How to Expand Your Business in the EMEA Region: 6 Tactics You Can Leverage
The EMEA region is the perfect market to grow your business in. With a young, educated population and plenty of opportunities for growth, it has everything you need. This region is home to many countries with different cultures and languages, but it's also a place where businesses can thrive.
The region accounts for 38% of all global GDP, with European Union accounting for less than half this number at 15.39%. With such high stakes in the game, it's essential that any business looking to expand into this market does its research before planting roots. But before you start expanding into the region, there are some important things to consider first. In this article, we will go over 6 keys that can help you attract talent and be competitive in the new market.
1. Learn about the culture of the country
Depending on the country you want to expand to, you have to vary of cultural differences. Learning about the culture of a country is essential to ensure you're not shooting yourself in the foot. For example, there can be friction between countries based on their history, so make sure you know this before going into business.
Some things you consider normal can be offensive in the country you want to focus on. Learn about your future clients and acknowledge the differences that make them unique. This way you will have a better understanding of their reactions and the things that can make or break a deal.
A different aspect is working culture, we usually think that it is the same everywhere and it's normal that we sometimes work over hours. However, this isn't true when you work with European employees, many people won't pick up the phone after 4 pm and they can be hard to reach outside of working hours. It's just that people want to keep a work-life balance.
2. Have a physical presence
In order to be successful in a new market, it's important that your business has some kind of physical presence. Many people think they can succeed without doing this and rely on online communication alone but if anything goes wrong, then having someone local is crucial for solving problems or reaching out.
At the start, it can look like a big investment, but you can create a small branch that will grow later once you grow your business. If you have a physical presence in the country, candidates and clients will know that you are serious about expansion. Your business will grow and so will your office, even in a remote work environment (because we need to have a water-cooler moment from time to time).
Another advantage of having a physical presence is the opportunity to organize hackathons or open days where people can come and learn more about your company. It's a good PR move, especially if you do it right. Having a hackathon is one of the best ways to spark interest and find diamonds in the rough that can become your next best employees.
You might think that this is difficult to implement if you just set up an office in another country or even continent, but it's actually not that difficult (besides the language barrier). There are different ways for companies to create nice events; including entering into a partnership with local businesses which already have experience in doing such things. In every city, you can find a place that will be great to hold a competition between talented developers.
3. Know the language of EMEA countries
Learning another language might seem like an expensive investment but believe me; it's worth every penny! Thinking back to our experience working in Germany we can say learning German was one of my best investments so far. A few simple sentences in the language of your speaker at the start of a meeting are indispensable and they go a long way.
You don't have to learn the whole language, some of them are pretty difficult to learn, but having some understanding of them will help you and your staff foster relationships in their countries of operations.
Knowing the language is one thing, using it properly is another! Mixing languages when speaking with people from different backgrounds, even in a professional environment, can have an impact on how they perceive you. Mostly it will be a positive impact, as they will appreciate the effort you took to learn their native language. Just don’t try to force it, it should be natural.
4. Have the right budget
The rates for specialists are dependent on the country they work in, but today we know how much everyone is worth thanks to sites that show salaries and more open policies on salaries. Times have changed and if you want to hire someone, then you need to say how much you are ready to pay.
If you want to hire a local, make sure that the salary is in line with what other people within the company are earning. However, if it’s an international specialist you are looking for (which we recommend), then go ahead and create some guidelines as far as how much they should be paid. It does not have to match the salary in the most expensive country you operate in. But keep in mind that employees will quickly get demotivated if they see that someone that does the same job in the same company earns much more than they do.
Having equal pay is a must-have, it's the thing that you should have sorted out before you even consider expanding to the EMEA region. Another thing worth mentioning is private healthcare and sports packages, it's an additional cost but you have to take it. Employees want their employers to care about their health and well-being, if you don't offer those two things you will miss on a lot of great talent.
5. Focus on the pains and solve problems
It's the most basic thing in business, but people tend to forget about it. You have to solve a real problem of your client if you want to keep them and win new ones. That is the best way to stand out in a competitive environment, especially if your product or service is similar to something that already exists on the market. You have to be creative and use data to learn about the biggest challenges.
Working with consultants that already have experience in the market should also be considered. Thanks to partnerships you can save time and money on research and speed up the adoption process. In addition to that, a good consulting company will support you in various business areas, allowing you to save costs in different departments and improve processes. It's an investment that pays off quickly, you just have to look for the right people that can help you.
Knowing the pains and problems is one thing, you have to also communicate to the market that you are aware of them and that you have the solution. To do so you need to experiment with different marketing channels and campaigns, one country can prefer Messenger over WhatsApp or Vimeo over YouTube (rare but it can happen). You will learn about these things during work. The same goes for the messages you try to send, sometimes one word can make a huge difference in the conversion rates.
At any time there will be changes or risks involved with building software products. It’s important to act fast on changing requirements, suggestions from users and bugs. You need to be a good problem solver and think outside the box, as well as have a solution ready when you are asked for it.
