is developing an on-demand workforce the key to international growth?
Overcoming barriers to international growth
Universal Avenue, a platform that accelerates companies’ growth by connecting them with an on-demand workforce of trained, locally-based freelance Brand Ambassadors across the world, has recently launched in the UK.
Universal Avenue enables businesses to expand in any market by giving them access to a team of trained freelance workers who know the target region, its culture and its language inside out, and who work on a commission-only basis.
According to a recent Conversis Survey of UK companies, a quarter of those operating internationally or planning to do so have lost business because employees do not have sufficient foreign language skills, and a third of companies admitted to difficulties in filling vacancies due to a lack of language skills amongst candidates.
By tapping into Universal Avenue’s on-demand workforce, companies can overcome these problems and expand without incurring set-up costs by utilising the skills of workers already based in those areas.
Connecting companies to target markets
Universal Avenue was set up in 2014, when its founders saw that a huge number of growing businesses are eager to expand internationally and into new regions within their own country to drum up new business and to assess whether growth into those areas is viable without setting up new offices or sending employees on business trips.
It is not only extremely expensive and time-consuming for a business to build and train its own workforce to send out to new regions, but (as the Conversis survey highlights) companies often do not have employees on hand who know the region and the language sufficiently well to achieve the best possible results.
How it works
Universal Avenue handles the recruitment of Brand Ambassadors. It trains candidates on product information and sales techniques, saving companies time, effort and expenditure getting their own employees up to speed.
A company will approach Universal Avenue and describe precisely what service it requires, the types of target businesses and areas it wishes to connect with, and will then be connected with Brand Ambassadors who want to work with that company.
Brand Ambassadors undergo an interactive app-based training, and are then certified to work for the different brands Universal Avenue represents. Once this process is complete, Brand Ambassadors are ready to work on a commission-per-sale basis (while benefiting from ongoing support from Universal Avenue), choosing how much they want to work, anywhere in the world.
Brand Ambassadors can generate their own leads, as well as selecting them through the Universal Avenue app, and take a percentage of a sale once it is closed.
The Universal Avenue platform, which can be used through an app or on its website, also handles the sales process, ensuring that companies only pay for verified customers.
Benefits for companies
The benefits of having access to an on-demand mobile salesforce are vast, with Brand Ambassadors being in the unique position to pitch products face-to-face to local business owners, key decision makers and hard-to-reach SME businesses, regardless of their location.
Benefits for Brand Ambassadors
Universal Avenue’s Brand Ambassadors can choose when, where and how they work, grow professionally and personally, and become part of a community of Brand Ambassadors, who connect all over the world.
Divido – UK start-up using Universal Avenue to expand
Divido (www.divido.com) the London-based startup which helps customers spread the cost of any purchase, while the merchant still receives full, immediate payment, currently uses Universal Avenue to expand successfully across the UK.
Divido uses Universal Avenue and its on-demand freelance Brand Ambassadors to pitch and sell their product, face-to-face, to retail outlets across the UK. The success of Universal Avenue’s Brand Ambassadors, who helped drive strong sales, proved to Divido that their service was marketable, and it was this confidence that resulted in the company investing in its own in-house salesforce to complement Universal Avenue’s Brand Ambassadors. Universal Avenue’s Brand Ambassadors continue to play a vital role in trialling sales and helping Divido expand its operations.
The future is bright for Universal Avenue, which is growing quickly and recently raised an additional $5m in funding to fuel further expansion.
Johan Lilja, Universal Avenue CEO and co-founder, comments:
“There has been a significant rise in the number of products and solutions available for small and medium sized businesses, but for business owners it’s often difficult to know exactly what is out there. The brands we represent benefit from having access to an on-demand workforce of trained freelancers who can introduce their product, in-person, in front of key decision makers. At the same time, our Brand Ambassadors can enjoy a flexible approach to work, travelling the world while growing professionally and personally.”