you heard about the success stories instead? The companies that took a risk that actually turned out to be the right move after all? Well, here’s precisely that. Deciding to venture outside of their marketplace, and in fact, their entire legal and taxation system, here are three shining examples of brave companies that stepped out into the big wide world and are now thriving abroad…
Established in the UK and now selling right across the world, online fashion retailer ASOS has done incredibly well by establishing themselves overseas. In fact, newspapers were reporting on the fact that they were expected to benefit as the UK voted for Brexit owing to the fact that half its sales come from outside the UK. But what has made ASOS so successful abroad? Well, it’s certainly due in part to the fact that it maintains ASOS twitter feeds in customers’ own languages, “effectively acting as windows into new markets, highlighting trends and offering insight into existing and emerging consumer demand – far cheaper than market research, and real-time, too” as the Drum highlights. However, it’s also due in part to the fact that they offer free worldwide shipping, which means consumers right across the world are engaging with the brand well before it even thinks about setting up a headquarters on its shores.
After initial success in the UK, healthy snacks company Graze expanded to the USA, launching in every US state at once in December 2013. A major logistical feat (and requiring a huge amount of research), this bold approach paid off as they gained more than 100,000 new customers within the first three months. Graze perhaps owes part of its success to the fact that its move abroad was well-timed (establishing itself in a foreign market before its competitors beat it there), but it’s undoubtedly also due to the fact it had a proven track record in the UK and could learn from its success at home before applying similar principles to its US launch.
Farfetch is the the world’s leading high-end fashion boutique website, and like ASOS, is an online market place. Starting in Portugal (with its headquarters in London), this business’s model of prioritising ‘bricks and clicks’ (“building an online marketplace for inventory but also encouraging fashion boutiques to retain their flagship stores” as Forbes explains) meant it had the right infrastructure in place to venture overseas. Founded in 2007, this business now employs 1,500 people and is being steered towards a $5 billion flotation in New York. This company has been so successful in venturing abroad due, in part, to the fact it realised that many luxury fashion boutiques didn’t have the resources and knowledge to set up a global e-commerce site. And, by ‘stocking’ inventory from all over the world, Farfetch has been able to offer a huge amount of products from boutiques across the globe – and therefore draw a global customer base too – meaning its success overseas was almost inevitable.
As you can see, by forward-thinking key obstacles, identifying gaps in the market and taking the risk to invest wholeheartedly, all of these companies have quickly earned a foothold in America and in other major world markets. The question is: will you make the move and find a way to thrive abroad?