6. Get involved with the local communities
As a global company, you probably know how powerful local communities are and how much they can bring to the table. When expanding to the EMEA Region you can't just sit there doing nothing. You need to be proactive, share knowledge and get involved with the local communities because your company success depends on it! There you will learn a lot about the people that you can work with and the way they behave in a "safe" environment.
By helping local communities you will also build your brand and attract people who believe in your mission and vision. Everybody knows that word-of-mouth is a great way to grow business and one of the best ways to drive it is to help locals. You can organize events, develop relationships and learn how to become a part of that community.
When you are expanding overseas, one thing is sure: people will judge your company by the way you behave towards them! So make it clear from day one who you want to be in their eyes and watch what happens next because there's no going back now.
Other than that, people will get attracted to you and want to buy from you if they feel like they are buying something worth the money. What do I mean by that? It's simple: give them a reason why it makes sense for them! Showcase benefits instead of features and show how using your product will make their lives easier. And show that you care about their country.
What are the challenges when expanding to EMEA?
When entering a new market you have to keep in mind that the political situation can be quite different than the one in your country, the same goes for law and other regulations. The markets are also completely different, one example can be the investment market. It's maturing, but it is still less advanced than many other markets around the world, such as the United States or Asia. The financial markets in Europe are still dominated by banks and other traditional institutions but the situation can change in the coming years.
How can you use this? Emphasize how your product will help overcome challenges! Thanks to your global experience you can show how you can reduce risks and increase security with access management for sensitive data. Your company can bring solutions to the table that are already tested and bring a competitive advantage to the client.
Another challenge are the technological barriers, some systems can be completely different although they are in the same industry. We have to keep in mind that the USA is much more advanced than Europe in many areas (and vice-versa). It happens that some systems that are already in place in the USA are just getting implemented in the EMEA region. You may have to look for people that are more advanced in a technology that is "outdated" in the USA but still used in Europe.
Once you come to EMEA you will see that an experienced lawyer will be of immense value. It's not only about the current law, but also about all the new changes, an example can be Brexit that changed the way countries from the European Union do business with Great Britain. That's where a good lawyer can help you keep up with the changes and adapt to them. Of course, this also depends on the country you are planning to operate in.
Another example is France, if you want to establish a business there you'll need a residence permit or a European Union passport. You may be required to have certificates or degrees that the French authorities accept. A good lawyer will assist you and explain how things work, you don't want to have trouble with the legal entities anywhere.
Why companies should consider Nearshoring development to EMEA
It's no secret that we live in a global economy. With so many options for sourcing and production, it can be difficult to find the best location for your business. But what if you could get all of the benefits of outsourcing without sacrificing quality?
Nearshore has been on the rise in recent years, with more companies realizing they can still produce high-quality products while saving money at the same time through nearshoring to EMEA countries like Poland. And don't forget about Europe's low unemployment rates!
The benefits of nearshoring software development for European companies are too good not to consider. Nearshore software engineering offers a number of key advantages that need consideration before making any decision about the future IT strategy:
- lower cost
- quicker time-to-market
- increased flexibility
- good quality assurance standards
- reduced risk through proximity (geographical advantage)
- less travel expenses (more efficient use of company resources)
- cultural closeness
- larger talent pool
The opportunities in EMEA for tech
EMEA is a big region with many problems that have to be solved, especially when it comes to technology. Companies need technological solutions that would help and aid investment management. We can also see significant potential for improved infrastructure technology by applying new architectural ideas like microservices architecture, as well as using emerging programming languages that allow faster and more effective software development.
Another problem are legacy systems that slow down enterprises and put them at a disadvantage compared to new challenger companies. These systems need to be replaced with modern solutions that allow companies to become more agile and competitive, while also improving their overall effectiveness. It's where automation solutions can shine, more and more companies are investing in RPA for a good reason.
The EMEA region is diverse and businesses have to analyze the markets to decide where their products and services will fit best. It happens that a solution will be perfect for Italy but it won't work at all in the Netherlands, you have to consider other markets that represent new opportunities before you expand. It's all about the right preparation and knowledge, you need to study the markets and their requirements.
Finally, there is a great potential for new business models in EMEA. The region has some of the biggest and most influential economies and there are many opportunities available when it comes both to entering new markets and working with new clients as well as existing clients in new places.
The EMEA region is complex and diverse, you have to consider this factor before expanding. You can face many challenges so finding the right partner will be extremely helpful at the start of your journey. By growing into new markets you will find a lot of opportunities, maybe your services will be something completely new in a given market.
It's all about the right preparation and knowledge; you need to know the markets and their requirements before considering this expansion option. The EMEA region is a bit different from the APAC (including India), LATAM or North America, but every region is different and every market has its own challenges. You have to know them, learn about the culture and most importantly, you should focus on problems that are being faced by your potential customers in order to find a solution for them. Contact us for expert support in solving region-specific problems and creating new solutions.