Marcus Luer – Do Not Go Global Before You Test Your Product Locally
Marcus Luer is Asia’s #1 Sports Marketing Entrepreneur and the Group CEO of Total Sports Asia (TSA), Asia’s global sports marketing agency, which he founded 23 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Marcus is a sought-after industry expert and speaker and has been featured on CNBC, BBC News, Bloomberg Asia, regularly presents at major global sports conferences, and has contributed to many international newspapers and industry magazine articles. He recently launched his Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast series featuring top sports executives and entrepreneurs from around the world.
“Pivoting is important, but I think you also got to be careful not to distract yourself too much.”
Worst investment ever
Inspired by Netflix, Marcus started his own over the top platform SportsFix. SportsFix is a live sports streaming platform. He felt very confident about this platform because he knew the sports industry in and out. Given his over 20 years of experience, he knew where to buy content and what the audience was looking for.
Launching the platform with confidence
Marcus put a team together, put in some of his money into the platform, and even brought external investors. He launched the platform in 2018, believing it would be a gamechanger. SpotsFix was at first available in Malaysia, and then after about eight months, it launched in Indonesia.
Why this very good idea never succeeded
While SportsFix was and remains a good idea, Marcus and his team made a couple of mistakes that crippled the idea.
Marcus and his team did not understand the consumption habits in Asia. He assumed the Asian market would consume online content the same way people in the West do. But there is a vast difference. People in Asia were not ready to sign up and pay for content, given that there is a lot of free content available.
Another thing that Marcus overlooked was piracy. He did not realize there was a massive amount of piracy out there, which the team could not stop.
Trying to pivot
After learning that he had overlooked several vital factors, Marcus tried to change the business model. At one point, he changed the model from a subscription model to an ad-driven model. The constant pivoting saw Marcus get distracted from the original SpotFix idea.
In trying to make the business idea work, Marcus ran out of money before he could get the confidence of his investors.
Keep your eye on the ball, and do not get distracted
Building a business is not easy, and you may want to keep pivoting as you find your ground. However, be careful not to get distracted from your primary goal as you pivot.
Find success in your local market before you go global
Do not be too aggressive in your growth strategy. Begin by winning your local market so that you have a strong foundation to expand globally. If your home market is weak and you try to go global right away, you will have a hard time cracking the global market.
Should you pivot or shut down your idea?
As a business owner, always evaluate your business idea critically before you decide to pivot. Sometimes a business idea could be a bad idea. When an idea is bad, it does not matter how many times you pivot it; it will not work. You are better off shutting it down to avoid wasting your time and money.
Allocate your business resources wisely
Limited resources are one of the biggest challenges many new entrepreneurs face. Your ultimate success or failure is dependent on how you allocate those resources. So be careful how you do it.
Test your product within your local market first
Test your product with a small market, see how it feels about it, make necessary adjustments, and then scale to a bigger market.
Do not get so caught up emotionally in your business. You have to learn to let go, especially when you realize that it is not working anymore.
No. 1 goal for the next 12 months
Marcus’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to take his experience in sports into the world of Esports and gaming. Marcus also has a goal to find the next billion in revenue in the next 10 years.
“It is always good to reflect on what happened in a different way.”