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Developing your business abroad seems simple thanks to the Internet. However, internationalisation can fail without a good prior study of the competition, the market, and/or cultural codes.

Digital activities are continuing to grow internationally, partly due to the facilities that the Internet offers to entrepreneurs. It is easy to slack off with the advantages of technology. It allows you to create an activity with the prospect of developing it internationally, all without moving from home. This does not mean that it is effortless. To expand on an international scale, you will need to grow your expertise and multiply collaborations. Therefore, staying at home and taking it easy is not a real option.

Below are some key steps to take when planning to launch your business abroad.

Analyse your business’s performance with regards to the local market

Before considering the expansion of your business on the international scale, you should conduct a study about its current performance. Are local customers happy with the services that it offers? Is your business successful at the local level? If the answers to these are yes, you should try to understand what makes your product/service appealing to consumers.

If you are unfamiliar with the local market or the behaviour of your customers, you can ask them directly. Set up a feedback form on your website, e-mail your clients with questions or conduct a satisfaction survey. The information that you gather will allow you to identify what makes your product attractive to your consumers. This data will be crucial when you start working on internationalisation.

Understand the expectations of the target foreign market

Your product may be the best and most attractive in its local market. There is still a possibility that it will not work at all in a new geographical area. Various entrepreneurs face this problem when they attempt to expand abroad without carrying out prior research.

Determining the readiness of the target foreign market to accept your product is easier after studying its demands. It is also helpful to determine whether the competition is already established and powerful or not.

Be patient and take your time to determine the above factors instead of rushing in unknown territory. If you are lucky, you might struggle a bit in the beginning and learn as you go. With a little less luck, you will most likely fail to go with the trend and you will fall behind.

To avoid wasting your time and effort in an unsuccessful foreign business adventure, study carefully and prepare a viable plan.

Make your business adaptable

Observing the market and understanding it will also allow your company to adapt to its differences.

Adapting is necessary for the successful integration of your business in its new market. Be they languages, symbolism, colours or messages to convey, some are not well accepted in certain cultures. As they, your company should work to blend into the cultural mould of the destination market.

The prior research that you carry out will enhance your adaptability. You will be able to both merge with the culture and offer something new to the market. This is one of the formulas for success that are perfectly calibrated to an international deployment.

 

International growth is one of the most exciting and complicated stages in a business’s life. It can open up the market and the number of consumers within the enterprise’s network. It can also be catastrophic for development if it is poorly managed. Take the time to analyse and understand the new market, its cultural codes, its competition and its consumers. As said above, your product may be the best locally, but it must adapt to succeed internationally.

Behind every successful enterprise lies a controlled communication strategy. It is essential to integrate this type of strategy into most of your processes. This applies when exchanging with current customers, potential customers, service providers or your employees. Why such a focus on communication? That is because without consistent communication, you will not be able to build the trust of your audience. It will then be difficult to drive commitment and make your business profitable.

How to effectively communicate with the parties involved in your activity? This article provides answers to this question.

Communicating with potential customers

You must be particularly careful when exchanging with potential parties. Below are some rules to build their trust and turn them into clients:

  • Consumers want solutions. No matter what product you launch, highlight its ability to solve a problem or meet a specific need.
  • Focus most of your content on the value that your product or service can bring to consumers.
  • Be creative in your communication. Think about entertaining or inspiring your audience while conveying your idea. Clients will easily remember this type of message and will automatically think of your product when there is a need. Consider using online tools to create excellent visuals or videos. If necessary, you can also employ a graphic designer.
  • Experiment by interacting with the public through questionnaires, surveys and an active presence on social networks.

Communication with customers

Acquiring new clients is much more difficult than keeping the ones you already have. To sustain your business, take care of consumers who already trust you. Here are some tips to help you communicate with them and strengthen their loyalty:

  • Always thank a customer who buys your products by sending a personalized message. You can easily automate this practice if you sell your products or services online.
  • Ask customers to return after using your products and services. Also, consider getting their feedback regarding customer experience. Example of questions are: How did they choose your service? Did they find it easy or complicated to order on your site or to contact you?
  • Set up an irreproachable customer service. Returns, reimbursements and transactions must be smooth and quick.
  • Add a live chat on your website to facilitate communication with customers.
  • Recruit and train customer relationship agents with care; they represent your brand.
  • Ask your customers to produce content (testimonials or recommendations in video or image or text format) on your various platforms. They find enjoyment in doing so and you can easily share high quality content!

