The translation agency Diction, founded by former CBS student Martin Boberg, has managed to have a continuous yearly growth rate of 112% since 2013. Now, with more than 1000 business customers, Diction is penetrating the Swedish and Norwegian markets with the aim of becoming one of the most dominating language suppliers in Scandinavia.
What started as a side business for the young entrepreneur Martin Boberg has today turned into a successful translation agency that is innovating the industry with transparent solutions, competitive prices and a customer service beyond industry standards. Diction’s translation service has been so popular that they have seen an increase in revenues from DKK 430,000 in 2013 to DKK 4.1 million in 2016 and they have promising forecasts for the future.
Participating in the Go Grow programme was a game changer
Diction took part in the accelerator programme Go Grow in 2014, and the programme provided Diction with some essential tools to make their company scalable. The Go Grow programme helped Diction get ready for growth both on a national level and in an international context. Founder and CEO, Martin Boberg explains: “Before participating in the Go Grow programme, we were focused on short-term goals and did not prioritise automating our workflows and making our business ready for growth in new markets. After participating in the first couple of workshops and working together with mentors, we realised that our business had much more potential that we had ever thought ourselves. Even though it required investments and changes in our strategy, we managed to acquire the newest cloud-based technology on the market and launch a client portal that would automate our workflows. This has proven to be a key element for our business, and today we see these efforts paying off since we can easily enter new markets with only minimal internal adjustments. This makes Diction’s potential for growth huge.” During his participation in the Go Grow programme, the founder Martin Boberg realised that this would be his full-time occupation as soon as he graduated in 2016. Today, Diction has a total of 7 employees at their offices in Copenhagen and Uppsala and, in addition to this, they work with approximately 10 external translators on a full-time basis.
International growth – Entering into Norway and opening an office in Sweden
With participation in the Go Grow programme, Diction began their first marketing initiatives which mainly consisted of online marketing activities such as online advertisement. The first initiatives only resulted in limited sales, which were a big disappointment for Diction and their team. Even though the sales did not accelerate from the beginning, the effort provided insights into the Norwegian and Swedish markets that later on showed to be important information that was needed in order to succeed in these two new markets.
After evaluating their first attempt on entering these markets, Diction tried once again with a new strategy. A part of the strategy was to adjust prices for the Swedish and Norwegian markets, and this time, Diction had expanded their team with two Norwegian employees and a Swedish employee. The sales increased, and the first significant entrance into both Norway and Sweden had become a reality. As a result of the successful entrance into Norway and Sweden, Diction is now opening their first office abroad which is located in Uppsala, Sweden. The Norwegian market is managed by Norwegian employees from Diction’s office in Copenhagen.
Martin Boberg has the following advice for other start-up companies: “Be sure that your company is ready to enter new markets, ask yourself if you have all the necessary knowledge about the market and also the capabilities, both in terms of financial and human resources. If you don’t have these basics ready, it can quickly become an expensive adventure with the risk of financial losses and it could also damage your brand, especially if you are operating in a niche industry.”
Digitalization enables start-ups to go international earlier than ever before
According to Martin Boberg, Diction is experiencing that an increasing number of companies are going abroad and therefore also need help with foreign languages. This not only leads to increased sales for Diction, but it also tells us that speaking the local language in new markets can be a decisive factor for success or failure in those new markets. In addition to this, Martin Boberg points out that they are seeing an increased amount of online-based companies wanting to enter foreign markets in earlier stages than ever before. The reason for this, he says, is that the companies are realising the enormous potential in industries that are now getting digitalized. “We see all kind of e-commerce companies wanting to expand abroad and try out new markets. These companies deal with everything from appliances, textiles and electronics to more traditional business services, such as IT development, accounting and other services. Right now, it is all about finding niche markets for start-ups and to penetrate the markets before others do and then start looking abroad to get an impression of the total potential.