Exploring a market for the purpose of business penetration is a little different to a touristic trip to a country. It’s important to get to know your potential clientèle via in depth market research and detailed analysis or country data. This can lead to the unique positioning for your product or service to get noticed and thrive in an untapped environment.
In the startup phase of any business plan, an industry perspective is important complete with competitor information. Is there a ready demand for your product or service or will your target audience be required to be educated? Is there an unorganised market that exists in your sector or are there established players competing for a slice of the pie? What is the right way to market your product effectively to the target client base of your choice?
Here's how to orient yourself in a fresh market in a way that can satisfy all these queries and facilitate your smooth entry into it:
Spend time getting to know the local people
Formal dipstick methods of questionnaires or sample/focus groups are effective but sometimes, difficult to organise and expensive. We suggest a more direct, informal approach that enables you to interact with your audiences in a controlled but relaxed environment. This will ensure accuracy, direct feedback and time saved. Meet with a group of 5 to 10 clients over a meal where you can begin to develop a bond while you bounce off your business ideas with them. You can even arrange Telephone or Skype interviews with some industry stalwarts for first hand insights into the local market. Apart from this, it is recommended that you go out onto the streets to get a real feel of the culture of the land. Witness how people live, work and socialise.
Contact the local trade associations
Trade bodies are vital constituents in the process of getting to know a new industry in a foreign location. Most trade associations are well updated and can offer a lot of information to assist your business. This information will give you insight into industry trends, need gap opportunities, costs of production and operations and more. Subscribe to industry newsletters, magazines, e-mailers, and alerts. Also find out if there are any trade events taking place in the country and plan your visit around that time. Likewise, you can even get important data from the local Chamber of Commerce on the prevalent business scenario.
Interact with other international businessmen
The best way to understand a market and how to enter it is to speak to people who have experienced it. Network with officials from international companies to know the challenges and tricks of the trade. Some may not be willing to share everything with you but there will always be some helpful experts who won’t mind sharing their wisdom.
Find the right introducer
It would be helpful to engage the services of a local expert who can show you where to find the data that you're looking for. Intermediaries are also important when initiating negotiation with foreign businessmen. Most cultures of the world prefer to work with those whom they've met via a known party. Identifying the right contact is half the job done in your orientation process.
The other half can be undertaken with a professional market research company once you have tested the market for yourself.