Your SMB Doesn't Need to be Big to be International

Friday, December 28, 2012
Posted by Kyle Thompson

A Testimonial About an SMB Working as a Distributed Company 

by Richard Osinga

My company, Triposo, in an intelligent mobile travel guide and we work internationally, even as an SMB. Just 12 people. So, even though we are small, we are also in 5 different countries. When we started out, Douwe and Jon were in Australia, while Vincent and I were based in Europe. Because we felt we had an amazing plan for a business, we didn’t want to let geography stop us, so we started working as a distributed company. We read about other successful distributed companies, like 37signals and Automattic, and we knew it was the right path for us.

From day one, we loved it. It gave us freedom, flexibility as well as efficiency - and when we started hiring people we found out they loved it too. Here are four reasons why we think being a distributed company can be right for many small businesses:

1. We believe that because we work distributed, our communication is much better as it happens all out in the open. We don’t chat at the coffee machine, instead, we use hipchat so everybody can read along if they want, which in all honesty is much better.

2. Another major advantage is that it’s a great benefit when you want to attract talent. When we posted jobs on the job boards Stackoverflow and Dribble, we got an amazing response. For many people, being able to work from anywhere is the biggest perk you can offer. Our ad was one of the best performing ads in Europe - and we managed to hire a great bunch of people: smart and adventurous people, who love travel and who’ve got exactly the right attitude.

3. It’s fun. We were afraid we would miss the social interaction that is a big part of your work day. We don’t, really. We have a headquarters in Berlin now, where we sometimes work together. It has desks, but there are also sleeping cabins, a shower and a kitchen. It’s so much more than an office. It’s fun. We also do our Jamborees every few months during which we go to an exciting place with our whole team for two weeks. We bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm, get excited about new plans, and have drinks together.

4. Being a distributed company is cost efficient. As a small business, we don’t need to waste our budget on a large office space. And in this day and age, the most amazing tools for online collaboration are available free or almost free of charge.

With all this in mind, you don’t have to be big anymore, to be an international company.