How my start-up cracked the international market
Appointedd founder Leah Hutcheon shares the story of how saying 'yes' to a client's difficult request propelled her business to global expansion...
Name: Leah Hutcheon
Company description: Appointedd provides advanced cloud-based online booking and scheduling software that allows businesses to take bookings and manage their time anywhere, anytime. Underpinned by its pioneering multi-timezone functionality (a world’s first), Appointedd enables businesses to operate seamlessly across every timezone.
Started in: 2011
Describe your start-up barrier:
Appointedd started out as software designed for small businesses, helping them get online and gain a competitive edge. However, we saw that multinational enterprises struggled to collaborate effectively while employees were working across different timezones.
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By innovating a solution to the timezone challenge faced by multinational enterprises, we opened the business up to global opportunities; delivering our valuable pioneering tool to companies of all shapes and sizes worldwide.
What were the practical steps you took to make your offering relevant to the global market?
Saying ‘yes’ to the challenge:
We were approached by a global enterprise client that had been seeking a scheduling tool that could cope with the complex nature of its business. The client had been in touch with other online booking and scheduling providers, none of whom had the functionality they were looking for.
We said ‘yes’ to the project, and we innovated our scheduling software and developed multi-timezone booking tools – the first of their kind among online booking software – that can now support any business, any size, anywhere.
Developing the solution:
The functionality allows all employees to operate in their own timezone, independent of the business itself and other resources.
Each employee can work in a different timezone every day of the week if required, and switch between different timezones easily without affecting their working hours. So, if they work nine to five in London, they also work nine to five in New York so no need to alter availability and no chance of being booked for a call at 3am while battling jet lag.
What was the outcome?
Since developing our multi-timezone capabilities, exporting opportunities worldwide have opened up. Our dynamic team and software can now handle the complexities that come with enabling multinational organisations.
Our entrepreneurial approach and customer focus has attracted the attention of international enterprises exploring time management technology to streamline activity and be more efficient.
What key questions should entrepreneurs ask themselves before going global?
- Would new functionalities benefit the business in the long run by making your product relevant to a wider range of sectors, or more attractive to a target sector?
- Is this development in-keeping with the long-term goals of the business?
- If not, is it a valuable detour or should it signal a change of direction?
What one piece of advice would you offer to business owners with global ambitions?
Don’t be afraid to accept a challenge: even a small team can achieve great things with plenty of innovation and motivation.
Is there anything you would do differently?
Trust my gut earlier and more emphatically. Turns out it’s often right, but we need to have confidence in our own intuition!