Creating an international startup from nothing is a challenging endeavor that demands dedication, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace diversity.
Alina Vandenberghe, co-founder of Chili Piper, shares valuable tips on how to nurture a startup from its humble beginnings to a successful global company.
She stressed the remote work as the core value for her startup. “I want to make sure that [the employees in Russia and Ukraine] are safe, that they have everything that they need to do their job,” Vandenberghe said. “Even if my plans are delayed to launch certain products, if my financials are going to be delayed because we don’t have those products to market, everything pales in comparison with what these people are going through.”
Emphasising the significance of prioritising employees’ needs and adopting a remote work culture, Vandenberghe’s journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. According to her these five tips will help you build your first startup from zero.
1. Start with a Clear Vision
Having a compelling and ambitious vision for your startup is the foundation for success. Alina Vandenberghe stresses the importance of establishing a strong mission that extends beyond mere profitability. A purpose-driven approach attracts like-minded individuals and sustains motivation during challenging times.
2. Embrace Remote Work and Global Talent
Embracing remote work enables you to tap into a diverse global talent pool. Vandenberghe highlights the value of hiring employees from various countries and cultures, fostering innovation and enriching company culture. The flexibility of remote work allows employees to work from desired locations, enhancing job satisfaction and productivity.
3. Bootstrap and Validate Before Fundraising
In the initial stages, focus on bootstrapping and validating your business idea. Vandenberghe’s journey exemplifies how they used personal resources to fund Chili Piper until the concept was proven viable. Demonstrating the market demand and achieving some traction are critical before seeking external funding.
4. Leverage Time Zone Differences
Operating in different time zones can be advantageous if managed strategically. Vandenberghe highlights the importance of allowing flexible work hours, enabling employees to work during their most productive times. By ensuring some overlap for collaboration, continuous progress can be achieved.
5. Building a Cohesive Global Team
When expanding your team internationally, invest time and effort in understanding cultural differences. This appreciation fosters a harmonious and productive work environment. Vandenberghe’s hands-on approach of traveling to every country where they planned to hire highlights the significance of personal interactions to understand cultural nuances.
Alina Vandenberghe’s journey with Chili Piper offers valuable insights for entrepreneurs looking to build a global startup from scratch. Prioritising employees’ needs, embracing remote work and diverse talent, validating the business concept, leveraging time zone differences, and understanding cultural nuances are key to building a successful international venture.