 

Communicating with your team

Be it your in-house staff or your service providers, you must always motivate your team. If the people who work with you are satisfied with their objectives, they will become your best ambassadors.

  • Your team needs to know your short and long-term goals. It is important for them to know where you’re going and what you want from them.
  • Get reports from your team members on a daily basis. This can be done either through face-to-face meetings or via video conference. Always ask what you can do to facilitate their job.
  • Develop personal relationships with your team through your communication. Share your life outside of work and encourage them to share theirs. Such a relationship encourages your staff to take initiatives and dedicate themselves to the company.
  • Involve your team when problems arise or decisions need to be made. Ask for their comments and ideas, even if you don’t use them in the end.
  • Openly congratulate and reward team members. Praising a team member in front of his peers is the best way to boost him for the future.

Take care of your communication with all the parties in your company. From customers to suppliers, colleagues and potential customers, all require special attention.

With the myriad of existing means of communication, you can make your business thrive and grow.

A significant percentage of businesses that are created these days are start-ups. These small businesses often stem from brilliant ideas and proceed to develop rapidly.

Launching a start-up requires a lot of fore-thought and preparation. Yet, it is not uncommon for young entrepreneurs to find themselves facing problems that they could have avoided.

Here are some mistakes to avoid when creating a start-up.

  1. Not creating a business plan

Most people become impatient when they think they have found “the right idea”. While understandable, it is recommended that you take the time to plan your project and an accompanying budget.

Creating a business plan is an essential step in ensuring the sustainability of your project. Some start-ups need substantial funds to grow, which makes it very important to keep track of all monetary transactions.

  1. Not adapting to changes

It is very common for things to not go as planned. This is especially the case when launching a business; even more so when doing it for the first time.

The mistake an entrepreneur might make in this case is to stick to the original plan. Changing your strategy can be a matter of survival for your business.

  1. Not taking the first step to launch the product

Striving for perfection, while not a bad thing per se, can be greatly hamper the progression of your business. In other words, wanting your product to be fully developed before it is launched can have serious consequences.

To avoid this mistake, you should favour communication and launch your project. Rather than keeping your innovative idea hidden as you perfect it, it is better to launch a basic version. You will have time to tweak the details later.

  1. Not seeking assistance

Few start-ups are supported by a single person. Often, several skills are needed: research & development, fundraising, communication, marketing, etc…

Working with a team will keep you motivated, even in difficult times. Also, it will be easier to gain financial support as concerned organisations usually prefer teams to solo projects.

  1. Not asking for advice

 

Sometimes, just your opinion and your expertise with regards to your project are not enough.

Be it for the design of your project or for the legal aspects related to your activity, seek expert advice. Lawyers, experienced entrepreneurs and even strangers will tell you the weak points of your business and how to overcome them.

  1. Not making involved people sign a non-disclosure agreement

This is not about trust, it is about common sense.

Many projects meet their end because their competitors get wind of certain crucial elements. Product innovation, marketing approach, partnerships and many other parts of your business should be confidential.

Ask each member of your start-up, and each participant in your project, to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

  1. Not protecting your personal assets

Finally, it is advisable to separate your personal assets from your business assets.

Pay special attention when choosing your company’s status. In case of financial problems, you and your family will be safe.

As long as you go about launching your business in a careful and smart way, you will not experience problems. In case of uncertainty, you should not hesitate to seek advice and support from your family, friends and professionals.

Great business ideas often come alongside various difficulties to get started. Becoming independent does have an impact on a person’s way of living. Those who work in a company often end up facing a radical change in their lifestyles.

However, if the project really matters to you and could eventually develop into a flourishing business, it would be a shame not to attempt the adventure. Below are some common obstacles that aspiring entrepreneurs face, including the ways to overcome them.

 

  1. Lack of time

The most common reason that people cite as a barrier to their aspirations is the lack of time.

