Singapore being a regional and global hub puts businesses in a unique position. On the one hand, it provides them with a platform to discover markets beyond the city-state’s borders. On the other, it attracts businesses from all over, which makes the environment highly competitive.
This is intensified by the digital age that allows businesses to operate beyond physical boundaries. Add to this the reality that Singapore itself is not a large market and it seems imperative that a vibrant, growing business needs to consider foreign shores sooner or later. Read on for tips about how to make this move.
Know your market inside out
While you may have travelled to overseas markets before or had business interactions there, expanding your operations in these markets is a far greater investment and you need to comprehend the new destination thoroughly.
Begin by consolidating available facts and figures. Follow this up with market analysis that helps you determine customer preferences, understand government policies and other factors such as infrastructure and availability of talent.
This will give you an essential heads-up on problems you may have to deal with in that market. You may even decide it is not viable to grow your business there and move on to look for other opportunities.
Understand the language and culture
You cannot live and work in a foreign country unless you figure out the local ways. Start with respecting cultural practices. For instance, wining and dining prospective clients may be essential in some markets but considered over the top in others. It is important to understand the subtleties.
Go with local partners and local hires wherever possible. Make attempts to learn the language – greetings and business terms – you will gain trust faster this way. Complement your strengths as a global player with local assimilation and you will find your business quickly getting past cultural road bumps.
While technology intensifies competition, it can also be an advantage. One billion people turn to their smartphones when they want to go online. From the start, make sure your business is mobile-ready. This will make market penetration much easier for your business.
Another recent technological development that is extremely advantageous is cloud storage. When your processes are cloud-based, all your operations in new countries will be data- and tech-ready speedily as a result.
Build a local network
It is likely you will want to expand your business in a country or city where you already have business dealings and connections. But given the shifting nature of today’s business environment, you may also find yourself actually considering a completely new region or a foray into a market where you have very few contacts.
In either of these scenarios, it will be relationships that will smoothen your way. As a cloud-based contact management system, Sansan will go a long way in helping you store and catalogue your overseas contacts.
You can then use your database to stay in touch and share market and business insights. Carefully nurturing relationships in this manner will mean you have a support network when you decide to expand into that market.
Going global is often the next step for businesses in the island nation. However, you must pave the way by finding the right partners for market research, investing in infrastructure and building relationships to ensure your foray into a new market is fruitful.