As a founder who has scaled a startup from Lithuania to the US market, I've learned some crucial insights about what it takes to make the transition. I'm the founder of Breezit, a SaaS-enabled marketplace revolutionizing the private event industry by helping vendors find qualified customers, manage bookings, and collect payments. After dominating the event planning market in Lithuania within two years, we set our sights on Southern California. Here are seven key insights from our experience:
- Bypassing the Platform
One significant difference we noticed between Lithuania and the US was the tendency of US customers to stick to using the platform for contacting vendors. This made it much easier for us to show the value of our product in the US market.
- Registration Reluctance
In contrast to Lithuania, US customers show a strong aversion to registering on platforms. To address this, Breezit adapted its product development concept by making all features available without registration and finding alternative methods for capturing customer emails for remarketing and email marketing.
- Spoiled by Choice
High competition in the US market means customers expect exceptional user experience and a wide selection of services. We had to up our game, as the strong engagement experienced in Lithuania didn't automatically transfer to the US market.
- Advanced Vendor Analytics
US vendors are more sophisticated in calculating conversions, unlike Lithuanian vendors who rely more on intuition. Budget planning is very strict, and you have to time your sales based on budgeting periods.
- The Outbound Sales Struggle
Outbound sales are significantly more challenging in the US due to advanced spam-blocking techniques. We had to overcome flagged numbers and explore innovative ways to reach potential customers.
- Product Localization
A crucial aspect of scaling a startup internationally is understanding the importance of product localization. Initially, we didn't fully grasp the significance of having at least one local team member to help with this process. Fortunately, the required localizations for the US market were minimal, with only 5% of the code needing alterations.
- Competitor Feedback
US customers readily share their dislikes about competitors and suggest improvements, making it easier for us to build a better product. In contrast, Lithuanian vendors tend to be less forthcoming with honest feedback.
In conclusion, scaling a startup from Lithuania to the US market comes with a unique set of challenges, but definitely doable if you keep you head down and focus solving one problem at a time.