It is true that the process to create a business is time consuming. Developing the idea, creating a business plan, finding an economic model, asking quotes from potential suppliers… All of these take a certain amount of time that most people do not have, especially employees.

There are several ways to work around this problem:

Getting up early in the morning and/or going to bed later in the evening to work on your project before and after work can be helpful. Use to-do list applications to organize your tasks and maximize your efficiency.

Try to see if your company will enable you to take a few days off to start a new activity. If that is not possible, you can consider part-time working options.

On a more drastic note, you may want to discuss your project with your spouse or partner. The decision to live on a single salary while you develop your business is a hard one to make. It still remains a viable option despite requiring you to make certain sacrifices. As the saying goes, time is money, and this leads us to our second point.

 

  1. Fear of financial insecurity

Setting up your own business often means that you will not receive as salary much for several months. All the money that you have and that you will make will be spent on your project. Sales can also be unstable after the launch. In the end, your source of revenue will most probably not be as comfortable as a fixed salary.

However, financial aids are available to the supporters of a project. Various sponsors can provide you with monetary support and incubators can assist you with this problem.

Also, remember that earning less in the beginning is normal for any start-up. The purpose of a business is to earn more money than you could have done in your nine-to-five job. Of course, it also has other advantages, such as independence, freedom, fulfilment, pride…

  1. Lack of money

Contrary to popular belief, opening a business does not necessarily require an absurd amount of money. Depending on the sector or type of the business, some start-ups can even be launched with Rs.0. This is possible if you choose to work on a project which does not require much material input. You can also work with recycled or second-hand items in the beginning.

With careful planning, you can also save enough money to launch your business comfortably. If you are currently working and earn a salary, you can begin amassing your capital now. If need be, you might also wish to reduce outing, holiday or shopping costs.

 

  1. Fear of loneliness

Many people shy away from entrepreneurship due to the loneliness that they associate to independence. However, you do not have to be alone if you do not want to!

There are various ways in which you can get assistance and friends to accompany you as you launch your business. Between incubators, co-working spaces and group rentals, you can work with other entrepreneurs and expand your professional network.

Take part in events such as conferences, expos or fairs to meet people outside of your home or workplace.

Finally, your family and friends will undoubtedly support you and keep you company. Starting a business doesn’t mean that you have to forget your social life.

 

  1. Fear of self-management

You will be the sole master of your schedule, yes. This means, for many people, that you will be very prone to distractions.

The television in your living room will constantly try to lure you away from work. You will miss the sun and will want to take your time to walk in the park. Your friends will want to come and see you on their holidays. The list is admittedly non-exhaustive.

If you are not a natural at organisation and if you do not know how to say no (to your friends or to your desires), then do not work from home. Go to co-working spaces so as to stay focused. You can also use a calendar or to-do list app to keep track of what you need to do during the day.

In any case, self-management will come naturally when your schedule is filled. You will have no choice but to hold the deadlines.

 

The five obstructions mentioned above are not the complete list of factors that prevent people from thinking about entrepreneurship. Many other aspects can dissuade an aspiring entrepreneur to continue down this path. Still, all problems have a variety of solutions that can be applied according to circumstances. If you want to open your own business and are experiencing difficulties, do not lose hope. There is bound to be a way to overcome your hurdles and reach your goal.

Every year, thousands of start-ups are born and you might be one of them. While you may have found the right way to develop your business, you still have to work on gathering an audience.

Good communication is the key to promoting your start-up, but this year calls for new ways to attract attention. Strategies such as web advertising, telephone marketing and the creation of a website are simply not enough anymore.

Following the shift in trends, new marketing strategies have been developed. Here are some of them:

 

Develop a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is one of the first solutions you can turn to. Apart from being extremely affordable, its benefits are also more effective.

You can create any kind of content to attract the attention of your audience. From blog articles to infographics, including videos, podcasts, guides and white papers… you have a wide choice! Having various types of content will increase the chances of them being shared on social networks and going viral.

You can go even further by transforming one type of content into another. For instance, a video can be created from various blog posts. This will allow you to capture the attention of a larger audience around the same topic.

