Think Global right from the start!

Denmark is only a small country in the world, and yet many Danish companies have huge opportunities for developing strong international businesses.

We have strong international positions of strength which we can build on and in the digital world, most global markets have come easier to approach.
Most Danish growth companies have their minds set on export markets, with good reasons. Our home market is only a small fraction of the world economy and it is simply not enough to only focus on Denmark if you have ambitions.

However, it can be a big advantage to start your business in Denmark. Danish companies and the Danes as such are normally very open and innovative and ready to test new ideas. This also goes for the public sector which is known internationally for being “first movers” when it comes to testing new ideas. So, both Danish and international companies gain from testing new technologies, new products and new business models in the Danish market.
However, it is important that the ability to scale your business is built in from the very start! Even when you start your business focusing on a small market, you need to establish internal processes, it-systems or platforms and business models that are able to scale and be can be replicated in other markets. Your back office systems (your ‘back stage’ operations) should almost always be the same, even if you adjust and localize your value proposition to a local market (your ‘on stage’ show).

The secret behind most success stories on export markets are found here: the companies who understand how to adjust to local market needs and at the same time reap advantages of big scale operations in development, it-systems, internal processes, production, administration etc. – these are also the companies who are profitable when going international. That is why it is so critical that all companies understand their own value chain and thus also understand their own unique money making logic. Often it can be a big advantage for smaller companies to co-operate within the industry and thus become stronger together. But to make decisions like that, you need to build your organization with a global ambition from the starting point and you need to understand when to invest in your own value chain and when to find a partner!

Lisbeth Valther is CEO of Scale.Up Denmark and Next Step challenge

 

Read the blog in Danish:

Tænk Globalt fra starten!

Danmark er et lille land i verden, men mange danske virksomheder har alligevel gode muligheder for at bygge en international forretning! Dels har Danmark en række nationale styrkepositioner som vi kan bygge på og dels har digitaliseringen betydet at de fleste globale markeder er ”kommet tættere på”.

De fleste danske vækstvirksomheder har blikket rettet mod eksportmarkederne – og med god grund. Vores hjemmemarked er kun en ganske lille brøkdel af verdens økonomi – og derfor er det ganske enkelt ikke nok kun at fokusere på det danske marked.

Til gengæld kan der være store fordele ved at starte netop i Danmark. De danske virksomheder og danskerne generelt er normalt åbne og innovative og klar til at afprøve nye ideer. Det gælder også den offentlige sektor som også i udlandet er kendt for at gå foran med afprøvning af ny innovation. Både danske og udenlandske virksomheder kan altså med fordel teste deres teknologi, produkter og forretningsmodeller af i Danmark.

Men det er også vigtigt at man har øje for skaleringspotentialet. Selv om man starter med at fokusere på et mindre marked som Danmark, skal man helt fra starten etablere interne processer, it-systemer/platforme, og forretningsmodeller, der kan skaleres og duplikeres til andre markeder. Virksomhedens back office systemer (Back stage) vil nemlig ofte være nøjagtig de samme selvom man tilpasser sine værditilbud til det lokale marked (on stage).

Hemmeligheden bag virksomhedernes succeshistorier på eksportmarkederne findes nemlig her: De virksomheder, som for alvor forstår hvordan man tilpasser sig lokalt, samtidig med at man fastholder stordriftsfordelene i udvikling, it-systemer, interne processer og administration – ja det er også de virksomheder, som for alvor tjener penge på internationalisering. Og netop derfor er det også vigtigt at man som virksomhed forstår sin egen værdikæde og forstår sin egen evne til at tjene penge – ”money making logic”. Ofte vil man med fordel kunne samarbejde indenfor branchen og dermed stå stærkere på eksportmarkederne. Men det kræver at man bygger sin organisation med en global ambition fra starten og forstår hvornår man selv skal investere og hvornår man skal finde samarbejdspartnere!

Lisbeth Valther is CEO of Scale.Up Denmark and Next Step challenge

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