South Africa is ripe with entrepreneurs and it is the dream of many to expand their businesses overseas. Earning foreign currency through exporting or importing products is certainly attractive. The prospect of being a ‘global player’ brings a feeling of security, as if ever something happens to South Africa, you have other options already in place.
You don’t have to be a giant in South Africa before you look at overseas markets. As a small or medium company, there are opportunities abound for doing business overseas.
What is your advantage?
Knowing what makes you and your company special is the first step to doing research on markets overseas. The internet has made things so easy to find suppliers, research outlets and do competitor and market research.
Is there a need for your business?
Whether you are exporting or looking to gain a presence overseas, what works here may not work overseas. And Imported products can be less popular than the established local alternatives.
What is the consumer culture in the new country?
Every nation has its own quirks that make their culture unique. For example, South Africans like to shop at malls, but the French like to shop at markets. The same word can mean different things so make sure your market material and value proposition are in line with the new country.
Know how to reach your market
Some countries are happy with internet marketing and online buying and have well-established platforms you can make use of. Other countries prefer the human factor and will only do business face to face.
Get a trusty local
Having a local contact or partner working for you in the new country is a good idea as you can leverage on their local knowledge and connections.
Know the local law
Be aware of the necessary laws that will affect your company doing business in another country.