Only a generation ago, it might have seemed impossible for Australians to sell a product or service all over the world without ever leaving the office. Such a concept likely involved multiple flights, weeks of lugging samples and marketing materials through foreign lands and doing deals with third parties along the way. For all but a few, it was simply unfeasible.
But that was before fast broadband. Nowadays, you don’t have to imagine it.
More and more Australian businesses now have access to fast internet, as the rollout of the nbn™ broadband access network approaches its 2020 completion goal. Today, 20,000 businesses a month are migrating to services over our network, and 46 per cent of them have an eye to expanding their operations into overseas markets.
The ability to stay local and operate globally – known as going ‘glocal’ – is one of the key benefits the nbn™ access network is providing for Australian small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It’s helping to increase the opportunity for profit through access to fast and efficient communication between businesses and customers – not only across the land but across oceans, too.
With this opportunity in mind, NBN Co created the Glocals Academy. Entry is free and inside you’ll find six video tutorials, each offering expert insights into expanding overseas. Specifically, the experts offer advice for expanding into China. This huge market, which offers 57 customers to every one customer in Australia, is the most common expansion target for local SMBs. In fact, of those Australian businesses looking to expand internationally, 39 per cent indicated China as their first port of call.
The Glocals Academy video series helps to prime SMBs with the knowledge that can help them have a shot at a successful leap into China. The Academy’s host, Managing Director of Cross Border Management CT Johnson, also offered six months of free mentorship to three deserving winners, which have now been completed.
As Chinese New Year celebrations help bring China into the spotlight, we’re catching up with our winners to discover what they learnt.
When the daughter of Kemü Café’s founder, Andrew Cox, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it started an unlikely chain of events that led to securing a Glocals Academy Mentorship. Challenged with creating a wholefood, plant-based diet that his daughter would enjoy, Cox created products that became a hit in his local area. Kemü Café is now ready to conquer the world. But this course of action hasn’t been easy.
“As with any small enterprise, our available time in any given day is limited,” says Cox. “As such, we need to focus our efforts on things that will attract attention in the Chinese demographic, here in Australia as well as overseas.
“Funding for expansion is one area where we need to pay more attention and figure out how to better communicate our value proposition to both the market and investors. We are hoping to help shift people’s attitude on food and drink consumption towards a healthier alternative. So, learning about the cultural inertia in China has been important.”
Prior to starting the mentorship, Cox reveals Kemü Café’s initial goal of breaking into China had become somewhat derailed.
“Our business focus had changed due to some external influences that were outside our control. However, we’re now back on a path that aligns with our values and mission, albeit on a slightly different tack.
“Our goals include development of a business opportunity proposal to attract investment, and to develop our strategy more fully. We are now focusing more on digital products that are easily scalable and are more in tune with our passions.”
Cox attributes the Glocals Academy Mentorship with helping realign his vision.
“CT’s advice has helped us get back on track and refocus our efforts to develop complementary products around our core values. We have also been forced to think about aspects of the business such as growth, logistics across the oceans, scalability of manufacturing and market attractiveness.
“This has directed our energies to what mattered and has given us a reality check regarding the Chinese market and government influences. CT also helped us allocate time to tasks that have a tangible outcome rather than just more of the same day-to-day admin. Admin will always be there and can suck our time away if we’re not careful.”
With a better plan and framework for glocal expansion in place, Cox is confident that access to fast broadband like that through services over the nbn™ access network will help ensure success in China.
“Fast internet has helped us do more online, particularly in regard to working as a team by using various cloud services. It’s also allowed us to develop online content efficiently, from website management to sharing files and uploading videos in near real-time. We have also started using live video more as we’ve become more comfortable with the processes.”*
Despite the hard work required to re-evaluate Kemü Café’s strategy and to approach glocal expansion from a different perspective, the mentorship has left Cox in no doubt about what other SMBs considering China should do.
“Go for it! There’s a whole world out there and the internet has been, and will be, a game changer for so many diverse businesses. Seek advice and go into it with flexibility and a willingness to learn.”