Expanding Your Business in Central and Eastern EuropeAnca Nichita
When it comes to taking your business to the next level, it is indeed a constant challenge. The act of expanding a business to another country involves a lot of work and money in order to achieve the right objectives. But with the right set of tools, the process will go as planned.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s report, conducted in December 2013, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) became one of the fastest-growing regions of the world from the 1990s up to the global financial crisis in 2008. However, despite the lingering impact of the global financial crisis in 2008, the core strengths and advantages of CEE economies remain intact.
There are excellent investment opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe. Not only the western investors placed their money into the eastern markets, but also an increasing number of domestic companies are starting to take advantage and expand their business due to the highly educated and affordable workforce, favorable business environment or strategic location.
In this article, we’ll try to provide some fresh ideas and useful information meant to help you penetrate the CEE market, while developing an efficient strategy for your products and services:
Research the market before you set
To grow a business in another country rather than yours, you have to see if there is a place for you, if there are potential buyers of your products or services and, of course, you’ll have to know the political and economical framework of that specific country.
The CEE region is in close proximity to large consumer markets. The furthest CEE nations are less than 1,500 kilometers from Germany, one of the most important consumer markets in the world, with nearly 400 million citizens and $12.3 trillion (€8.8 trillion) in annual consumption.
So, for those seeking to invest or expand their businesses in the CEE region, working with a partner or a specialized agency that can bring useful insights from the market is essential.
Market entry activities that best suit you
Before your company decides to pursue a new market or location, there must be done a thorough analysis of the target market. Analyze the competition, the market size and the market conditions in order to minimize the risks of investing in a new market.
The expansion process of a company can be eased if you hire a business partner in the CEE region. He’ll help you with the language barriers, time zone differences and business cultures.
Engaging in the local marketing is essential and, depending on your company profile, products and services, you will have to find the best means of promoting them. Blanketing all the communication channels – online and offline – just to check the to-do list is not an appropriate strategy and won’t see the benefits.
For a B2B company, to broadcast on local advertising is meaningless – it costs a lot of money and the results will be close to 0. A great tool to promote a B2B business is lead generation. Through the process, you’ll be able to identify potential client or investors. This will help you target your business development activity to the suitable audience and educate and inform the sales force about your offers.
A company that targets a small market, with a not so large portfolio of products, already knows who the potential customers are. The challenge is to get into see them and create a relationship with those people in order to present what the company does. So, be available to meet people, your potential clients. Nobody that has been approached simply via an email or a telephone closed a deal.
Another way to market your business in the CEE region is to attend tradeshows. There are a lot of tradeshows taking place throughout the year. Most of them are dedicated to B2B companies. So, for an IT company for example, attending tradeshows are an important part in its marketing strategy. It is where they can meet their customers or investors. A lot of the attendees are looking for new technology, something different to differentiate them from the competition.
Are you planning to expand your business in the CEE region or in the middle of the expansion process? Tell us what challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them.