574: Why & How to Launch Offices in New Regions w/ Mikko Honkanen

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Mikko Honkanen, Co-founder of Vainu.

Are you struggling to come up withoriginal content, weaken and weak out start a poncast interview, your idealclients? Let them talk about what they care about most and never run out ofcontent ideas again: Learn more at sweetfish media DOTCOM, you're, listening to the BEATOB growthshow a potcast dedicated to help I be to be executive, Achiev, explosivegrowth, whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools andresources. You've come to the right place, I'm James Carberry and I'mJonathan Green. Let's get into the show, welcome back to the bautyby growth show.We are here today with Miko Hongkanin. He is the CO founder, Venu Daio me gohow a you doing today, I'm good thanks and thanks for having me today, noproblem at all me Goe. So we're going to be talking about launching officesin new regions and and new countries today, but before we get into that I'dlove for listeners to j understand a...

...little bit of context. Can you explainto the folks listening? What is they newdata io all about PS, so I knowwe're a software as aservice platform for be to be sales. professiornal anaccount managers. We help them to identify best possible prospects, sobest possible sales prospects and also the know the ideal f timing when andhow to be in touch with those people and companies. So we are built adatabase of more than one hundred million companies and we, we endracedthat database with all open and public data. So, for example, if people wantto, if tells people want to find all software companies in California whohave recently restfunding and also provid a free trial on their website,taking very quickly do that that search in our platform and get the list ofthose those companies and today we're litttle bit more than one hundredpeople in six different offices. At the moment we launched fin in August twentyfourteen, and so that's really going to be. Thefocus of this conversation. Mego is...

...launching those six offices since,since twenty fourteen you I talk to a lot of folks that, are, you know,really bullish on this idea of remote work and opening up. You know really aglobal workforce by allowing people to work remote companies like buffer,doing it Zappier I'm seeing a lot a lot of companies embrace this talk to usabout why you guys have chosen the other path to open up multiple officesin different parts of the world. Yes, so of course, we also have people whowork premotely and they might live in the city's, where we don't have offices,but really the number. One reason why we want to open up offices is that wewant to be very close to our customers and Um. Since we were building adatabase off of companies, we actually need to build the the softwareandthewith that we provide a counterby country and then once, for example, the.U S database was complete earlier this year. We wanted to make sure that weput lots of folxs on that market and...

...have an office in the: U S as well,very good way to get lots of feedback from customers when we actually get achance to meet them, face the pace and when we sign up those early early usersto get that unfiltered feedback directly from the from the market. Andof course it S, it adds lots of Lok or no, how into the company as well, whenwe have local people? Okay. So so how do you guys handle recruitment whenyou're launching these new offices is it? Do you find the talent first andthen you launch an office or do you launch the office and then and then gofind the talent? How does that work for you guys, yeah? Typically at first wedecide that okay, we wan to enter a new new country, let's say as Sweden. Sothen, when we made a decision that we want to open up an office and swee itand we always choose few existing e employees who are willing to move intothat new new country. And the reason is that we want to transfer sort of theDNA and the culture of the company, so that allthe offices will be aligned interms of how they do business and how...

...they run the processies, but then veryearly on. We bring local talent as well, because we believe if we want to findthe best people and really understand the market, we want to have localpeople as well. So it's sort of like a mix of exxisting employees moving intothat new new city, a new country and then bright away, hiring local peopleas well, and it's been a good way to make sure that the culture is alignedacross all the offices. But of course, then all the offices they can createtheir own unique twigs into the culture if they want gotta. Okay, so talk to usabout kind of the you had mentioned: Youh'd alluded to it before, but soonceyou have an office stood up. What's that look like them to start engagingthe loca market as you're developing relationships with customers in thatarea? You said that was you know, one of the key reasons that that you guyslike having offices, are you guys hosting events at that location to tobring in prospects and existing customers to you or you going out tothem? What? What's that look like the...

...way we do Sata Ark thing we. First ofall, we put a lot of folks on sales and Markting, because we believe that thebest way to get get that unfiltured freedback is to actually meet with lotof podensal customers. So we have an active inside sales team, of course,using our own product so that we can identify the Compani where we see thebest best fit with our service, and then we do lots of content marketing.One thing that is maybe unique for us: We have decided to localize the contentin all the all the markets that we operate so right now we we createcontent infinis in Sweris, in Norwegian in dut and in English. So that's a goodway to also showcase for the audience that he we actually speak your language.We have lots of interesting content althere to BEC. We also whole soents.Last week we had events in hous singing Weai ben in in Stockholm, but more thananything, we want to make sure that we use our own software and identify thecompanies that are very good, O faith with our software, and then we want tomake sure that we meet them and and speak with them and understand theirpain points and, and that's the best way, to get that feedback back to theproduct team as well. Go okay, so Mego.

I want to go back to another thing thatyou touched on a little bit earlier: An keeping the culture aline. What aresome of the things? Obviously launching the office with you know existing teammembers. What are some of the things you guys are doing where you and yourcopond are based to make sure that that culture does transfer from from onelocation to the next? Yes, so yeah one thing is really t t. We always havethose people who will move into that new city and they will work with a newteam and make sure that they sort of know them e Notthe n. A of the company,but then I mean using all these colibration technologies. I mean webeusslack, for example, a lot. We have lots of sirt channels, W bebetween, allthe offices. We do weekly updates and we typically get some sort of videoclipfrom all the offices where people just showcase what they've been up to lately.We also have lots of different of like high potential programs. We have apoproject called the blacksmith where we invite some of the best performersfrom different offices and they all fly...

