We're taking Weirdly over to the USA and in the spirit of throwing up lighthouses, we're sharing the journey with other startup founders - warts and all. Here are a few of the key things we learned from our first couple of trips over so far:
Well, Dale was back for a grand total of 10 days before jumping in the next plane heading over to The States. This time, she's gone over as part of package BNZ offered Weirdly - to exhibit at the Global StartupGrind conference last week (she took Simon with her for that part) and now scouting out another of our potential target cities.
This scouting process is a mixture of channel partner, sales and networking meetings and so far, seems to be giving us a really good feel for how well we'd fit in each city. We chose the USA for a myriad of reasons - not least of which was the huge market that a is leader in recruitment practices, and the fact that there's a very supportive NZTE team on the ground. If you want to know more about how we arrived at Destination:USA rather than say, anywhere else in the world, we wrote a blog about picking where to start.
In terms of that first scouting trip though, there were a few key insights for any other startup founders or entrepreneurs about to take the leap. Here's Dale's breakdown:
First off, expect to be busy. That first trip consisted of 30 meetings in 5 cities in 14 days (excluding weekends). Whew. What a whirlwind. And it just kept getting busier. People like to book meetings at short notice, so I was cramming in follow-ups and last minute sit-downs right up to the very last minute.America is a place of extremes. Never have I seen so much money and so much poverty in the same place. Everyone is moving at a pace that's so fast they're a blur, or they're sat on the side of the road not moving at all.Whatever the size or location, business happens FAST. Meetings are 25 minutes at most and these guys like to get straight to the point. One minute of chit chat then "what I can do to help you" or "tell me what you need". This can be a bit off putting for a kiwi like me, but by the end of the trip I was pretty used to it.Here are some of my observations that might help some of you entrepreneurial business travellers to the USA:
If you're a kiwi startup and the USA is a market on your horizon then stop dilly dallying and get over there. The sooner you go, the sooner you'll start learning.And if you do get to the USA, be sure to pat yourself on the back. It takes a lot of guts to take on one of the giant markets of the world.