When it comes to startups aspiring to go abroad, 25 years of international business development, including 20 years of working with software companies, have taught Petri Rinne the importance of quickly gettings your hands dirty by shifting into sales mode - after some initial desktop research.
Founded by three Finnish water engineers with a knack for modern software development, Fluidit Oy simulates the flow, pressure and velocity of water within a distribution network - or the sewerage -, enabling utilities to save serious money on pipes, pumps and energy, and to better predict the impact of potential accidents or renovation work.
In talking with Matti Lattu, the CEO of Finnish e-invoicing automation provider Heeros, it seems that in a nutshell, to successfully land a Finnish business in the Netherlands demands adherence to three rules: (1) Get a grasp of Dutch small talk; (2) Raise a warchest of at least a million euros; (3) Don’t send off no lonesome cowboy.
I talked with Erkki Tuomi, co-founder of Pro Growth Consulting Oy, about his views on sales growth and internationalization, and about ‘Software from Finland to European Markets’, an internationalization programme for software companies that kicked off in September and targets the Netherlands as its first foreign market. "A common obstacle to growth is when a company tries to serve every customer they have with the same attention. Often they are not active enough with those customers that represent the biggest growth potential."
"The Dutch are not keen on thinking very long-term; they’d rather go for the quick win. Therefore, as a Finnish entrepreneur, you’ll need to pitch well and follow up fast. Don’t expect they’ll call you back after three months.” What ambassador Cees Bansema has learned *about* the Finns, he says, is that they have not only a very efficient, but also very harmonious society. And *from* the Finns he says he’s learned that it’s actually quite okay in conversation to pause for a few seconds.