Preparing to Expand in South Africa
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Preparing to Expand to South Africa
If your product or service is a success at home, expanding to South Africa offers great potential. The only way of knowing if your business is truly ready and this can't be overstated enough is by doing meticulous market research. Never underestimate the temperament of a market. Never be so confident to envision a perfect transition that's not how it works. It works through shrewd understanding of new customers: their characteristics, impulses and patterns. Once done, you will then need to build a structured business plan and market entry strategy. These are golden rules, obviously valid researching the South African market.
Business Plan for South Africa
Traditionally considered the key to success, a good business plan should never be underestimated. Encompassing your objectives, forecasts and routes, a plan should provide clarity on how you intend to take your business from paper to profit and expand a business to South Africa. A well-structured business plan for South Africa can often be the difference between success and failure.
Ultimately, your business plan should be able to answer three questions: What am I trying to achieve? How am I going to achieve it? When am I going to achieve it by?
Here is a quick guide to follow:
- Summary of your business essential if you are showing your plan to potential investors.
- Description of your company; its products or services; why you are selling them; who you are selling them to.
- Marketing & Sales who is going to buy your product or service, and why? How will you get your product or service to them?
- Management and Workforce will you take existing employees or hire people overseas?
- Operational Considerations offices, factories, production facilities, locations, management systems and IT.
- Finance your costs and forecast: this is where your intentions turn into figures.
Companies and advisers exist who can help formulate a business plan for South Africa, taking you step-by-step through methodology and performance management. Blueprinting a plan for UK business is one thing; blueprinting for overseas operations is another. If you don't feel confident drawing one up yourself, get in touch with one of the many international business-planning services out there.
Market Entry Strategy
Essentially the blueprint for the delivery of your goods or services to your market and end user. Market entry is concerned with your customers and your competition: What's already out there? Can you offer competitive products / services / prices? Do you offer an angle your competitors don't?
Here are some basic tips for planning market entry:
- Identifying the best potential customers, locations, sales leads and channels
- Calculating rough sales volumes
- Identifying the best distribution channels
- Studying your competitors their products, services, distribution channels
- Deciding on specific entry points and niches
- Having a good understanding of current and future political and economic climates
- Calculating the initial cost and risk factor
- Acknowledging your business's operational and logistical needs and contextualising them with your candidate country
- Recognising the duties, regulations and other restraints if any to your operations
- Undertake a market test to understand the viability, transferability and profitability of your product(s) or service(s)
- Analyse the market. Will your marketing techniques, product image and its associations be transplantable?
- Evaluate what help and funding may be available
- Market opportunities, risks and environment
- Speak to distributors and producers about pricing and the market: its obstacles and opportunities
Youll want to know what your rival companies are up to. For instance, if they are offering products or services cheaper than you are, it is important to find out why.
The fundamental questions you will want to ask are:
- Who are my competitors?
- What products and / or services do they offer?
- How do they price their products and / or services?
- What advantages do they have over you? What advantages do you have over them? And can these be overcome and maintained, respectively?
You may be interested in conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, too. This will not only juxtapose your business with your competitors, but contextualise it with the market.
How do you find out about your competitions? Well, the three main methods are:
1) Find out what they say about themselves, through advertising, literature, websites, press releases, exhibitions, road shows, business accounts, etc.
2) Find out what others say about them, through the media, customers, clients, suppliers, reports, market researchers, etc.
3) Find out through commissioned market research.
Researching the South African market
Market research deals exclusively with the investigation of a consumer market, segregating it by every means necessary in order to juxtapose it with your product or service.
Market research taps into and analyses the patterns and habits of consumers, giving you an insight into who are the type of people that buy your product or service, how frequently they do so, and the markets reaction to your goods. This is the key to expand a business to South Africa. The scope for division and categorisation is vast.
- Who are my customers?
- What groups and social leanings do they fall into?
- What is my potential number of customers / market reach?
- Will your customers already be familiar, or used, a competitors products or service?
- What is the basis / criteria that a customer will use to buy your product or service?
- How can you guarantee the customer will return?
- What are the times, places, seasons, moods, etc, they prefer to buy?
Researching the South African market may take long, but it will be a major boost to your chance to expand a business in South Africa successfully.