However, any content marketing strategy that you decide to implement should go through SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Being careful about SEO will be essential to boost your visibility on search engines. To ensure that your content is optimised, you should firstly try to learn more about SEO on the internet. You can also turn to SEO professionals.

After creating your content and optimising it for search engines, you will have to promote it. You can do so via your site, in newsletters or on social networks.

A content marketing strategy should allow you:

  • To make your mark within your industry
  • To be credible in the eyes of netizens
  • To educate your audience about your products or services
  • To Improve your SEO and bring traffic to your site

Some tips

Make sure you know your target before you start creating content. Afterwards, you should regularly measure the performance of your strategy so as to improve it.

Creating webinars

Videos are currently a very popular format. They can be used to create an enormous variety of content: interviews, testimonials, presentations for your company, and many more. So why not webinars?

You can easily introduce your company to the world via Facebook Live or on YouTube. Videos also allow you to promote your product(s) or service(s) by stating its/their characteristics and benefits.

Some tips

Promote your webinar a few days or even a few weeks before actually posting for more viewership.

As for the presentation, it’s always a good idea to favour an enthusiastic tone. Netizens usually pay more attention to dynamic presentations.

 

Partnerships with influencers

Influence marketing is ‘the’ strategy which works for adverting.

While it may not be as strongly present on the Mauritian advertising scene as it is abroad, influence marketing is a very promising strategy. For this strategy to be effective, choose web stars who communicate to a target audience similar to yours. This will allow them to effectively promote your products to a wider audience.

 

As seen above, 2019 is not the year for widely spread marketing systems that are slow-rising. Instead, it calls for innovation and favours those who are strategically creative. So do not hesitate to try new ways to promote your start-up; it will need the boost.

 

An incubator is by definition a growth infrastructure which helps new ventures develop into successful businesses. The process usually involves the provision of physical and communication facilities as well as networking possibilities and education. Via the assistance provided, the start-up will eventually gain access to capital.

Origin

The concept of incubators was born in the United States in the 1950s, but primarily became noticeable in the mid-1990s. Indeed, the dot-com boom resulted in a chain of incubators and 2005 finally saw the creation of Y Combinator. This American organisation is one of the leading incubators around the world. It is at the base of successful companies such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Twitch, Quora and more such enterprises.

Y Combinator is also known as the company which sparked the rise of modern incubators around the world. For instance, there are approximately 7000 incubators worldwide, according to the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). Amongst these, 1250 can be found in the United States alone, 700 in China, 400 in Brazil and 220 in the United Kingdom. Mauritius also has some incubators, although the numbers are less impressive.

Impact of incubators

All of these incubators are impacting on the worldwide start-up scene and individually changing specific entrepreneurial landscapes. The survival rates for businesses that go through incubators are reportedly around 92%. Their success is attributed to various aspects.

Guidance

While some value the development of business skills, others highlight the networking advantages that come with incubator programs. Start-ups gain both credibility and value when associated with incubators and the latter’s sponsors. Also, they are less likely to scramble with official/legal paperwork with the provided guidance. These contribute to raising a confident batch of start-ups that can tackle markets and challenges with relative ease.

A good work environment

The provision of office equipment and a functioning work space also impacts on the entrepreneurial scene in various ways. Firstly, these give entrepreneurs the necessary tools they need to cultivate their ideas and to network with other start-up owners. The potential for growth is considerably greater in this sense.

The whole ecosystem benefits from incubators

Also, with access to these facilities, entrepreneurs are given a place to start, which boosts their involvement in their project. It is therefore safe to say that incubators promote and actively participate in the growth of entrepreneurship on various levels.

For instance, the start-up ecosystem is seeing changes at both macro and micro levels with the involvement of incubators. The organisations help with the economic growth of a country. They also have a hand in the creation of wealth, jobs and innovation ventures. Additionally, incubators aid in the fostering of an entrepreneurial culture on a local level. They promote research and create opportunities for university students and in certain cases also impact on international trade.

On a more specific note, the changes that incubators are bringing to the entrepreneurial scene in India reflect the local population’s drive in terms of start-up creation. However, while around 5000 businesses are created in the country each year, a lot of these start-ups end up dying due to a lack of support. This can be attributed to the gap between entrepreneurs’ expectations and incubators’ offers.

