Admittedly, this blog has entered near dormancy over the last 6 months. During this time, I’ve been on a ‘temporary business-visa’ in Australia establishing life with my family, lodging (and waiting) for permanent residency, and in parallel laying groundwork to extend the global reach of my employer into the APAC region.
Writing publicly about anything of permanent nature was not advised (due to unsaid risk in a country facing unreal immigration challenges). As of becoming a permanent resident last week, I can now publicly disclose permanent ambitions and start hammering through a million mini-milestones in the course of running a regional start-up.
About a month after beginning ‘aka the honeymoon period’, I realised starting a regional extension to the company was going to be less like a regular role and more like running a startup business.
It all started with a business plan. At the time it looked outstanding on paper, including ground intel, an EBIDTA budget, go-to-market services, strategic approach, and even a pro-forma revenue model. Now, the business plan has undergone a minor-organ transplant and some cosmetic surgery, taking on a regionally adapted identity and focus. A good business plan goes through constant change. If you don’t have one, you won’t take the time to examine your path. If you have one, expect it to evolve.
Another eureka of starting a services region far from the company base, is regionalisation is incredibly important. Not only having the proper business setup, local resources, in-region footprint, but also embracing cultural norms no matter how minor and not getting too wrapped up in your own national identity (although I do think hailing from Boston is a good thing). One of the funniest examples is a business partner mildly condemning my colloquial use of ‘reach out’ in business dialogue. Apparently it implies a southern evangelical undertone, which is going to unnerve Australians who are by majority agnostic or religiously indifferent. I liked his advice so much that I proposed some snake handling after a key account meeting- I’m not sure he knew if I was kidding but it was amusing watching his eyes grow large!
The best advice: keeping activity levels high yields results. This holds true on all fronts, ranging from finding clients, driving opportunities, engaging partners, attracting talent, and maintaining a focus through the chaos. In a market that’s growing and skirted through the GFC relatively unscathed, setting up a services company in a country with 5% unemployment, compounded by a skilled labour shortage and increasingly rigid immigration scheme, there are countless challenges and opportunities at hand. So long supply, hello demand.