In this video, Apoorv Bamba, curriculum architect, serial entrepreneur, and lifelong learner, talks about challenges and tips to enter emerging markets. Apoorv runs an organization called Ingenious Faces based in India and South Africa. Their main purpose is to work with startups, universities, and government agencies with the same motive of building one global eco-system.
You can check the highlights of the interview below:
1. What are the main challenges that a company faces when entering an emerging market?
The main challenge for startups and entrepreneurs is the cultural differences. Understanding the value of relationship and how the other business partner feel can be even more important than what you sign on a contract. Therefore, cultural values can either be on your favor or sometimes against you. For instance, in our programs we first try to understand the local mindset and how they perceive us.
For instance, in India, business people like to first get to know you personally to build a trust. For that reason, networking sessions in India start with general conversations at first and then the business talks begin much later. This might cause confusion for those who are not familiar with Indian business culture.
You can read more about how to understand different cultures by referring to the book called “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer. There is also an online tool where you can compare different cultures with each other.
2. How important is it for companies to protect their ideas?
Unfortunately, copycats are an existing fact. Specially in niche and crowed markets where once a product/service is introduced, it can easily be replicated. Although the quality and details from copied products may not be the same, it still can cause you a huge headache and hold your market entry back. Hence, it is very much recommended for entrepreneurs to protect their data from the start.
3. What would you recommend to companies regarding understanding the markets and customers?
I believe that it is very important for everyone to try to understand customers before entering a new market, especially the emerging ones. This can be done by traveling to that certain destination and connecting with people to understand their perception towards your product/service.
Two very important factors regarding entering an emerging market are product market fit and pricing. By implementing different strategies into these two, you can bring a lot of benefits to your company. This is mainly because people in emerging markets are usually looking for simple solutions and are very price sensitive.
Moreover, we recommend entrepreneurs to do this process by collaborating with a more experienced company. This way, you won’t be on your own and instead are part of a bigger team who has a better understanding of the market too. For instance, a company like uGlobally will not only lead you in a foreign market, but also becomes your point of contact for future collaborations too.
4. How do you deal with local market challenges within the same country?
It is good for entrepreneurs to be data driven, but it is also important to understand the softer aspects of the data too. For instance, you may find reports about India having a 1.2 billion potential customers. Whereas, if you dig in deeper, you will realized that not all of that market stays in cities, but in rural areas. Consequently, only gathering general data and statistics will not lead your business toward success.
There are other factors involved in terms of creating market varieties. For example, the language of that destination or the regional cultural values. This requires the company to develop localization strategies to better serve that specific market.
5. Any additional tips?
Finally, I would like to add that before establishing a business, entrepreneurs must ask themselves why they are doing it. Is the reason to increase profitability or virality or anything else? This is because, once you are clear on why you want to do so, you can develop your scaling strategies much more easier.
To help with that, uGlobally has developed the Go Global platform. By using complex algorithms, the platform is able to help companies understand the reasons behind internationalization and, based on that, guide entrepreneurs into their global expansion. This would specifically higher your chances of success in emerging markets.
If you are a young entrepreneur with a global mindset, do not miss the chance to check the Ingenious Faces programs out. If you are interested, do not hesitate to get in touch with Apoorv on his Linkedin page.