In any case, Mauritius has a lot to learn from incubator experiences and impacts worldwide. The advantages that these business hubs provide can be very beneficial to the local entrepreneurial scene.

Have business ideas or want to discuss about your entrepreneurial projects?

Our business coach is here to help you out.

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Nathalie Daruty is a woman entrepreneur in Mauritius promoting medicinal plants. For a long time, Nathalie has been working on starting her enterprise Feuilles et fleurs and wants to take her business to the next level.  Now with all the knowledge, she has acquired from the Turbine Test Drive Program, she has joined the Turbine Incubation program to strengthen her start-up. Nathalie shares her vision and her interesting journey with us.

“I strongly wish to develop an enterprise that becomes the reference in the field of medicinal plants and its application. For that, I have plans to learn about the applications in depth from healers and specialists around the globe and bring this knowledge to our country to benefit our people.”

organic plantatin

Nathalie tending to her plants in her new field of crops

My entrepreneurial journey began when I started my studies on phytotherapy and aromatherapy. I started by testing a few infusions from plants in my garden and shared the products with friends and family: they loved it! Their reaction boosted my motivation and confidence so I kept working harder. I was able to make some money and buy paper bags as packaging.  Then I participating in Christmas markets where I earned enough money to buy a plant dryer. Taking part in these various fairs also allowed me to slowly level up the packaging. Back then, the dryer was in my garage while all the manufacturing was in my dining room. I finally also had to convert a room into a studio for my workshops. Despite having a few regular clients, my business could not flourish due to the limited land and production.

I have thus decided to move to farmland where I will also conduct my workshops.

natural products Foliage is collected in a sustainable and eco-conscious fashion

 

I am often asked:”Why Feuilles et Fleurs?”  One of the reasons is that I have always loved infusions and herbal products. After teaching for many years, I really wanted to do something that I am curious about and create new products that would be beneficial for our planet. That urge of doing something on my own doubled when I realized that I have to change my lifestyle to take care of our well being and go closer to nature.

Another reason would be the lack of good quality natural local herbal products. Most herbal products are imported and may not be of quality. The lack of simplicity in our consumption habits is neither good for our body nor for the planet.

My creations till now involve 12 variety of infusions namely turmeric powder, moringa powder, crude dried plants in bulk, massage balls (siam tampon), fagots of purification with sage.

natural products

Feuilles et Fleurs products in their new packaging

 

These natural products are for people who acknowledge the importance of health, that prevention is better than cure with chemical products, who are also environmentally friendly and want to learn the clean way of doing cultivation.

I am also looking forward to Feuilles et Fleurs conducting a workshop of 4 DIY sessions in collaboration with Wellness and SensiBio where participants will learn how to make their own cosmetic and cleaning products. The sessions are as follows:

5th February 2019: Sun’s cream and repair oil

26th February 2019: laundry, stain remover and dishwashing liquid

19th Mars 2019: deodorant, two kinds of toothpaste and makeup remover

9th April 2019: 3 soaps, powder shampoo + bar shampoo

workshop

The aim of this work is to be ecological, to reduce waste and also economic.

The Turbine Test Drive Programme was really beneficial to Feuilles et Fleurs. It made me realize the importance of structuring my company and gave me a more acute vision of the future.

Up to then, Feuilles et Fleurs was a very small company that I just liked working on, today, I have started taking action to make it a good and profitable business!

I never had any entrepreneurial training. As an incubated start-up at Turbine, I am really looking forward to all the experience and knowledge I will be getting through the coaching and workshops. I believe that it will help me avoid certain mistakes and guide me in making the best future possible for Feuilles et Fleurs. I understand that Turbine has a really good network too, and this will help me.

I am so thankful to Turbine for selecting Feuilles et Fleurs for the incubation program after Test Drive. I am really excited about the upcoming adventure!

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These passes are for those who wish to experience what it is like to co-work in an open space environment.

Our co-workers are entrepreneurs, innovators and various professionals (Architects, Accountants, digital marketer, developers…and many more),  who form a strong community of like minded people helping each other out.

One free pass can last a full day, 08h30 to 17h00, at our open space.

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