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Speed to Market: What Is It + Why Is It Important?

Table of Contents

To compete effectively abroad, global companies seeking business expansion must consider their speed to market. The speed by which you establish a presence in a new region can be game-changing for your success.

The following guide discusses speed to market, the benefits, and best practices for increasing your international speed to market for global expansion. 

What is speed to market?

In general, speed to market refers to the time it takes for a business to establish its presence through its products or services. Speed to market, or STM, is also synonymous with time to market. A company’s speed to market can determine the success of its product or service and whether it will be competitive in its industry or market.

The definition of speed to market varies depending on the company’s goals. For many companies, speed to market defines the entire development process of their product or service, including concept generation, product design and creation, and product launch.

However, this definition is slightly different for global companies seeking expansion. International speed to market refers to how long it takes a business to establish its presence in a new market.

Why is speed to market important?

Speed to market is considered an effective business strategy and a marker of success. Speed to market is essential for business development because it dictates how quickly you can start a new business, get your product to customers, or establish your presence in a new market.

Understanding how to implement tactics effectively for successful speed to market allows you to be faster than the competition, gain market advantages, and develop a reputation as an industry leader. Global companies that can get in-country quickly and efficiently with a solid team are well-positioned to compete abroad and gain new customers.


Learn how to increase your speed to market and compliantly enter new markets in our free guide:

Learn how to increase international speed to market with our free guide. Click to download.

Benefits of increasing speed to market

There are several benefits associated with speed to market that ultimately increase a company’s competitive advantage, customer base, and position as an industry leader. Let’s explore a few of these advantages related to international speed to market in more detail.

Competitive advantage

Entering a foreign market quickly and efficiently places your business in a better position to gain a competitive advantage. The faster you can enter a new market, the less likely you will face competition early on.

Many companies expand globally to test their product or services with a new consumer base. Your new customers may be experiencing your product for the first time, and being the first to introduce them to your offering allows you to capture market share and establish yourself as a leader in the industry.

Additionally, you can attract a large customer base and establish loyalty before your competitors when you enter a new market quickly. This tactic pays off in long-term gains when new companies enter the market, and you are already the preferred brand.

Positive business reputation

When your company quickly enters a new market, you have more time to partner with local experts, build brand awareness, and establish your reputation in the marketplace.

However, your company may lose credibility if you’re late to market entry. Decreased speed to market may cause your company to develop a reputation for being a follower rather than an industry leader.

Established market dominance

Learn from past examples of successful companies in emerging markets to gain insight into your strategic options and feasibility for establishing market dominance.

Visit your target country and assess the competitive landscape before committing to the market. Determine if there’s a need for your product or service and if you have tough competition that is already well established.

After a thorough assessment, you can make decisions based on your likelihood of success in the current competitive landscape.

Reduced costs and revenue generation

Streamlined speed to market can result in significant cost savings for your company and more revenue generation in the long run.

Efficient product development that doesn’t waste time and resources reduces overall costs. These savings can then go toward other expenses associated with entering a foreign market, including hiring and payroll.

Entering a market quickly also means faster revenue generation. The sooner you establish your presence in the market, the sooner you can bring in revenue and earn returns on your investment. 

Adaptability to market changes

Quick speed to market allows you to respond quickly to evolving consumer preferences, market trends, or competitive changes.

Flexible and agile companies are well-positioned to make decisions quickly and pivot according to current market conditions to attract and retain customers.

Innovation leadership

A company’s speed to market can help establish its reputation as an innovator and industry leader.

A fast speed to market increases your chances above the competition, improves your global fluency, and shows you are at the forefront of innovation. This established presence results in a more recognizable brand, which enhances your company's value and reputation.

Customer satisfaction

Entering a market quickly also helps build brand loyalty with customers. When venturing into a new market, conduct market research and learn what your customers want.

When you deliver quality services quickly that fit consumer demand and meet expectations, you increase your customer base and develop a strong association with your brand. Quick speed to market enhances the customer experience and increases your chances of growing a loyal following. 

Attracting investors and partnerships

An efficient speed to market attracts investors and potential business partnerships.

Demonstrating your ability to develop a well-thought-out plan, execute quickly, and successfully enter new markets is a strong case for potential investors and partners that can help you continue to grow and expand globally. 

What is a speed-to-market strategy?

A speed-to-market strategy is a business's approach to quickly bringing its products or services to market. Their strategy should aim to reduce the time it takes for their products or services to be developed, produced, and launched—giving them a competitive edge by being among the first to meet a particular customer need or market demand.

With an effective speed-to-market strategy in place, businesses have a better chance to capitalize on emerging opportunities, stay ahead of local and global competitors, scale quicker at lower cost, and better meet customer demands.

How to increase speed to market

Now that you understand the importance and benefits of increasing your international speed to market, let's discuss how to improve your speed to market and establish a legal presence in your target country—fast.


To increase global speed to market, use an agile global expansion solution to help you enter markets quickly and compliantly

1. Define a clear product vision and strategy

Establish a clear vision from the beginning and create a detailed speed-to-market strategy and roadmap for success. Understand the various factors of your target market by visiting the country and engaging with locals and talent whom your services may directly impact.

Following a defined plan will help you and your team make focused decisions, avoid risks and roadblocks, and achieve your goals.

2. Develop an MVP

Develop minimum viable products (MVPs) and release prototypes before your final product. Testing your concepts early in the development process allows you to gather feedback from potential investors and customers, troubleshoot potential issues, and make adjustments and improvements.

3. Utilize technology and automation

Use technology and automation tools that help with project management, collaboration, and testing. These tools are especially critical for international teams working across various time zones and schedules. Technology and automation tools can significantly streamline processes, workflows, and communication for increased productivity. 

4. Identify potential risks early on

Anticipate potential challenges you may face with the project and create mitigation strategies accordingly. Proactively addressing potential risks ensures a seamless and efficient development process and can help prevent issues later on.

5. Be adaptable

Embrace changes, identify areas for better efficiency, and be ready to make adjustments as needed. The speed-to-market process is full of changes and requires a collaborative team with the expertise and drive to make decisions quickly and pivot or modify plans as needed.

Read also: Adaptability in the Workplace: How to Navigate Changes at Work

6. Establish and monitor KPIs

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor your operational progress toward your goals and intended results. Regularly evaluating performance metrics helps you identify areas for improvement. 

7. Use an agile global expansion solution

When entering a new global market, use an agile global expansion solution such as an employer of record (EOR) as an alternative to establishing a foreign subsidiary.

Establishing an entity is costly and time-consuming, but an EOR allows companies to enter a desired international market quickly and easily without the need for entity establishment.

An EOR partner acts as your legal entity and handles employment responsibilities such as onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, risk mitigation, and ongoing HR support for your international workforce on your behalf.

Learn more: What Is an Employer of Record (EOR)?

Enter new markets with speed and compliance

As an industry-leading EOR, Velocity Global has helped over 1,000 companies quickly and compliantly enter new markets and hire global talent in more than 185 countries since 2014. Lean on us to rise above the complexities of global expansion.

Contact Velocity Global to learn how we can help you increase speed to market and achieve your global business goals.

Disclaimer: The intent of this document is solely to provide general and preliminary information for private use. Do not rely on it as an alternative to legal, financial, taxation, or accountancy advice from an appropriately qualified professional. © 2024 Velocity Global, LLC. All rights reserved.

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