I come from Denmark. We are a small country with a little over five million people. We speak Danish, but most of us speak reasonable English also, and some of us even speak three or more foreign languages such as German, French or Spanish.
Denmark represents less than 0.5 per cent of global demand for anything. This is probably the reason why most Danish software companies enter foreign markets very early in their lifecycle and at stages where most of them only have limited investment capabilities. They get attracted by the promise of the 99.5 per cent of the global market that is elsewhere, they can get a long way with English, German, French and Spanish as their second or third language, but need to find inexpensive hacks to win customers and business partners.
They want and need to go global on a shoestring.
A great example is the products behind Microsoft’s Dynamics 365, where the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) components originate from the Danish company Navision. You can find the details of how that happened in my book, 5,460 Miles from Silicon Valley – The In-depth Case Study of What Became Microsoft’s First Billion Dollar Acquisition Outside the USA.
While getting access to international markets is extremely attractive and will multiply the value of any software company that succeeds, this is probably also the most difficult step you can take. As difficult as getting the business started in the first place. Especially if you are on a tight budget.
In this book, I will share my experience and what I believe are fundamental principles that can be used by any small software company that has a great product, but only limited funds. My ambition has been to make this the handbook for how to enter foreign markets without betting the farm and failing fatally on the first attempt.
Calling it a handbook doesn’t imply that there is a single and linear approach that will lead to success for anyone anywhere. Such an approach doesn’t exist. Instead, it implies that you will find practical examples and down to earth discussions relevant to the subject. You can take away and try out those ideas that you find applicable to your business case.
It is on purpose that I mainly use case stories from companies that you probably don’t know. Because no one knows you either. That’s the main characteristic of your challenge. How to get business in a new market when you are a complete unknown and only have limited resources available.
The book is the second in the series of “how-to” books for executives in the software industry, the first being the bestseller “Building Successful Partner Channels”.