- Create a winning product that is in-touch with reality
Refine your products and service offering. Uniqueness of your offering is key. You must have good business model that is scalable and does not exclude the wider African market. Make sure all due-diligence documents are in place and up-to-date before entering into new markets. This will make the process smother. Dream big but start from where you are and grow your business across the continent with a franchisor mindset.
- Take some time to know your target market
Be open-minded and dare to take risks. This includes budgeting time and finance to visit other African countries to learn, experience and know your target market and potential competition for your product and service.
- A scalable business model
Have a good working system and forward-looking strategy that has been adapted to the target market. Yes, you can’t use the same business strategy for all markets, but you should have a proven business model as a foundation for moving into other markets. Otherwise you may have to start from scratch in other markets. A forward-looking business model should include a good value chain strategy which outlines the parts of the business to be outsourced or kept in-house. The strategies should not exclude food and transportation because the average African allocates about 75 per cent of their spending on basics such as food and transportation. Adding value in the supply chain is very important. If your product will need delivery services, it may be a good idea to add logistics as a value-added service for your customers. It is costly to courier products within the continent so creating a network of on-the-ground agents who can deliver door-to-door is worthwhile. Moreover, to overcome internet limitations, it is advisable to arm your agents with wifi enabled pay-machines to take orders from your customers who may not have access to internet.
- A good network of market partners inclusive of an informal sector
Build good networks in the continent so you can manage risks, reach your customers in a timely manner and stay ahead of competition. Don’t underestimate the power of the informal sector and the distribution channels they can open for your business. A good network can be in the form of local representatives, brand ambassadors, business associates, local companies who are distributors for your products and services or a local office with low overhead costs. Seek the services of a consultant who is familiar with entering new markets, one who knows the business and investment ropes in the region and has extensive business contacts to assist when needed. These are few of the many things that African businesses and investors can do to have a ‘skin in the game’. There are more gists in my latest book.
~Photo by Eva Blue.
For detailed discussion on the above, get a copy of my book How to Succeed in the African Market: A Guide for the 2020s for Businesspeople and Investors
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