Sometimes we are a little too quick to try and expand our businesses. We think that when we’re researching a new market, all we need to understand is the obvious things like law, language, our product’s local niche or service will fit into, and the affordability profile to adjust the price point. In reality though, markets have more variety than we might immediately think. Even if we move past the obvious things like different conceptions of the sale, things like the kinds of charity activities a business should be supporting could be the difference between successful growth and failed endeavours.
The reasons that a local area might have to celebrate might not seem, on the face of it, something hugely relevant to your business. Not unless your business is in the sector that could benefit, like catering, events hosting, or other linked areas. However things like knowing the clear difference between the two Eids, understanding what a saint’s day is compared to a name day, or being aware of the art of well dressing, could be very valuable in your dealings with local customers. No one likes an aloof or disinterested partner in a business exchange. If you are the kind of person who clearly cares and is engaged in the market you want to expand into, it could be the effort that makes a new sector recognise the value that you offer.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a bigger and bigger part of many businesses large and small. If you are looking to expand your business into a new market, be sure to properly investigate the kinds of things the local area actually cares about. This could vary dramatically from things like local unemployment, gentrification, or even bigger issues that affect neighbouring communities or nations that this community identifies with more closely.
A Sri Lankan community in Glasgow might be more or equally concerned with recent terror attacks than the city’s drug problem, and a Syrian community in San Francisco might be more worried about how weather is affecting that country’s harvest than high house prices. If you are targeting a specific group, look to care about what that community cares about. The truism “charity begins at home” is actually a massive oversimplification.
While you will naturally want to make sure that everyone you’re targeting can understand and utilise your blog or website or any other written publications related to your services, language goes far deeper than just what dictionary you need to translate between. Specific modes of phrase are used by particular communities, and it can be very valuable to investigate these in more detail to better express your business, its function, and the benefits it offers.
One excellent example of a failure to do this comes in the form of Tunisia and Arabic. Although Arabic is a single language, there are dialectical variations that spread across different nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.
In the case of Tunisia, although Arabic has two seperate greetings for men and women, Arabs in Tunisia default to using the one for women for both genders. Needless to say, non-Tunisian Arabs visiting the country can get confused and shocked to be addressed as if they are a woman. It is this kind of detail, and knowing what you’re dealing with in terms of the little differences between markets, that can make business expansion succeed or fail.
The last thing you want to do to a potential customer is mis-address them. Even via the distant medium of e-mail, this can really sting. Writing good emails, whatever the language, is always essential.
Expanding your business into new markets is difficult. You might think researching all the obvious and required areas is enough. The details however are what often make the difference. Learn to find them, study them, and appreciate them, and your business’s expansion can be truly successful.