Last week, we were one of the Yorkshire-based companies lucky enough to join the Interreg Lean Landing workshop in The Netherlands. The itinerary was full-on and provided us with so many amazing opportunities to learn about the Dutch market and culture.
This two-day programme was run by Dutch BaseCamp, who specialise in helping companies find the first few international customers and successfully conquer a new market.
Day 1 - The Do’s and Don’ts of doing Business in the Netherlands
We kicked off day one with some presentations from a number of key speakers. We learned about the Dutch market and the opportunities it offers for companies wishing to scale-up their business.
The Fundamentals of going Global:
The most important decision you are going to make when going international is choosing the right market. You need to consider:
Culture - one of the most common mistakes when scaling internationally is not understanding the local business culture
Legal and regulatory barriers - conducting business in foreign markets is achievable if the business is flexible enough to work within the local laws and regulation guidelines
Foreign government - The stability of the local government and its authority are very important when reviewing overseas business options
Don’t let a little challenge or two hold you back!
We then learned from Regan Kirk, Corporate Training Product Owner at Growth Tribe Academy, how today's fastest growing companies like Amazon and Facebook have all driven breakout growth by aligning their teams around a high velocity testing/learning process. He showed us how to carry out experimental testing in only 12 minutes, this included creating a logo, website and a chat-bot. Yes, you heard right, all of this in only 12 minutes!
This experiment showed us that we all need to be prepared to challenge deeply rooted cultural norms. Outdated assumptions will need to be replaced with hypotheses that can only be validated through testing. The higher the velocity of testing, the faster your team will learn how to accelerate growth. And they will learn that many of their long-held assumptions were wrong.
Key takeaways: rapid experimentation is an experience that leads to the required growth mindset within the most effective teams. The entire customer journey must be open to experimentation!
We then made our way to Leeuwarden, a European Capital of Culture to meet other entrepreneurs, innovative start-ups and potential clients.
Day 2 – Becoming a Game Changer
We arrived at a serious gaming company where we immersed ourselves in AI technology and learned about behavioural patterns.
This was then followed by an Escape Room, which was a thrilling activity for the whole group. By combining basic logic with out-of-the-box thinking, we had to solve riddles, crack locks and decode information, in order to escape within 20 minutes. This experience highlighted the importance of effective communication and teamwork.
We then jumped on our bikes in true Dutch tradition and visited the Business Contact Dagen Noord conference in Leeuwarden. This exhibition provided us with a business platform to engage with Dutch start-ups and SMEs. Networking, sharing knowledge and making connections was an important part of this trip, which led to meeting some inspiring entrepreneurs.
Events like these provide a basis for creating interesting contacts and lasting relationships. It offers an opportunity to present yourself to thousands of businesses, who often are leaders within their sector. This makes trade shows an excellent place to integrate high level network and to generate leads.
If you’re looking for advise on how to scale your business model for global markets, get in touch today!