When you have to read a post in english, what it your first thought?
“No problem, I can handle it.” or “Well, where can I find it in my mother language?”
If you are in the second case don’t worry. This is a problem many people have, especially in Italy. When you have to introduce yourself, talk or write in english, there’s always this big obstacle.
Even in the startup and tech industry. If you work in a business “online” you must be ready to scale worldwide and engage with an international audience. Startuppers use terms as business plan, spinoff, round, seed, VC, revenue, etc. but when it comes to face the language the reaction is often: …”mmm.. well I studied it at school but I don’t speak it everyday so…”
So it’s a big problem. Unless your goal is to grow in your Country or in your niche market, you can’t lose the opportunity to expand and grow online. And you should do it as soon as possible.
Because even if you are just testing your product and market you have to be ready to test it from different sources, people and places. If you build a product may be it won’t fit for your native Country but it will for another one. In a startup company you can’t afford to lose time and opportunities and, online, opportunities come from different and unexpected directions. That’s why you MUST think in english if you want to grow online.
-> SEE ALSO: HOW TO WATCH NETFLIX IN EUROPE TO LEARN ENGLISH
I know young entrepreneurs who have lost huge foreign investments opportunities just because they cannot pitch their great idea in an effective way.
Now you can tell me that there are many successful cases, even in Italy, of local languages websites. Yes it’s true, but, how many of them have the potential to scale? How many of them have the opportunity to start the same precise business model in another Country overnight?
You could test your market but with the awareness that your product is not created just for that specific Country, and so, the feedbacks may not match the expectations and the real potential.
To back my idea I want to introduce a young italian entrepreneur as testimonial. His name is Andrea Passadori, Co-founder & Marketing manager at Fluentify. The idea behind Fluentify is the same behind this post: english as an opportunity that should be exploited and accessible to everyone. The language learning platform was founded in 2013 and it’s now based in London.
Andrea, many tech startups and new online platforms start with a local language in order to test the market before going global. Do you think this is a good practice?
A: Yes it could be a good practice. It was our case as well. We started targeting Italy mainly because we thought it was a good fit for our product but also because our first round allowed us to invest on a single market at a time. We were lucky because in Italy there’s a huge need of english courses and lessons. We are an export-driven Country and many businesses today must learn english fluently in order to deal with foreign clients.
Since you’ve started your business, what are the main problems you have had in your Country?
A: We stated our company in London in 2013 and we joined the Accelerator Academy. Our idea was born in Italy and at the beginning, with Giacomo Moiso (co-founder). In our Country, we didn’t find the right startup environment, both for investors and for resources. When we moved to London the situation was different and the startup ecosystem was mature and developed. We have recently opened an SRL in Italy and I must say that the situation is changing a little bit and the government is trying to encourage young tech entrepreneurs.
Did the UK startup ecosystem help your startup succeed?
A: Yes, the ecosystem and the connections were fundamentals for Fluentify’s growth.
Fluentify has a simple goal: learn english easily and everywhere. Do you think english is fundamental if you want to grow online or, today, given the amount of online business, it is better to invest on a smaller regional audience?
A: How you market your product and a marketing strategy are two separated thing. Our platform is global because of our core business. Everybody could be interested to learn english, we have students from India, Pakistan and South America. Today, we are focusing our marketing efforts and budget in Italy just for a resources matter. But, In the longer run it doesn’t make sense to focus on just a region unless there are specific reasons.
If you should give an advice to a young entrepreneur, what would it be?
A: Well, I suggest to don’t lose time on business plan and start doing things as soon as possible to test your product on real people, not on excel files and projections.
Are you using Fluentify as well?
A: Yes! I am using it like twice a week to refresh my english. I often use the same tutors, who are doing activities related to my business.
-> SEE ALSO: PERSONAL BRANDING AND STARTUPS. 3 KEYS TO SUCCESS
That’s all. What do you think? If you are startupper, what is the go to market strategy did you use?
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