This Is What An Entrepreneur Looks Like: Nicole Sahin, Globalization Partners
This series profiles female founders and their startups to highlight those women who are helping to change the face of entrepreneurship.
Q. What does your company do?
Globalization Partners is a global PEO which makes it fast and painless for companies to expand into 150+ countries without setting up branch offices and subsidiaries. Traditionally, companies hiring employees overseas had to set up a branch office or a subsidiary in each country prior to hiring their first local employee. This costs $50-$100k per country and usually takes 3–12 months in each country, but today’s companies don’t want to wait to expand globally. Our solution enables companies to hire employees via our global legal infrastructure rather than setting up their own branch offices and subsidiaries. This enables companies to expand into new countries with a few days’ to a few weeks’ notice, without red tape, and without the expense of setting up subsidiaries around the globe.
Q. What motivated you to start this company?
Right out of graduate school, I knew I was an entrepreneur at heart. I wanted to work with a start-up because I knew I would never fit in at a big corporation, but I had a lot to learn before I could build a scalable global business of my own. I got incredibly lucky and landed my dream job by jumping on board with a man and a dream. I was the 5th person on board at High Street Partners (HSP, now Radius). At HSP, we advised clients on international expansion by setting up subsidiaries around the globe, and managed payroll, HR, tax, and accounting issues for all of those subsidiaries. After 6 years, we had grown the company to 200 people, taken venture funding, and grown like wildfire. And I had learned a tremendous amount about helping companies go global. Yet, I was convinced that the world needed a new model to make international corporate expansion faster and easier than what we did at High Street Partners. I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and traveled to 24 countries while laying the foundation for this business model. Besides wanting to build a legal platform to make it painless and fast for companies to go global, I wanted to build a company that valued long-term relationships with clients and employees, as well as shareholders. I believe a business should be built with the well-being of all stakeholders in mind.
Q. Tell us about your team.
I often refer to my team as the GP Dream Team because I’ve carefully cultivated and brought on board the smartest people I’ve ever met, then let them loose to build beyond what I ever imagined. They’re awesome. A huge point of pride with us at GP is the integrity of our company culture. We recently ranked number 1 in the Ivy Exec “2017 Disruptive Women-Led Business to Work For” based on survey results from our team. I really loved this because I’ve always believed that we could build a great company culture while also building a high-growth scalable business.
Our philosophy is “work hard, play hard.” We have a few other mottos as well. My current favorite is “the obstacle is the path.” When we identify a difficult issue in delivering great service to our clients, we find a way to deliver. In that way, we know that we will always stay ahead of the competitive curve in building an excellent business.
Q. What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned along the way?
Cultivating great relationships with people — whether your employees, business partners or clients — are what will ultimately help you to be successful as an entrepreneur. Managing people is the hardest part of the job, but it is also ultimately the most rewarding.
Q. What additional resources would make life easier for you and your business?
I’d like a cloning machine.
*The co-founder of SheStarts, Nancy Cremins, works for Globalization Partners