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Launching a Multilingual Startup: How to Do It Right

  • Written by News Co Media


Launching a startup carries many inherent risks. But you can mitigate those risks by learning how to do it right the first time, before you jump in with both feet. From finding the best resources to help you succeed to making sure your business stands the best chance of reaching customers in another language, below we’ll cover how to get a startup going in Australia.

How to launch a startup

Start by writing a detailed business plan. This is the most important step in the early days of any startup. Without a good business plan, you won’t know who you are selling to or if the product is even needed. Remember, a business plan is a living document that you will need to update as situations change.

You also need to get out there and network as much as possible. Make contacts, take steps to learn as much as you can about running a business and get the word out about your product. You might consult local accountants, your professional network and even your personal contacts. Also look at business.gov.au, which has a step-by-step guide on how to start a business, including information on local law and taxes.

Make sure solid data plays into the early days of your startup. In identifying your target market, you need to learn everything about that demographic, so you know how likely they are to be responsive to your products. Many startups have detailed profiles about the customers they plan to target, such as spending habits, gender, age, shopping habits (online and off) and general interests. It’s also common to see which topics are trending among them on social media and to even complete surveys to see how receptive that demographic would be to a product. That data will go on to inform your marketing strategy.

Part of the planning stage will also be to assess how much you’ll need in funds for everything from product development to paying employees. You can get funding from bank loans, personal savings, venture capital investors or borrowing money from elsewhere. You might also look into government grants and loans.

Using a translation agency to launch a multilingual startup

If your target demographics speak other languages or your business is something you want to take overseas, you’ll need a translation agency to handle your messaging. It can be tempting to think about using an automated service to save on costs, especially if you’re just starting out. However, a top translation agency can ensure your startup accommodates local languages and addresses people in a fully native-sounding way.

What is a translation agency? A translation agency hires language professionals to convert documents into another language. Translation agency Tomedes points out on its website the value of using professional translators, including their skill at making sure messages aren’t offensive in the new culture, at avoiding embarrassing mistranslations that make a company look unprofessional and in general making sure your messaging is fitting in with the new culture’s consumer habits. Overall, they can ensure that your online content reads as though it was written originally for the target audience, enhancing the ability for consumers to build a connection with your brand.

Working with a translation agency is much more than simply translating the language. A translation agency gives you the best chance of success in a new market. As such, it’s important to work translation costs into your budget as you plan your startup. How much does it cost to translate 1000 words? It’s common to see 20-40c per word, so 200-400 AUD per 1000 words. Note, however, that this can vary significantly if you need specialist expertise, such as medical or legal knowledge, or if you plan to work with languages that are less commonly translated.

Maturing your startup

It helps to look ahead at how your business will mature as you reach certain milestones. In 2019, the failure rate for startups was 90%, with a 70% failure rate in the tenth year. 42% of businesses failed because no market was needed and 29% ran out of cash. It’s important both to do your homework and to mature your company so that it can stand the best chance of beating these odds.

You might be wondering at what point a startup becomes a more mature enterprise. Is it at the point when you’re no longer housing products in your parents’ garage? When you open a second office? When you expand into an additional country? Whichever it is, consider these ways to position your startup well for becoming an enterprise:

  • You can start forecasting revenue over the next fiscal period because you have more stability and data to work with.

  • When you’re at a secure financial point, you can hire a more extensive staff team, like added management layers.

  • You’re seeing regular and consistent growth over several months to years, so you can think about more established or larger offices.

Always plan ahead while learning from your experience to stand the best chance of success.

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