Had an interesting call with one of the Canadian embassies in Africa a few days ago.
This is something we only recently discovered, but Canada has trade commissioners all around the world. And their mandate is basically to help Canadian solopreneurs and companies expand into other countries or regions of the world.
Pretty cool stuff, especially for an immigration tech company like ours.
Now of course, with government comes beaurocracy, so sometimes the process can be a bit slow. But for a free service, can’t complain too much.
In our case, now that our immigration platform is live, we’re looking to expand and partner with companies/people abroad that work in the international student space. I’ve always enjoyed building solopreneur business partnerships, and the added bonus of building them abroad is you get to learn about different places, cultures and the way they do business.
Surprisingly, the first few times I started talking to people abroad (years ago while building my firm), things can actually be very different in other countries from the way we do business here.
It’s one of the reasons why it’s so helpful to go through something like a local trade commission, where they have specific insight into “how things work” in that country.
Another reason is, if they learn about your company and like what you’re doing, they’re willing to make intros and facilitate business discussions/partnerships. So I’m reaching out to some of the key target markets abroad, and this morning was my first talk with one of them.
I’ll keep you posted as some of these conversations progress, and I’d definitely recommend doing the same if it applies. And by that, I mean if you’re trying to expand or just build solopreneur business relationships abroad, see if your country has trade commissioners in other countries. Could unlock some huge opportunities, and/or cut down on the time it would take to break into a new region.
Just some food for thought.
I also had a bunch of calls throughout the week. Mostly it was demos and sales calls for Visto, our immigration platform.
Going pretty well as we continue to onboard new users, but struggling with one thing. And it’s something more specific to tech, something I didn’t really struggle with when growing my law firm as a “regular” solopreneur service provider.
When providing a service, it’s a pretty straight-forward process to onboard clients, invoice them and get to work. And they either want it or they don’t.
Something that I’ve noticed over the years, since cofounding Visto and selling software, is that onboarding and customer success is so much more important.
And what I mean by that, is getting people signed up and actually using your software.
Here’s an example to hopefully explain better:
When I was focused on growing my law firm, it was as simple as having a sales call, sending a retainer/invoice, then starting to provide that service once the invoice was paid. Pretty standard, and also the way everyone is “used to” working with you.
But with tech it’s a bit different.
First we sell them on the product, then you get them to sign up, potentially have them pay the invoice (depending on how/when your billing works), but then you want to make sure they actually use the software.
Or sign up for it to begin with.
In some cases, especially in industries or companies that are busy, just getting them to create an account can be a pain. Then when they have an account, getting them to sign back in and use the tech.
Which is important, because if they don’t use your tech, at least once in a while, they’re probably not going to stick around for very long.
It’s nothing too new for us, since there’s usually this added hurdle and adoption, especially when you’re intruducing a brand new platform to a target market that may not be used to using software very much, but it’s an additional hurdle in the tech world that I never really struggled with in the traditional service business world.
So if you offer a service, and yearn for the fancy tech world and all its “glory”… think twice!
As they say, the grass is always greener. Anyway, sto stay up to date on my business complaining – I mean updates – make sure you’re on my email list here!