Category Archives: Start-up

When in Rome!

It’s often said that when in Rome we should do as the Romans do. This translates to – if you want to fit in then change your behaviour to match that of the inhabitants of the country you are living in.

This definitely applies should you wish to open an office in a new country.!

There are a number of things that you need to be aware of when starting up a new office in a foreign country. Using that good ‘change management’ standby referring to the six triggers ‘PESTLE’ the MAPP Academy came up with a list of areas that you might need to research:

  • Political – we are living in a world that changes politically like the shifting sands of a desert. Take a look, look away then back and is the view the same? But political risk can be researched at – go to the International Property Tights Index for a risk assessment on the country you have chosen.
  • Economical – We are going through a world-wide financial upheaval at the moment. Avoid countries that are economically inactive and – whilst it may seem difficult in this day and age – look for a country where people are spending and unemployment is on the way down. But most of all look for a low debt-to-GDP ratio!
  • Social – language and culture – the people you are going to deal with – The Romans – will have their own culture. Even if the language is shared (and that is doubtful sometimes – USA and UK are often referred to as two countries separated by the same language) the culture may be radically different. Consider using a trusted businessman from the destination country. They will have networks, obviously speak the language and have a handle on culture. We might know our home-grown ‘body language’ signals but will we know those of the country we are investing in. Remember all of those television adverts for a well known international bank?
  • Technological – Do they have the ‘platform’ or infrastructure for you to communicate easily? Is there good web-access? You don’t want a business that can’t communicate with you at home or can’t communicate internally in the country you have chosen for your new office. Who are the most technological innovative countries? Look here for some advice from Bloomberg – Most Innovative Countries Index.
  • Legal – Whilst some countries are great – stable – and supportive of business run by foreigners others are not. For example, look for countries where there is not a history of ‘confiscation’ of property or business. As above the same excellent research tool can be used International Property Rights Index. Research the country of your choice.
  • Environmental – There is a whole raft of differences between countries when it comes to the environment. There are countries that are green and others that have no green credentials at all. Take a look here for the green credentials of your country of choice – The Green Index

But it doesn’t end there; add to the above PESTLE triggers your personal knowledge of your industry sector and – most definitely – a great deal of market research in the country of your choice (just as you would if opening a business in a new town within your home country) and your chances of success just got better.

One final link worth a look is Starting a Business Abroad. Aimed at businesses of a certain size (10-50 employees) this can provide you with a number of insights and may save you making a big, costly mistake.

The MAPP has produced a comprehensive, on-line decision-making tool that can be used to plan an exciting project such as this. For product information follow the link:


Negotiation – Get What You Want By Giving the Client What They Want!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘negotiation’ as:

noun: a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement : an act of negotiating.

If negotiation is a give and take process between two or more parties then you need to be aware of your ideal outcome, what you will accept as a minimum and what you will not accept (causing you to walk away from the table). And you need to have a firm grasp of these three outcomes before starting the process.

However, in order to participate in a ‘give and take process’ you also need to find out quickly what the other party sees as their ideal, minimum or unacceptable outcome.

This means you must:

  • Have a strategy
  • Develop tactics
  • Ensure that the right team/individual is handling the negotiations
  • That the ‘relationship’ with the other party is handled professionally

All 4

Some Tips from the MAPP Academy


  • Start by researching – identify who you will be negotiating with. It might give you an idea as to what they will see as an ideal outcome for them.
  • You must – ‘know your numbers’ – see the three outcomes suggested above, especially what will be your ‘deal breaker’.

Develop Tactics

  • Look to find common ground.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want – sometimes a client will give you more than you though they would. They can only say no!
  • Stick to your numbers! Never be afraid to walk away – but do so professionally. Thank the other party for their time but no thanks for their offer. A polite refusal can lead to future negotiations; a ‘flounce’ leads to nothing!

Ensure that you have the right team/individual handling the negotiations

  • Someone who asks for what you want in a confident way.
  • Someone who also knows how to listen and pick up on the signs – body language, tone of voice will communicate over 90% of the message from the other party.
    Sometimes silence on your part can act as pressure on the other party.

Handle the negotiations in a professional manner

  • Ensure that you are negotiating with someone who can make decisions.
  • Don’t forget to listen – give the other party respect
  • Make concessions on a ‘tit for tat’ basis. Give back to the other party if they give to you. Never make concessions if none have been offered.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your offer if you need to – but never change your own offer downwards. Never negotiate against yourself and don’t agree to something if it feels wrong. If it feels wrong it probably is – for you!
  • Be creative – together. Use new information to adjust your offer.
  • Don’t use the ‘walk away’ as a negotiating tactic.
  • Finally, once the negotiations have come to a conclusion and both parties recognise that it is fair – put it into writing!

The Negotiation MAPP was created by members of the MAPP Academy along with Spoken Word Limited, a MAPP Partner company. It provides you with a framework for your negotiations. Have a look at the product description by following the link below:

Or to get directly to the Negotiation MAPP follow the product links below to the MAPP Store:

How Do You ‘Start Up’?

Or perhaps more importantly, how do you create a project plan to help your start-up succeed?

There’s no shortage of information, advice and guidance for those wishing to ‘start up’ a business.
Apparently we’ve all got a business in us and given the lack of growth in the economy and the lack of jobs, becoming self-employed or starting a business is now becoming a necessity rather than a choice for many.
But all the information and advice doesn’t make taking the plunge any easier. Business appears complex and risky, especially when you have no experience or lack formal training. So, how to improve the chances of your success as a new business owner; how to reduce risks and make the right decisions?
How do you get to the point where you ‘start up’ your start-up….?
I’d like to consider the idea that there is a process that can take you from your great idea…. to actually doing something about it. There is a way of planning you journey to success; in whatever way you define that.
The idea is simple. Define where you are – the ‘start point’. That might be the ‘unique selling proposition’ of your new product or service or a description of the fabulous shop you want to open. The thing is, it’s a way of describing what you are passionate about creating.
Next, the goal. Why are you going into business? There’s got to be a reason, otherwise why bother? You should be able to define it clearly and also state when you want to achieve it by. If you’re working in a team, it would be good if you could all agree on what the goal is too!
So, you now know where you are and you know where you want to get to. The next stage is thinking about the journey from start to goal and creating a project plan. Planning is how you will make it happen. There are lots of things to think about, but in the context of your business, they need to be prioritised so that when you start to implement the resulting plan… you know what to do first and why.
This is where we believe that help from outside is really useful. Say that you could access the knowledge and experience of other start-ups, the coaches and mentors who support them and even those who watch and research who does what in their start-up journey.
How would that be helpful? Well, ask yourself the question…. This ‘activity’, that people have done before in creating their business, does it feature in MY journey?
If yes, then when do I need to do it? Now, soon or later? And how does it fit into other things that I have decided I need to do in my journey? Does it come before, after, or perhaps at the same time as some of the other things?
These questions can be answered with the team – or just by you – the entrepreneur – and a friend, colleague, coach or other trusted advisor.
MAPP is the tool that can help you go through this process simply, effectively and economically.

mappstoreClick on the logo to go to our MAPP Store for some great start-up tools.