Chris Minehan has the best of both worlds, working from an office near Sydney’s famed Manly beach, while running another office in the heart of Europe in German port city of Hamburg.
His Digital Marketing agency, ClickedOn, was founded in 2014.
“We make you successful online” is the company’s mission. ClickedOn has a global customer base that includes HBO, Vodafone, Yellow Brick Road , WorldFirst and Mozo, operating in regions ranging from Australia to NZ, Singapore, Germany, UK and other countries. About 40% of ClickedOn’s work is international.
For Mozo, the money-saving comparison site, revenue attributed to pay-per-click and display traffic grew 185% in seven months thanks to ClickedOn.
What he loves most about running a global business from a beachside suburb is “breaking the perception that you need to be in an office wearing a suit and unhappy to be doing great work”.
“If we can wear board shorts, get out to the beach or for a mountain bike at lunch and deliver better results than an established player out of London or New York, that makes me happy,” he said.
How to stay local when you’re global
Minehan’s Hamburg office came about when an employee in Manly, who was working with the company’s client, decided to move there. It made perfect sense to have someone in the right time zone alongside the customers they were already working with.
One downside, he confesses, is setting boundaries.
“A challenge with opening the EU office has been going back to business calls at night and work and home life bleeding together. Boundaries help make this manageable but I still haven’t fully worked this on out yet,” Chris said
But there was another pain point in having a business that straggles borders and thinks globally.
“Both ClickedOn and our clients were spending a lot of a time just trying to get invoices paid. We also found it difficult to get an international business to deal with what they saw as an Australian focused company,” he said.
Having worked in a fintech startup’s marketing department a decade earlier, Chris knew international money transfer was an issue.He turned to international payments company WorldFirst for help, opening a World Account, which gives customers local currency account details in 10 currencies, including the US, Australian, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canadian and Singapore dollars, as well as the Euro, British pound, Chinese Yuan and Japanese Yen.
WorldFirst’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The free digital platform allows people and companies to buy, pay and receive payments in a local currency, without the additional costs of extra exchange fees.
It gave Minehan and the team the chance to truly “think globally and act locally” as they built a customer base around the world.
“Having local currency account details not only helped us to remove a pain point for our clients and ourselves, it also makes our international clients know that we are set up to handle their local concerns,” he said.
“Access to local currency details to collect in local currency is a great example of this, as is World Accounts integration with Xero, which makes invoicing really simple and scaleable.”
Chris Minehan says the foreign exchange savings from using WorldFirst “are a bonus – although they are significant”.
The best part of having a World Account, he says is the best part is “it has reduced the friction for us to operate in a foreign market and made our internationally clients stickier”.
His dreams are now focused on creating a follow the sun/24-hour operation to help clients and monitor their campaigns constantly. To do that, he wants to open an office in Austin, Texas.
There’s also an ulterior motive.
“I also love Texas-style BBQ meats, so it is always a great place to visit,” he grins, thinking of a time to come when he’s jumping on a plane to cross the Pacific.
Staying switched on is the important thing – even as he tries to maintain that balance.
“The internet doesn’t sleep and to be the best agency and deliver world class results the business needs to operate 24 hours a day – while allowing our staff to get out for a mountain bike, surf, do yoga or whatever it is that makes them love life,” he said.
So what’s Chris Minehan’s advice for building a startup with an international focus?
“Having your system and processes setup before you start. If you have bad processes and systems, then growth or adding complexity like going overseas magnifies the problems,” he said.
We had been focusing on working remotely three days a week – and are all in the office in Manly two days a week – so we had already started using the technology, providers and processes to be able to work from anywhere.
“This really helped when we went international, as we could already work remotely. Another big thing we have done is making sure we visit out international clients in person. I would visit our clients twice a year prior to the international travel restrictions and this really helped in maintaining relationships and for my continual learning on the latest tools and techniques being used in global markets.
“We can then bring these learnings back to our Australian clients, so it helps both ways.”
And when he’s on the ground in those locations, Chris Minehan is already saving money using his WorldFirst World Account because he doesn’t lose money on additional currency conversations.
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