Growing a business beyond borders


In May 2024, Payoneer hosted the regional Payoneer VIP Connect Manila event. This brought together experts and influencers to share insights and action-oriented strategies for SMBs to overcome obstacles and seize global growth opportunities.

Attendees– founders, C-suite executives, and industry experts – were drawn from SMBs across different industries and regions, liked by their aims to expand their businesses across borders.

In the first of the two panels at the event, business leaders from the Philippines’ Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, discuss the challenges in their cross-border industry, and how referrals, attracting and retaining talent, as well as seamless payment experiences are integral to growth and sustainability.

Key insights include:

Expanding business abroad

  • Understand the value of existing customer referrals. Small businesses face the challenge of having to prove themselves against larger established companies. Marge Aviso, CEO and Founder, Telework PH, highlighted the power of referrals from existing customers that comes from building strong relationships with the basics of trust, communication and reliability.
  • Have a strong digital footprint. As Che Tenorio, Head of Partnerships – Source Partner, Outsource Accelerator, explains, many clients journeys start online, looking for where are the best places to meet their needs. Having strong branding, for example on social media, becomes ever more essential.
  • Don’t neglect offline networking. Oliver Lewis, Founder & CEO, TalentHero, highlighted how digital marketing, SEO and LinkedIn are powerful ways to be seen by potential clients. But in-person events also create opportunities for informal relationship building that can benefit your business, through socialising after the formal programmes.

Attracting and retaining the right talent for the job

  • Brand for employees as well. Word of mouth referrals are not just to attract clients, but also potential talent. Strategies for this includecreating a sense of belongingness and employee engagement through treating people right. This in turn leads to a good reputation not just among existing employees, but their peers.
  • Establish a vision for the community. Marge Aviso highlights that in today’s workforce, companies must go beyond just providing means for survival or a straightforward compensation package. Creating a vision and ensuring employees are a part of it is key to employee engagement.
  • Don’t shy from fresh grads. While experience is always welcome, it can come at a cost. Oliver Lewis shared how fresh graduates can be trained, and within three to six months assessed for their suitability, thus avoiding the higher cost and fixed habits of more experienced potential hires.
  • Have strong leadership and a generational plan. For founders and CEOs of small companies, the time may come when business scales to a point where the demands of the role are too difficult to handle, or handle alone. Marge Aviso shared that it was important to understand where the limit was. Besides engaging with mentors and consultants, it is also important to have a generational plan for the rest of the team, and to keep diversity in the company.
  • Train employees in both skills and leadership. Upskilling employees is key for addressing the talent gap between clients’ demands and what your company can supply. Leadership training ensures long term sustainability by contributing to the next generation of company leadership.

Dealing with the complexities of cross-border payments

  • Optimise payment processes. Global businesses face additional risks as the potential for unexpected delays increases. Optimising payment processes with trusted partners can help stabilise cashflow, allowing global operations to operate more efficiently.
  • Build trust with your clients over payment. Che Tenorio highlights the need for a seamless, inclusive experience for clients, especially those unfamiliar with global sectors like outsourcing. “When you are working with SMEs and SMEs who are fairly new to outsourcing. If it’s the first time that they are transacting with Philippine outsourcing company, it’s even more difficult because you’ve got to earn their trust,” he says. “You have to make sure that you have the right infrastructure in place and making payments seamless for them would give them that much needed peace of mind.”
  • Ensure staff can meet security demands. Marge Aviso highlighted that security is not only about technology but in the skills of employees, such as detecting fraud, scammers, and illegitimate transactions. “So there has to be that certain level of training and certification as well for cybersecurity and compliance in place because that’s, I think, a must for companies right now. That’s one of the things that our clients are trusting us for the kind of security that we have in our data into their customer data”
  • Ensure that customer relations is available. As businesses operate across time zones, building capabilities to provide virtual or in-person customer relations management 24/7 becomes a necessity.