If your expansion in emerging markets isn’t working out, the problem isn’t the location. It’s your strategy.
Investors all over the world have been pouring money into new foreign markets. In 2012, they allotted an astounding $50 billion for mutual funds being channeled into developing countries. But aside from delving into stocks, many entrepreneurs are physically flocking to these promising locations to set up shop there and market to new consumer groups.
China topped Bloomberg’s list of the most dynamic emerging frontiers in the world, but many nations from other continents—mostly in Asia, Latin America, and a few from Africa—were also included. They were rated according to ease of doing business, track record on corruption, and economic freedom.
Bringing your business to these locations can be daunting, and the move would require you to face complex obstacles such as unreliable technologies, poor connectivity, and insufficient resources. But on the bright side, wide talent pools and consumers with high purchasing power are both there. The trick is to maximize these advantages by ensuring that your business model reflects the market’s unique features.
1. Information is key.
As you devise new business strategies for emerging markets, you can’t rely solely on your own knowledge and expect to see great results. But the good news is, almost all the information you need can be found online, and these aren’t just your average, everyday business tips. The most intelligent thought leaders in this age are out there writing books, blogging, and appearing in interviews, and their ideas can help you form a stronger brand. It only takes a few web clicks but a lot of intense focus to learn about the international market and the tactics that will help you capture specific customer sectors.
2. Don’t rely on your idea alone.
When entrepreneurs—especially the young ones—start their business, they mistakenly believe that their unique ideas are what would bring them to success. This belief, however, isn’t always true. While your ideas can indeed give you a powerful selling point, However, it’s more important to support your innovation with the right resources: a talented workforce, robust technologies, and flexible business strategies. After all, in a saturated marketplace, chances are somebody else could be working on a business premise similar to yours. So what you really need is to build a framework that would let you turn your concepts into tangible and valuable products.
3. Get over your cultural biases.
Clinging onto your biases can be detrimental for your business growth, especially as you’re expanding to emerging markets. Each sector has their own cultural traits that influence the way they look at new brands or make purchasing decisions. Companies must therefore be culturally competent. For them, this would entail creating marketing and customer service techniques that reflect the preferences of their target audience.
4. Understand all your company’s data.
All companies, regardless of size and industry, deal with vast amounts of data. They come in different forms: documents, market reports, finances, human resource concerns, and others. To truly understand these, you must pin down even the smallest details and look at how they affect your larger operations. Once you understand how every piece of data fits into your business strategy, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that would yield the best possible results.
5. Connect with people and organizations.
Possibly one of the most difficult parts of capturing the international market is establishing new ties with people and organizations. It’s something that doesn’t happen naturally, so you need to actively work on building clout in new regions. This means participating in industry events, getting in touch with investors, and creating an employer branding that will attract highly skilled professionals. All these would give you access to great business ideas, a wide talent pool, and potential business partners.
6. Partner with a multilingual provider.
Nowadays, many outsourcing companies are starting to provide customer service and back office services in multiple languages. Partnering with these firms will therefore help you penetrate emerging markets with diverse cultural traits. Plus, it’s a fast and easy solution to arm your brand with plenty of capabilities, resources, and great employees. You’ll find that partnering with a multilingual call center can help you with all aspects of your expansion, including marketing, business development, and customer relations.