On going global.
We've created a series of four interviews with decent packaging founder, Tony Small. Our third interview talks about going global with business.
From starting a business in New Zealand to setting up shop in the United Kingdom, it's been a huge achievement to spread our wings internationally - but not without its challenges!
What was it like ‘going global’?
Challenging! The physical task of establishing a relationship or selling a product isn’t that much different in Auckland or London. But, the consistency of working 6/7 day weeks, and 10 to 14 hour days to set up a new business, starts to have an impact on your mind after 6 or so months.
The first set up you do, it is very exciting (in my case, this was in New Zealand), which gives you a lot of adrenaline. But when you’re doing it for the second time (London), the tank isn’t as full as it once was. I remember not seeing anyone outside of work for about six months, and it was a good realisation of how important it is to have a strong support network around you. Business can be a lonely journey, especially when you’re on the other side of the world. It’s important to make sure you schedule downtime to give your mind a rest.
Towards the end of our first year in the UK, I was walking home from work one evening and was stopped by a homeless person asking for change. They looked at me and said “are you ok mate”. I looked at my hand, which was shaking, and I felt very on edge. It was a bit of a wake-up call to find more time away from work. Working day and night isn’t sustainable long term. Finding time to have a coffee with a friend or walk around a park, I believe, is a vital part of a successful business.
Is it easy being a Kiwi founded company overseas?
New Zealanders have an amazing community in the UK, so yes, it probably makes it a bit easier. But you still have to do the work, and you have to work hard. You have to do what your competition isn’t willing to do if you really want to be successful.