In the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, businesses and foreign workers alike are wondering: Are we still welcome to the UK? While there’s certainly much uncertainty swirling around the topic, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK invited guests to hear from a lineup of well-informed speakers on the topic earlier this week. Trustly’s Marketing Vice President Stefan Backlund was among the speakers and told the story of why Trustly decided to open an office in London … just days before the referendum.
David Cairns, the British Ambassador to Sweden, kicked off the discussion, emphasizing that “if you choose to grow in the UK, you will have a varmt välkommen.” In contrast, the journalists and lawyers who followed were rather pessimistic about what Brexit might mean for the European trade and free movement of labor.
Backlund presented a much rosier perspective. Trustly currently has six employees based in London, he said, but space is getting tight and the company is readying to move to a larger space in the up-and-coming tech hub of Clerkenwell. In the coming year, Trustly will add another 20 or so teammates.
So why did Trustly decide to open an office in the UK despite much uncertainty? Three main factors, explained Backlund:
1. London is the financial capital of the world.
Looking at factors like business environment, financial sector development, infrastructure, human capital and reputation, London is ranked at the top.
2. The UK is the largest exporter of e-commerce to the rest of Europe.
In fact, the UK is the biggest foreign market for Nordic e-commerce. UK businesses that offer Nordic banks through Trustly can increase trust in their brands and boost their bottom lines.
3. London is a global communications platform.
All major global media outlets have representation in the UK and this will support PR strategies, SEO strategies and employer branding strategies. The UK is the transatlantic link to perform even better in these three areas overseas.
For Backlund and the rest of the Trustly team, London was a natural next step. And so far, it’s treating the company very well.
Is your business also considering a move to London? Here are three pieces of advice Backlund gave companies entering the UK market:
1. Market intelligence - Get your eyes and ears on the ground
Moving into a new market, you probably carry many preconceptions about consumer behavior or might even project your own views based on your cultural experiences. To avoid that, hire local expertise to get eyes and ears on the ground. It will be invaluable to all your go-to-market strategies.
2. Communication - Learn how to speak the lingo
Even though London is a global hub, work hard to get the UK angle right. You will need to prove your potential value to all journalists stakeholders in a very competitive market. Hire a communications agency that can help you tailor your messages. With a lot of patience and perseverance, you might be able to attract the interest of British press.
3. Network - Build and nurture it
With few friends to begin with, you need to build a network. Ask your existing friends to introduce you to new contacts. For Trustly, organizations like the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Business Sweden and London Tech Advocates have been tremendously helpful in introducing us to new networks.
Stay tuned for the big reveal of our new office in Clerkenwell!