Office, people, colleagues, coworkers

Today, brands of all shapes and sizes are looking to expand domestically, and to international markets, far more quickly than they used to. Here are three reasons why brands deploying an on-demand workforce can achieve business growth without incurring crippling costs…

  1. Testing the water
Once a brand has reached a certain level of success in its native market, the temptation will be there to dip its toe into a new area of opportunity. And why resist it? You’ve consolidated your immediate operations, and created a solid bed of customers, so surely the time is ripe to take the plunge and launch in a new, exciting market? Perhaps though, a more sensible approach best when initially testing a new market, to prevent the over-committing of resources.

We set up Universal Avenue last year when we realised that a huge number of growing businesses were understandably eager to expand. We wanted to become the go-to service for brands intending to assess whether growth into new markets was actually viable, without them having to set up new premises or send existing employees on expensive business trips. Our international network of ‘Brand Ambassadors’, provides an ideal solution that keeps costs down. If a brand wants to find out whether a new market has potential, deploying an on-demand workforce of trained, locally-based freelance ‘Brand Ambassadors’ is a safe and cost-effective way to scout out the terrain.

  1. Knowing the culture
We recently saw an interesting Conversis Survey of UK companies, which found that a quarter of those operating internationally or planning to do so had lost business because employees did not have sufficient foreign language skills, and a third of companies admitted to difficulties in filling vacancies due to a lack of language skills amongst candidates.

Clearly, the companies surveyed here would benefit from having access to a localised workforce which they could tap into, as and when needed. Brand Ambassadors, who are in tune with their area’s cultural and linguistic nuances, can be uniquely positioned by brands to pitch products face-to-face to hard-to-reach SMEs – regardless of their location.

For a UK company expanding to Marseille, France, for example, it would make perfect business sense to temporarily deploy Brand Ambassadors local to the area, who live and breathe the local culture; it is this insider knowledge that could be crucial to sourcing leads and closing sales. Similarly, the techniques when pitching products might be completely different from one country to the next, where different business etiquettes are observed. If you’re an expanding company with international ambitions, you want to make sales, not enemies.

  1. Opening up shop
The biggest expansion cost faced by a brand is undoubtedly the opening of a new office. The whole process comes with so many pitfalls, challenges and pressures that it provides a major tipping point – one towards the road to success, or the drop to oblivion.

When brands approach Universal Avenue to discuss these crucial steps, we encourage them to deploy larger teams of Brand Ambassadors, to achieve the reach and effect that they want, but without having to spend excessive amounts of money on physically opening a new office. Furthermore, it means a brand’s existing staff isn’t disrupted by being sent back and forth in an attempt to create a foothold, again at an extra cost.

Brands can save untold amounts of capital, and time, by using a temporary workforce to lay the foundations in a new market. Recently, a UK company called Divido (www.divido.com) which is a London-based startup, came to us to explore how our Brand Ambassadors could pitch and sell their product, face-to-face, to retail outlets across the UK. The success of Universal Avenue’s Brand Ambassadors, who helped drive strong sales, proved to Divido that their service was marketable, and it was this confidence that resulted in the company investing in its own in-house salesforce. The Brand Ambassadors play a vital role in trialling sales and helping Divido expand its operations, without the company having to commit too early to establishing physical outposts during this early-stage growth.

By Johan Lilja, CEO and co-founder of Universal Avenue