...into a new city and spend time together.So I think it's it's a combination of using technology so that people cancollaborate, premotely and also organizing and facilitating eventswhere people meet face to face. Now. In January, all the business people willfly into Lisbon. We don't have an office in Lisbon, but it's a greatgreat way. T spend four days together and again, if you end up spending fourdays together with others, that's a good way to align the culture and makesure that everyone knows them. Of course, the director of the company andand KPIS and and sort of bng a way of doing things I love it. Have you runinto any challenges, as you guys have tried, you know one of the biggestchallenges that you've run into as you've gone from one location to sixyeah. I think one thing was, for example, finding the first peoplethat's Oralways, I mean we have pretty good name, for example, in the marketswhere I've Beeng quite some time like in the nodics, when we just place a jobadout, we get tons of applications, but remember when we opened up an office inNew York and we we placed the Nad Ou on...

Lincoln and few other places. We didn'tget that many applications, so we really had to do lots of headhunting.So we went to Angel Leastan, identified lots of candidates and actively alsoraged out to them. So I think it's all about making sure that we find thosepeople and in competitive markets. If you don't have a band name, it's a lotof hard work that you need to put into find that Ky team, because the firstemployees you bring in first people that you bring in in a new location,extremely important theyare with strong players, and I fi that they're eingsuccessful with that. But it has required a lot of hard work from us anddoes that look like you, R or one of your cofounders? Obviously you'reyou're taking someone from the existing team to plant them in the new office.But then do you empower the person that you've hired in that new office to thenbuild out and hire the team locally? Or do you guys spend a lot of time? Youand your cofounder spent a lot of time in that in that new city kind of doingthe hiring yourself or te's a lot of skipe interviews? What's that look likeit's a combinition of both? So when we...

...opene up an office in in New York, thefirst seven months I actually moved to New York and together with my family,lived in Brooklyn spent the first seven months with the team in in New York andthen bea other call founder. He was doing basically the same thing instreet and when we opened up an office in stock hom same thing in Amsteam, hespent a couple of Mons in Anstead, I'm doing recrerdments, finding the firstcustomers and so on. And now, when we opened up in Oslow, it was one of thefirst employees and and his also a partner of the company called you showyour Hois now running the office and and making sure they. They also have byn a way of doing things, of course, a lot of remote, scipe interviews as well,and then traveling quite a bit Tor. We make sure that we are present in allthose all those different markets that we're in would have been some of the things thatyou have noticed that have been telling in Azure in these new areas, you'reactiually moving to another part of the country moving to New York to spendtime here, you W, you want to make sure that that time is fruitful or thereother particular techniques or things...

...that you've done, that you've foundthat have been helpful as you're building these newteams yeah, I think number one thing is to be very, very handson. So if we wantto bring in lots of sales and marketing people and customer success, people,for example, making sure that we are also handsowne with those same tasksthat they're doing meeting with local customers, an excellent wage, to see,obviously to understand the differences in in the ways how they do bs, as intems of understanding the culture in that new munocation, but also knowinghow strong the product market fit is from day one and then really channelingthat feet back back to other other departments such as product evelopment.I think being handone is the nnumber one thing for us, gotta Somemego. Iwant to close out the interview by asking one one last question: Whatwould you say is the legacy that you want to leae by yeah? I think, if youtalk about business, I think the legasy we'LD like to leave as as a company'sis simply more effective to be sales...

...process, because today there's so muchguestwork in the game and and we believe it people systematically usedata and insides in the reprocess everybody will win. salespeople willhave more meaningful discussions and buyers won't get that many relemantphone calls and emails, but only those Frele on sayrs and maring messages. Sothat would be a big thing for all companies out there, but then of course,really the most important ligasid that I want to live o a personal levelicThelii that I want to live behind. This is my daughter, sosis today, fourteenmonths, so when se crows a bit older, I really want to make sure that e alwaysfeel that says: H, save an Appie child hood and just got everything. She needstolive, a joyful unfulfilling life, so that's definitely the number one thingAlon for me. Allo. Let me go this. His been fantastic. If there's somebodylistening to this, they want to stay connected with you learn more about. They knew Danao.What's the best way for them to go about doing that. Yes, so of course, I'mean the website Wondere that I always a good wait to learn more about thecompany and, of course I have to connect Onwi or Linten Miohonganin, my name so hapy to connect Onlingtonand twitter. That's V, AI N Ou. Not I o...

...make sure to check it out again. Me Gothink you so much for your time today. This has been great yeah, thanks Almoch,for having me, if you're a BA owe want to feature youon sites like the Huffinton Post, social MEEDA, examine er, achie worer.Every week we sen that a question Realli an be to be market. We use theresponses to those questions to feel the content. We write for reallypopular websites so head over to sweetfish, MEDA otcom, slash questionsand sign up today. Thank you. So much for listening until next time.

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