Aero Healthcare stretches the globe offering a diverse range of first aid, pre-hospital emergency and medical supplies. Our goal was to disrupt an established industry by offering innovative products backed with industry-leading pre and post-sales service. However, the journey wasn’t all clear sailing, Aero’s only got to where we are, through the hard work of our amazing staff.
These are our top 5 tips for DIY entrepreneurs who want to drive their business to the global stage. These tips are born from our own success, hardships and, not least, our mistakes!
#1: Understand the Customer Rules
You ask any number of young entrepreneurs what the source of their motivation is and without fail you’ll hear the response “I want to be my own boss”. While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this motivation, we believe that this motivation alone is a recipe for disaster simply because when you start a business, you don’t become your own boss, the customer becomes your boss or rather the aggregate of your customers, the market, becomes your boss. Like any other boss, this boss can decide if what you’re doing is valuable or not, and they’ll vote in the most unforgiving way possible, with their hip-pocket!
Customers complain when you don’t meet your commitments and they can ultimately replace you if there are others out there who offer a better product or service. By starting a business that you plan to take global, you’re ultimately saying that you believe that you can provide a better service and/or product that the market currently isn’t catering for – this is a pretty audacious and possibly ignorant position to take and hence our second tip is to:
#2: Know Thy Market
The main thing that you need to know about a new product release is; will the market buy it? And, past performance will be a good indication for future performance! If a product sells well in one country, and if the markets, price points and competition are similar, there’s a chance that it will sell in another. However, if the competition is more developed, margins are tighter or cultural preferences radically differ, the product launch has a good chance of falling flat on its face.
Surveying, sending out samples to industry thought leaders, influencers and even YouTube reviewers can help you get a ‘feel’ for your wider target market. Anecdotal evidence is important in making a decision, but when it comes down making decisions that require serious investment, knowing how the market will respond to your product with as much data, sprucing, pre-orders and hype prior to launch are essential if you want to avoid costly and sometimes embarrassing product launches.
#3: Know the True Regulatory Compliance Costs
(and double it) … Cost of doing business, manufacturing, taxation and then the industry-specific regulatory requirements radically differ between countries and states. Getting a good perspective on what the true cost of compliance is both in terms of time and money is essential to properly resource a project before undertaking such a task. In short, you need to make sure that you have both adequate intellectual, personnel, and above all monetary capital at your disposal before endeavouring to cross national borders.
#4: Know that Any Activity is Ultimately a Gamble
“You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold them”: Any business activity that you decide to invest time and capital in, is a gamble. Sure, you might have the best business plans, the best staff, the best available data all pointing towards this endeavour being a likely success, but as we said earlier, the market will decide whether or not you’re right. You need to be prepared to accept losses and change your plan quickly in light of new information. Sometimes the new data will mean that you need to refine or pivot on your previous plans, and sometimes the new data will mean that you need to turn tail, cut your losses, and run. The important point is to never let pride, or the all too common fallacy to factor in ‘sunk costs’, affect your judgement on what’s going to be the best, most profitable decisions for the future; which brings us to our 5th point that:
#5: Don’t Sacrifice the Good Plan for the Great
While you may stumble across what might be a good business opportunity to make money and to grow your company, seizing that opportunity will once again require you to sacrifice a list of the other opportunities that you could be focusing on and hence, you should never sacrifice the best opportunities for the good opportunities. Life’s too short, budgets are too tight, and time is too fleeting to move forward with what’s simply good, expedient, or already in the pipeline at the sacrifice of what’s going to be the best opportunity to grow and meet your long-term goals.
Almost every manager at every level in an organization needs to understand that they are tasked with the immense task of endlessly weighing opportunity cost. As a result, they need to understand the long-term costs of focusing on expedient projects as opposed to strategic long-term projects. More than this, the manager needs to know when to pause the long-term to make short-term ‘ends meet’, and they need to know when to ignore the short-term ‘quick cash grabs’ for the sake of building the future cash cows. There’s no rule on how to balance all of the endless competing goals that entrepreneurs face, these decisions need to be fuelled by intuition – experience refined.