Silicon Valley Mission: How to succeed through the eyes of a Czech startup

May 25, 2019
June 6, 2019
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Dreams should be fulfilled. For Czech startups, it is nothing less than a dream to launch your business in Silicon Valley. Zuzana Maderová, Senior Vice President of Expansion and Business Development at Enehano Solutions, just moved to San Francisco to achieve that dream!

Who are we?

Enehano focuses mainly on the implementation and development of the Salesforce platform. Zuzana Maderovástarted as Expansion and Business Development Director of Enehano last year. At that time, she had two great experiences in Staffino, Slovakia, and in Dateio, Czechia but she felt she was ready to move forward to more business endeavors.

More specifically, she wanted to move to a startup expanding to Silicon Valley, the Mecca of all startups. And because Enehano’s bosses Jiří Mach and Michal Peška had planned for a US expansion for some time, they went out to meet her. So from the beginning of April, Zuzana knows what it is like to conquer Silicon Valley. She wrote her experience of the preparations and impressions of the first days exclusively for CzechCrunch.

So how did we chose the US to expand to?

We decided that Enehano would be perfect for the expansion to the US market. We were lucky to have chosen the Czech-American Productboard to implement the Salesforce business automation.

After successful implementation, he recommended us to his business partner, who was looking for a company to supply Salesforce with. When we decided whether it was better to go without reference in Germany or the UK, or in the US with references (and very successful ones), it was an easy choice.

I went straight to Silicon Valley with a few major goals:

  • Demonstrate that we can succeed in the market and can get new customers in the Bay Area. At the same time examine the acquisition of other case studies within B2B SaaS Enterprise.
  • Define UVP Enehano according to market feedback.
  • Create a new Pricing model.
  • Find a US Director.

“I want to stress that only enthusiasm is not enough to succeed. At the beginning you need not only enthusiasm, but you need concrete plans. Be sure to be prepared for your expansion. Here are a few things that helped me prepare for my international expansion” — Zuzana Maderová

Here are some tips to prepare for expanding internationally:

1. I would recommend that you deal with visas (B-1) at least two weeks in advance. It is better to leave some time for an embassy interview. Visas allow you to stay in the US for six months.

2. Before traveling, arrange accommodation close to the center, which is a maximum of 40 minutes on foot. For accommodation in the center, you pay more, but on foot or via uberPOOL you will get a few dollars (yes, uberPOOL will come out as cheap as public transport)

3. Live in a space that will be convenient for coworking events and networking opportunities. Some popular areas are near Market St./Howard St./Union Square. They are the most expensive, but you will have all the events and meetings on foot for some 20 to 30 minutes, which is priceless (for example, we are at Galvanize.com). And one extra hack, if you have a Revolut Business Account, WeWork coworking is 3 months free — they start in the US and now have this action as a promo.

Expectations and Strategy

1. In my opinion, the basis of business pre-preparation is a clear assignment. First and foremost, setting KPIs and % of their scenarios (eg what will be the output if we fill it to 50%? We will continue to expand?). The KPIs themselves should be set realistically so that they do not disintegrate. I agree with the fact that you need to get high goals, but it is important to be prepared.

2. The expectations between the Expansion leader and the home office should be clearly stated in advance. Markets are completely different and you cannot expect that when you work with large corporations in the Czech Republic, you will be doing the same work in the US right away.

3. Prepare a lead generation strategy ahead of time — direct mailing, LinkedIn, events, and so on. We started addressing clients two weeks before departure and it was just right.

4. List interesting meetup.com groups in advance to watch their events. The events most sought after can be found through Eventbrite and Startup Digest. For example, FaceBook is not talking about business events here.

5. It is also practical to have a dedicated support team to “work behind the computer”. It is important to realize that your time in the US is expensive, so you should do most of the time to do what you are in the US, which is mainly about building relationships and creating a network.

What’s most important in the first two weeks?

1. The first rule: get rid of the jet lag first so that you can be productive with your time here. Stay active and moving! I highly recommend you get a bike, either through Craiglist or subscribing to some rent bike. It’s very comfortable and you can take the bike and then just leave it on the public stands.

2. Right now, in the early days, you should prioritize communication with your home base. You will have to set up a regular update with the corporate headquarters in the Czech Republic. Create a good schedule at the beginning, especially if you are part of an incubator in the US (in our case through CzechAccelerator) or have regular mentoring in place. I found it useful to set up regular meetings with the mentor, from which other meetings and all other events take place.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some tips about our US expansion from Zuzana! Next time we will have a report from TechDay New York — one of the biggest tech conference in the US.

Have more questions about our international expansion? Shoot Zuzana an email and she will answer all of them!

Published by Danielle Nelson: Marketing Strategy and Content Creator at Enehano Solutions.

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