President Obama has just introduced a Job Creation package to get the U.S. economy going, but it overlooks a major factor: U.S. exports to developing nations in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Mideast. These regions are growing fast due to their young populations, China’s importing of raw materials, and liberalized trading. But most U.S. firms are hesitant to expand to these challenging regions. What are the best ways to explore them? Here are tips based on earlier Silicon Valley experience with Asia’s “Four Tigers” and China:
- Connect with professional organizations and trade offices from these nations to develop contacts and regional knowledge.
- Find expat business and technical professionals from these regions who have educational and work experience in their home countries and the U.S.. They can serve as cultural brokers.
- Find college and graduate student interns from these nations who can help with market surveys, marketing plans, and due diligence through their network of friends and professionals in their home nations
- Get RSS feeds about your target markets, join or start Linkedin and Facebook groups, and connect with business websites from those regions. Engage with professionals there to learn more about various business opportunities.
With the Internet, it’s much easier to learn about developing regions so there’s no excuse nowadays for not exploring them.
Why explore them? An anecdote: An Intentac Fellow who is a Mideast doctor bought an African wireless service years ago, even though his colleagues laughed that he knew little about Africa or mobile services. Three years ago, his service went public on London’s AIM market at $2.5 billion and the laughing stopped. Morale: Never let cowardice discourage you from exploring new markets.