This is the first part of a story about why and how Buutti, originally a Finnish IT consulting company, decided to go international. If you are a business owner/CXO who is thinking about expanding abroad now or soon, this text might be interesting to you.
Why abroad and why Sweden?
We have now launched our software consultancy business in Sweden, where we operate under Buutti Consulting Ab.
Long story short: Our dear western neighbour has always done things better than us, so why not go there to see how things should be done? Just kidding, we also had a couple of other reasons to go there. I will tell you about them shortly.
During the past couple of years, Buutti has grown from a small education and tech-enthusiastic company to one of Finland’s leading IT consultancy & education companies employing +100 full-time IT professionals. So far, we have operated in Oulu, Tampere and Helsinki.
Currently, we are working together with many of the Finland’s greatest companies. Our goal is to provide them with the best possible tech skills and know-how to create market-winning and sustainable software solutions. In addition, we have brought hundreds of developers to the market by arranging software development courses all over Finland.
Whilst creating and developing a business in Finland and expanding inside Finland has been an awesome journey, it has been on the road map for years that at some point we will aim outside the Finnish borders. While to some, this might seem like a natural step for a growing tech company, more often than not this ambition seems to raise some questions as well.
I have been faced more times than I can count with the following questions when talking about expansion abroad:
- We have a good thing going on here, why should we go abroad now?
- Would it not risk the business in Finland?
- Should we not focus more on Finland, why go to other countries?
- Are we really ready to start operations abroad?
These are good questions and valid risks that must be considered when planning the expansion. Here are the reasons why we are expanding abroad:
- Going abroad widens your view on how to develop your business. The best ideas and methods are often not always created or in use in your home market.
- We have a solid concept in Finland, so why not take it abroad to a bigger market with bigger business potential?
- Finland is quite a small market which can be heavily affected by market turbulence, so staying in Finland means accepting that risk wholly. Finland is also greatly focused on companies that create software for other companies (B2B), meanwhile e.g. in Sweden there are many internationally successful B2C companies. This brings variety to our customer projects, which is greatly appreciated by our developers.
- We are never going to be “ready” to go abroad. There is no such thing as “a completely ready business to go abroad”. Once your finance can endure it, and you have a good market entry plan, it only needs executing. If it fails, you come back and try it again with a twist or perhaps somewhere else.
These are the reasons why we chose to go abroad. After making the decision that expanding is a good thing, we needed to decide where to expand.
So why Sweden?
The most important reason we chose to go to Sweden was that we already had customers there. In addition, it was seen to be a well-developed market where we could also learn something new. We have now been working with Swedish customers for a couple of years, although all our devs have been in Finland. It was easier to start building a business in a country where we had some customer base to begin with compared to e.g. Germany or USA, where we should have started from completely zero.
In addition to having already customers there, Sweden was seen to be a large and lucrative market with lots of room to grow and full of extremely interesting people and companies. Also, the fact that it is quite easy to travel between Finland and Sweden and we have Swedish-speaking staff in the company was a plus.
In the next part, I will explain how we entered the market, what we did before establishing a subsidiary and what kind of process that was.
Ps. If you are a talented developer or experienced business professional in Sweden, we are recruiting. We are looking for people with an entrepreneurship mindset interested in joining our journey of building one of the greatest IT companies in the Nordics. Read more about us at buutticonsulting.se.