UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center

5 Tips to Grow Global from Doodlekit, International Small Business of the Year

scaleup-Ben-Kittrell-doodlekitCongratulations to Ben Kittrell, co-founder of Doodlekit which was named the 2016 International Small Business of the Year at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Small Business Celebration. Doodlekit is a free website builder that allows small businesses and everyday people to make websites online without knowing how to code.

Ben is an alum of ScaleUP! KC , a program that immerses 12 to 15 entrepreneurs in courses and collisions that connect them with a high caliber network of peers, resources and mentors and changes the trajectory of their businesses (Apply now!)

Ben sat down with folks at the World Trade Center of Kansas City and offered up five tips to international success (here’s the original blog post from their site). If your business is looking for novel ways to grow, consider looking outside of the United States for new customers:

Think international from the start

In the world of tech, the industry evolves quickly and the newest innovations can quickly be yesterday’s ideas. That’s why it’s important to consider international opportunities from the start. Diversification of customers helps protect your product and ensure forward thinking business practices.

Differentiate yourself through unique perspective

Creating competitive advantage is all about what you do differently. At Doodlekit, a key difference from competitors is their intentional international focus. By making business decisions through a global lens, Doodlekit thinks outside the box and remains at the forefront of the website design industry.

Deliver real value

A key to Doodlekit’s success has been the simplicity of their product. By selling a service that is largely DIY, Doodlekit removes cultural and language barriers and allows the customers to help themselves. Dealing with physical goods brings more regulation and bureaucracy; Doodlekit has remained a lean and nimble organization by focusing on what they do best: providing an easy to use website kit for the customer.

Legal advice is a necessity

With risk comes reward. To hedge against risk in the international marketplace, Doodlekit highly recommends seeking legal advice for those venturing overseas for the first time. International business can be intimidating, and legal advice can help to ease your concerns and allow you to focus on your product.

Understand your market

Doodlekit understood that their international audience didn’t have the same needs as their domestic customers. To maximize the value of their product Doodlekit scaled down the customization features of their website package and enhanced the easy-to-use features. Through the use of “iconography” and reducing language in instruction Doodlekit has been able to seamlessly transfer their U.S. designed product to customers in 189 countries worldwide.

For more great advice on how to take your business worldwide, shoot us a little info on our contact us page and we’ll get back in touch with steps you can take right now (& it’s free!)

And be sure to check out our friends over at the World Trade Center Kansas City.  They offer a variety of workshops, seminars, networking events, and internships. They also support international business education and training needs of the region. The WTC conducts research to identify markets and partners. Their tools can help you identify new markets, potential distributors and partners to facilitate business growth. Sign up for their newsletter, here.

How can we help you?

Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Kansas City every day.

Connect with us!

Get insights, inspiration and events to help you start, grow and accelerate KC businesses.