It sounds like the script of a scary science fiction movie. The world is coming to a halt. People are obliged to stay in their homes. Children can’t go to school or child care centers. A dangerous virus floating around. Everybody may catch it…
Simple things like grocery shopping feel like a visit to the moon. Empty shelves. People fighting over the last pack of toilet paper. In supermarkets it’s that distrustful expression on many people’s faces that gets fiercer as soon as somebody comes too close or even coughs.
For most of us this is a totally new experience – or, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel puts it „The biggest challenge we have been confronted with since World War II”.
What seem to be silent times outside of the home, are fulminant times within.
Young children develop unknown amounts of energy that need to be discharged, while not being able to leave the house or play with their friends. We worry about our jobs, how to pay bills and how not to panic when everybody around us starts a buying frenzy.
For startups this is very challenging time as well. Being young and vulnerable, many of them are in the midst of their internationalization phase, trying to access new markets and introduce their products overseas.
With all that craziness around us, how can we stay focused and productive?
First of all, this Coronavirus wave is serious, definitively. So, we better stick to the rules put forth by governments and ruling institutions. The bad news is: This is just the beginning of a longer development that might go on for months. The good news is: the more we stick to the rules now and respect others by staying away from them, the sooner we will get through this.
We need to stay at home and create new concepts to get through this crisis.
So here is some helpful advice on how to succeed with your internationalization strategy while working from home:
- Create a strong pitch deck that follows US standards:
Keep it short, comprehensible and relevant. I recommend a pitch deck that is not longer than 7 slides:
- Introduction of company
- The problem you solve
- Size of market of problem
- The solution you offer
- Traction (if you have any)
- Team (optional)
- The “ask”: money and / or introductions
- Research your relevant community on LinkedIn, Xing or Twitter
- Identify your target group (VCs/clients/other startups)
- Identify your competition abroad – who are they? What differentiates you? How does their marketing work? Who is invested in them?
- Build your contact lists based on your research
- Reach out to the identified contacts by asking for a phone or video call. Remember that almost all of us are sitting at home at the moment… Be sure to send them your pitch deck and follow up with them. And one clear word here: With regards to U.S. – VC investors, you have to be REALLY persistent. So, contact them until you hear from them.
Crisis means turning point. Things that have worked well in the past may not be functioning now anymore. However, this phase of falling back on ourselves and experiencing quiet reclusiveness gives us the opportunity to come up with new inventions, products and even routines.
Besides all the negative aspects, let’s also focus on what can be done.
Talk to you soon, Andrea