From Down Under to On Top: 3 Lessons From Aussie Companies That Are Making Waves In The USA Want to turn your business into a billion-dollar empire? Here's what you can learn from these Australian entrepreneurs.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Starting up a company in Australia is hard enough, let alone trying to expand your business halfway around the world in the United States. But these Australian entrepreneurs have used their Aussie spirit to expand their successful companies into billion-dollar businesses in the U.S.
Here are three lessons that three different Australian entrepreneurs have learned about how to break into the U.S. market and expand their businesses globally.
Perseverance is one quality that helped this Australian CEO break into the American market successfully. For Melanie Perkins, CEO of the hugely successful online graphic design platform Canva, what allowed her to succeed in the face of potential failure was persevering through all the challenges thrown her way. Having taken a class centered around graphic design during her first year at university in 2005, Perkins found that the offerings available were difficult to learn and use. She not only observed the countless numbers of people struggling to use the software, but she also noticed the ease of use and the viral success of Facebook.
The complex functionality of design platforms that were on the market is what inspired Perkins to eventually build Canva on the idea of being as accessible as possible. Though the story isn't as simple as that, in order to get Canva off the ground with proper investing Perkins had to move out temporarily to California and search for tech investors in Silicon Valley. She went through 100 different rejections before she finally got the funding she needed, all the while believing that the service she was offering would ultimately be successful.
In the U.S., tech investors aren't going to just give money to any idea that comes their way. But what Perkins shows is that it takes patience and perseverance to get that one major wind that will allow your business to get where you want it to go.
Related: Being Kind and Hungry
2. Having a co-founder
Developing a partnership with a co-founder is an easy way to not only get your business off the ground but also to help it expand. Take Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, founders of Australian software company Atlassian. The crucial element to their success over the years has been their relationship and how their work complements each other.
Having met in 1998 at the University of New South Wales, the two became quick friends over their mutual love for computers and their shared interest in the business. When it was time to graduate, the two joined forces to start a business with the only initial goal being to earn $48,500 a year. This is what they would have been making had they not decided to pursue entrepreneurship. And every step of the way since then has featured the two of them sharing the burden of shaping the company into the powerhouse it is today.
While Cannon-Brookes specializes in the day-to-day operations of the company, Farquhar works to try and pave a path for the company's future. The two of them are constantly working to complement the other, and even when they disagree on certain decisions and issues they respect the work that the other person does for the company. And without a doubt, the value of their partnership shows when you look at the plethora of companies that have also benefited from this model. Apple, Microsoft and Google are all entities that wouldn't be where they are today without the presence of two co-founders.
3. Using your consumer base
Utilizing your consumer base as a means of advertising has become an increasingly popular way to develop strong brand awareness online. With the rise of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it only takes one promotional campaign for your business to have major breakthroughs nationally and overseas. Likewise, Nicholas Molnar and Anthony Elsen, founders of the Australian company Afterpay, attribute a great deal of their company's success to knowing and utilizing its target audience in this way.
Afterpay acts as a service where customers can purchase a product and pay 25 percent of the total price biweekly without any interest. Molnar and Elsen realized the value of a flexible payment schedule to millennials as younger people have increasingly rejected the adoption of credit cards. The great obstacle for them was how to get their service into as many stores as possible, and their solution was to use their customers. If a store didn't have an Afterpay option available, they would encourage users to ask that it be implemented.
Having this model for expansion is not only a win for Afterpay, it's a win for every company that realizes that people are willing to pay more for their product if they don't have to pay for it all upfront. The plan seems to have worked out exceptionally in the U.S. as companies like American Eagle, Ugg and Kylie Cosmetics have all offered Afterpay.
If there's one thing that entrepreneurs should remind themselves of, it's that you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from what's helped other companies succeed. With these three lessons from Australian companies that are making it big in the U.S., you'll be able to better understand some strategies and fundamentals that will help your business succeed internationally.
Related: 10 Ways to Get Global PR Exposure