From language barrier, to finding the local team and even understanding the laws of that country, these and many others could be key setbacks to selling and marketing your products or services in another country.
During our last month’s After Office Hours with Ali Oumarou, Managing Director Kiza Lounge, Mr. Oumarou explained that being from Niger and having lived and worked in Dubai, choosing Kenya as the first African country to set-up his business came with a whole lot of challenges, taking him over six years to do market research and put his business up.
In one way or another, Kiza, which is a Luanda name meaning people or community, has grown in its years of operation in Kenya to become a leading business in the hospitality industry.
In relation to this we have put together a few considerations gathered from Ali’s business on some key key considerations while choosing to expand globally after building a loyal customer base in your home country or another country:
Carry out a market study to best understand the market that you are about to inject your funds in as well as understand the market’s personality, economic feasibility, market trends, financial cost patterns and market forecasts. In the case of Kiza, Ali Oumarou explained that it took him close to six and a half years to carry-out his market study before setting up Kiza Nairobi.
Ali Oumarou, MD Kiza Lounge during the November After Office Hours event where he shared insights around key considerations for setting up a business in a foreign country.
Look for a local team to work with.
While setting up a business in a foreign country look for a local team or partner who is preferably a local the reason behind this is, the local team will relate with the local clients easily and will help you understand the local business climate. Start this process before moving into the country you have a few trusted friends whom you can go to with questions as you get your business underway. Also you need someone who has a passion for your brand, understands the local market,and has experience in the industry you are venturing in
Ensure that while you are setting up your business, you can easily scale the same product in another country with just a few adjustments. For example, if you set-up your business in Kenya and Dubai, your clients in Kenya can easily access and enjoy the same product in Dubai once they travel. In the case of Kiza, the Kiza brand has been in Dubai for the last 12 years and probably the same experience of local African Cuisines you get in Kenya you will easily get the same in Dubai.
As much as this might look like a minute point and most people can easily over look it, the cultural difference can determine whether the business is successful or not. However it is best to understand if your product or service meets the culture of the people and if it doesn’t add value or meet the desires of the local markets, there’s no need to go sailing! It is vital to have an intimate understanding about who lives in the community and what they value. The cultural differences range from language and cultural differences and how will you overcome these to religion and also if there are restrictions on how you market the product.
Ensure that you best understand the legal and regulatory frameworks of that market before setting up. This can best be achieved, if you again choose to work with a lawyer who best understands the requirements of the specific country. Ensure you understand well, labor and employment laws, investment and business operations, tax laws and probably the import and export restrictions.
As much as you might have a local partner, ensure that you before making major business decisions, that you at least travel to the country or countries you want to expand into and get a first-hand idea of how your business will fare. You should think through all possible. This will give you the opportunity to conduct research and test your product in the foreign marketplace.
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