Tips for building a business in a new country

Entrepreneurship presents tremendous opportunities and challenges on a global scale. It can be an exciting career path and offers unique opportunities for those who choose this trajectory. Launching and building a business in a new market can be incredibly cumbersome and challenging, but the rewards are endless if a concept takes off.

These are a few tips I encourage entrepreneurs to consider when building a business in Canada.

Invest in research to truly understand the market

The most significant mistake entrepreneurs make when taking on a new market is making incorrect assumptions. That can mean assuming a product or service is destined to be successful in Canada because it was in another market or thinking you know more about uniquely Canadian considerations than you do. Whether it’s a newcomer bringing a global business to Canada for the first time or a Canadian business looking to expand beyond its borders, making unproven assumptions rarely makes business sense. Instead, we recommend conducting baseline research to test the insights and concepts you bring to market. The thought of research from a time and cost perspective can often be overwhelming, but there are many turnkey options to consider, even Google surveys, to glean essential insights from the start. Global market research and insights are a core capability of 369 Global.

Engage allies

You may have heard the saying, “your network is your net worth,” and this saying rings true in many ways in entrepreneurship. It is critical to surround yourself with a strong network of allies and peers as an entrepreneur, whether through local startup associations, global networks or friends eager to share their relevant lived experiences. This is especially true when you are starting in a new market. Take the time to surround yourself with peers who have gone through a similar experience and learned through trial and error. In most cases, they will be eager to share learnings and advice to help you on your journey so you can avoid the setbacks they experienced. It’s important always to be asking questions.

Test and learn a few things at the lowest possible investment level

When starting a business, especially in a new market, ensuring your new offering will resonate by testing the minimum viable product is generally strategic. The minimum viable product, or MVP, is used to validate customer needs and demands prior to developing a more fully featured product. To reduce development time and related costs, an MVP includes only the minimum capabilities required to be a viable customer solution. It is helpful because it can safeguard an entrepreneur’s total capital by “soft-sounding” a new audience on a concept, brand and message before investing heavily in marketing and production.

These are a few strategic steps the many small global businesses we work with have found to be of tremendous value when conquering a new market.

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