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New Markets – How to avoid the tears

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7:20am 4th August 2015
(Updated 3:06pm 4th August 2015)

Words by David Smallman - www.smallmanonbusiness.com

New Markets – How to avoid the tears...

...Setting aside the resources in any organization to work on developing new markets is always difficult.  Who has the time, or indeed the energy, to think about future growth when you are dealing daily with the problems of running the business?

Yet you will be aware that there is business to be had in markets other than the ones you are already operating in.

But you will also know that time and cash too are issues because developing new markets always seems to take twice as long and cost twice as much as you expected; or indeed budgeted for!

So how do you support new growth, without breaking the bank, in a different market whilst concentrating on your current sectors?

In almost any region, the list of Government sponsored entities that are offering to help organizations is mind numbing and only surpassed by the list of private firms suggesting they can help for a fee.

Nonetheless, it is still more cost effective to utilize some of the services on offer from professionals in both the public and private sectors than try and do all of the work yourself.

However, you can easily do the first few steps yourself. If you believe market X is your target market then start with some simple internet surfing; gathering information on the area, its culture and its governance. If the market is within the Europe, most Countries or regions now have wide-ranging on-line facilities from which you can glean useful information. If looking further afield in the World a useful tool is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website which gives basic country profiles covering the geography and recent history, current politics and economic trends, and the country's commercial and political relations with the UK. Local or National Government websites are useful in getting an understanding how an area or Country projects itself.

If you are still interested and it’s overseas, put a call into the Commercial Attaché at the British Embassy to get a firsthand account of doing business in the country.

computer growthAt this point many would suggest that you contact your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) or UKT&I. However, before you do that go through your own business network and contacts and talk to anybody who has had experience in the area, people always respond to being asked their advice. But just remember that as one swallow doesn’t make a summer nor does one very positive or one very negative comment make or destroy a market.

Now you need to decide what you want to achieve and where and how much money you can afford to spend.

Still interested? Then it’s time to bring in the “experts”. Again using your own database of contacts ask who others have used and look for strong recommendations always remembering that you need a) solid information on market and business structure and then b) help on establishing either your own base in the market or an arrangement with somebody already there.

The first is probably best sourced from the private sector and the second from both public organisations at home and those in your target market. For the first of these it’s vitally important to look to a firm or individual who can demonstrate success in helping companies to break into your chosen market. Ask yourself the obvious questions do they have case studies, references and a local office or associates. In the case of the second; having consulted with your local and national bodies contact the public organizations in the target market, such as the Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Agency, who will have contacts with local business along with those for banks, lawyers and accountants.

Finally, if at any stage you are doubtful about the market, the people, or the potential partners stop and look else where. The World is a big place and out there is the perfect market for your company; don’t accept something that’s second best just to be in a new market – it will end in tears.

david smallman

David Smallman has over 48 years of experience, gained living, working and doing business in 58 countries. He is writer on business matters including a smallman logoregular column “150 words that should make sense in your business” available in print in the USA and online.

He is broadcaster who has contributed to The Business Hub here on Pirate 2 DAB; helping listeners to “making sense of business".



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