For any enterprise to succeed, it’s vital that every penny that goes into a venture is accounted for, all plans that are formulated are implemented and, above all, an ideal partner is chosen for business expansion.
All these factors become all the more important when a business, especially a start-up, forays into uncharted waters of foreign lands and attempts to expand its commercial footprint and create a niche for itself. Whether the endeavour is successful or falls flat largely depends on how well and quickly the new market is understood and exploited optimally.
In today’s highly competitive economic environment, claiming a share of market pie, especially when it is new and unknown, can be a daunting task for any business. Right from the first step of registration to fulfilling official obligations, to marketing and networking, to understanding cultural differences and reaching out to the right prospective clients, all aspects need meticulous planning and execution.
For this, a company has two options: either go alone in ticking all the right boxes or forge a strategic partnership with a reliable, reputable, and resourceful local partner who can handhold it through the required procedures.
The first option is fraught with danger unless as a business you are cent per cent confident of making the right moves in an unexplored territory. A wrong step will lead to another and before you realise, you will be caught in a complex web of unnecessary requirements and compliance issues and everything in between. Consequently, all plans will be derailed and a huge amount of capital will go into bringing things back on track.
However, the second option of joining hands with a reputable and successful local company can save a firm from teething problems, and help ensure it just focuses on what it enters a new market for: exponential growth and more business opportunities.
The Seed Group, for example, over the past 16 years, has formed strategic alliances with leading global companies looking to accelerate their sustainable market entry and presence within the Middle East region. The Seed Group is a notable diversified company operating in the technology, healthcare, tourism and hospitality, and real estate sectors in the Gulf region. Established business groups, such as Seed Group, give international companies the opportunity to access top decision-makers in government as well as private sectors, reach out to prospective clients and market their products effectively in the new region of operation.
Bringing on board an experienced and well-established local partner can, in fact, fast-track a company’s business expansion plans in any country and save it from unwanted expenses that can run into millions in the following areas:
Adhering to the laws in the country of operation is of utmost importance. No matter how promising a business is, failure to fulfil the local legal requirements can clip the wings of an establishment even before it has taken flight. For example, there are certain geographical and ownership limitations in the UAE, besides opting for the right licence to operate and securing an investor visa. The right partner can save an international company from all the hassles of local labour laws, documentation and approval procedures. The local partner’s understanding of governmental compliance and local regulations saves a foreign company from unnecessary future litigation, which is time-consuming and money-draining.
What may be right in one country is not always acceptable in another. For example, life and business manners in one country are different from others. In the Middle East, for example, Friday and Saturday are weekend days and Sunday is the first day of the week. These may sound like small differences, but are important when it comes to business.
Therefore, a reliable local partner can help an international firm plan adverts and official statements which are in consonance with local religious and cultural belief systems. The last thing, as a business, you want to do is hurt the sensitivities of a community or religion due to your lack of knowledge of cultural differences. Building a brand image takes millions, repairing a tarnished one even more.
An experienced local partner, preferably one with diverse business operations, has a better understanding of demographics, customer preferences, and buying habits. Based on its years of operation in various markets, the local company can help a new firm determine the right target audience to pitch its products or services for the best results. Experienced local partners also boast a rich, widespread network of clients, which involves big names from governmental and private entities. A strategic partnership opens doors to utilise this already established network for direct marketability of products and services to grow the clientele.
There are so many businesses entering the market and eyeing their fair share. Clients are always weary of doing business with new entrants as they are not sure whether the requirements and standards will be met. However, if a new company is already in collaboration with a well-established big group or entity, prospective clients’ fears and scepticism are assuaged.
The new firms can ride on the credible image of well-known companies and mitigate whatever apprehensions prospective clients might have. Local partnerships thus lay a path for a new company to not only find a firm footing in the new market, but also build a strong image and reputation, a process which otherwise takes a lot of time and huge investment.
It can therefore be easily deduced that the secret to a successful business venture in any foreign land is opting for a trustworthy local partner.
READ – The art of expansion: How to take your business to new markets and all you need to know
Take a deep dive into everything a company of any size needs to know about business expansion.
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