Last week, we took a look at starting your own company in Poland. This week we will look at how to expand your company across the borders in the EU.
Here yesterday I had a chat with the CEO of abekatten – Andreas, regarding their mission to creating klatrevægge through out the entire EU region. It was quite an ambitious project, so I was very intersted in hearing what he had to say. Abekatten, is a relativ small company with less than 10 employees, who are selling their own brand of climbing and boulder walls, called klatrevæg and Bouldervægge, which can be highly customized. But which challanges did they face, when trying to cross the national border of Denmark, and get their product out to the other EU countries?
Creating the perfect klatrevæg
The first challange the company Abekatten had, was to make the best possible product. Their two main products Klatrevægge and Bouldervægge, was improved over and over, until they had a product they were completely satisfied with. The whole process of creating the first klatrevæg took about a year and a half, from the design was ready until they had a working product build, which had been tweaked and optimized over and over. They tested the product on the national market, where it was well received. After the successful national launch, it was time to cross the borders and get the product out to the rest of the EU.
Crossing the national borders
Expanding to other countries isn’t always that easy. There are often quite a lot of problems you need to face, such as specific country taxes and EU VAT rules. Another major issue is the logistic problems. Do you ship all products directly from the factory or do you use local warehouses. The first would for many seems like the cheapest option, but you are also loosing out on potential customers, due to shipping delays. In this case since every bouldervæg or klatrevæg was unique and custom build, having a foreign wareshouse, wouldn’t make much sense. The various EU rules, was something quite different and did require some additional external help, in order to get all the paperworks in order, and begin selling their products across all of Europe. Like we saw with the company who produced bæreseler and strækvikler. To make it a little easier they started out by establising themselves in the nabour countries like Sweden and Norway with local domains such as abekatten.se and abekatten.no
Getting accepted in the EU
Having all the rules and logistic issues in place it was time to start selling the product. However without knowledge of your product, it’s really quite hard to sell anything, so the next big issue was to brand your company in a foreign contry. In their own country it was a big easier, as new companies ofte get a lot of free exposure, but that wasn’t possible in the rest of EU. So the first step is to start branding yourself a foreign company, and in order to do so, they had to create some Adwords campaigns, and marketing themself on various social medias, and that is where they are at now.
I will be speaking with them again in 6 months, and do a follow up to see how they managed to tackle the various issues and if it was possible for them to get their brand out across the borders.