In the past, Excel4Business has provided expert Excel support to users across the world. As a predominantly online service, it has not had to worry about global boundaries, with clients in countries like China and Israel. However, it has had one huge constraint; it could only provide spreadsheet solutions to English speaking clients. Founder, Ed Bolton, explains:
“At heart, we are a premium service trying to provide cost effective Excel help. The only way we can compete on price is by being better and faster than our competitors. We can only meet our clients’ expectations by interpreting the subtleties of what they say. That requires a common language”.
Therefore the service has been strongly polarised to the North American and British markets. The Excel4Business.com site is a shared marketing resource for companies registered in both the US and UK. In order to grow further, Excel4Business needs to seek out new markets. Why French?
“The main reason for choosing French is that a significant proportion of our revenues already come from Canada, and we are very strong in that market. As French is the first language in the Quebec region of Canada, we can leverage our existing marketing to quickly draw in new clients. Then there’s the small matter of France itself. It may not be as big a market as Germany or Japan but it’s still pretty significant”
One of defining features of Excel4Business is that its Excel consultants can help each other to help their clients. There will be certain challenges for French consultants hoping to work with their English speaking counterparts.
“In continental Europe, a comma is used to mark a decimal point and a period marks a thousand. That’s the exact reverse of the American standard and can create problems when working on more sophisticated number formats. So if a French consultant were to send me one of their spreadsheets, I might see something very different to what they’re seeing. That’s a reason why we’re initially looking to expand into markets that use Latin/Arabic script”.
Although the above has been a consideration, the Excel consultancy intends to meet these challenges using techniques such as screen sharing, just as they would with other global clients.
Creating a French language service requires two things; French marketing and fluent, bilingual consultants. A trimmed down version of the site has been working its way up the search rankings for a couple of months. If you enter “assistance Excel” into French Google, you will see Excel4Business on the front page and be informed that “Excel4Business est un groupe de conseillers Excel qui travaillent à travers toute le France et le Québec”.
If you are interested in French language Excel consulting, you can find out more at http://www.excel4business.com/