Advice for Estonian companies wanting to sell into the UK

Last night I interviewed Craig Hanna, Director, at the Hop Poles Pub in Brighton.
I am in England to attend the Imedia Agency Summit btw.

I told Craig there were a number of Estonian start-ups (he was aware of Garage48 btw) and established companies who want to enter the UK market.

At altex we have seen a growing interest in exporting to the UK so I asked Craig what advice he could share.

This is good advice:

Uk is inherently highly competitive.
Important not just to be a “me too” brand.
Subtle differences between your product/service and what’s available now are important.
Research the market well before you enter.
Bring something that is not easily copiable.
If it is easily copiable then you need to market hard and fast- you will need a lot of money. If you don’t hit hard then you are screwed basically.
So think hard about cost of entry budget and how easily you can be imitated.
Good ideas as web apps are generally a fundamentally weak idea as they can be easily copied.
You need IP –something different.
Technology commitment ideally should be significant to slow down and reduce volume of competition.
I repeat if you are easy to copy then it becomes a pure marketing play and in that scenario money wins.
If not high tech then you need an advanced/different business model that is not easily to replicate quickly.
Get a UK partner and give them equity to help you –especially with distribution/sales/marketing.
Avoid VC costs for development. Only get VC when you are on your last penny.
Key for an Estonian success will be credibility of the idea and the company/people behind it.
Awareness is obviously important.

Search marketing, social media, email and affiliate marketing are the best channels for both awareness building and direct response.

Craig also in a separate discussion commented that price of digital marketing is increasing and offline is decreasing so there are good deals available in traditional media. He sees an equalising of prices overtime. The bargain prices for digital marketing in the UK are harder and harder to find.

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