Strategies for Breaking Into Foreign Markets

Business meeting

Every business has the ultimate vision to grow and expand to optimise sales and profits. Marketing executives look for markets far and wide to achieve this dream. Thus, the search for markets across borders both within regional blocks and beyond.

Such expansion needs adequate research, planning, and strategy to be effective. During the research and planning, it is crucial to evaluate the most appropriate by evaluating the risks and opportunities of each available option.

Below are the various modes you can use to launch your business in a new frontier.

Direct Exporting

This is one of the most favourite and common modes. Businesses just need to identify sales agents and distributors in a new country. The distributors then market the products and earn a commission.

Since the distributors understand the local market better, they stand a better chance of penetrating and increasing sales and profits. It is also the least risky option as the operational costs are minimal. While appointing the distributors, it is essential to consider their logistical capabilities.

If, for instance, you are dealing with heavy construction material, consider recommending too that they buy a low load trailer. They will ease the transportation of the product and expand into unserved areas.

It is also important to consider the experience and competence of the agents. Always go for those that have been in the business for a reasonable period of time and have established sales networks.

Franchising

Franchising is a business model that is fast gaining popularity around the world. In this model, a successful brand allows business owners to open own branches under its brand name. They then pay a given fee and a certain amount of their annual profits to the brand.

Franchising is a pretty simple model of penetrating into a foreign market. An established business just requires to identify interested franchisees in their target markets and begin opening the franchise.

Another advantage of the model is that the risk is shared between the established business and the franchise. This lowers the losses in the event of an unfortunate event. It is, however, important to evaluate the various factors at play in the local market to ensure that the franchise business is able to thrive.

Acquiring a Company

Business people reporting

Penetrating into some foreign markets may demand buying an established local company. This might be brought about by government regulations for foreign businesses, or the advantage of commanding a big market share. It is an easy way of gaining a new market, but it is also a risky venture.

The key advantage of buying a local company is the established market and customer base. The new entrant does no struggle to get customers as the previous brand had built a loyal base over a given period of time.

It also enables the new business to easily navigate through stringent restrictions that might have been set for new entrants. It is, however, essential to critically evaluate the business that is up for purchase.

This is because it may have a different and complicated business model. Due diligence on the market is also required to avoid failing as it would be costly.

International markets provide great opportunities for businesses. After careful consideration and planning, selecting the most suitable mode sets the business on a successful and profitable path for many years.

Safety and Sanitation: Important Factors in a Successful Restaurant

lunch in a fine restaurant

Cleanliness and sanitation are vital to any commercial establishment. In the restaurant industry, though, these aspects are especially important in mitigating the contamination of food and in preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses.

Workplace sanitation, hygiene and food safety are integral to the success of your restaurant. The common goal of each of these factors is to keep your restaurant free from foodborne diseases that may jeopardise your customers’ health and your business’ reputation. Bear the following tips in mind for a successful food business.

Workplace Sanitation

The cleanliness of your entire restaurant plays a crucial role in keeping the food you’re serving safe and free of contaminants. By maintaining a kitchen that’s not just clean but also sanitised, you reduce the chances of bacterial contamination.

It is also important to maintain sanitation not only in the kitchen but also in all facilities and parts of the establishment, from the tableware and service equipment to the kitchen tools and even the walls and floors. It is ideal to invest in heavy-duty machines that will make cleaning easier and to reduce manpower. Industrial scrubbers and vacuums are highly efficient machines that require minimal manpower, saving time and energy. This will benefit not only your customers but you, the owner, as well because your restaurant will make a good impression on your health inspector.

chefs doing quality taste test on foodPersonal Hygiene

One of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses is the cross-contamination that occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are spread through the people who handle food. Maintaining cleanliness starts with oneself. Simple personal hygiene habits go a long way in establishing standard workplace sanitation practices. Personal hygiene routines such as frequent handwashing, wearing clean clothing and keeping one’s hair in place are basic yet critical standards to uphold in any food establishment.

Food Safety and Storage

In food handling, there are a lot of factors that contribute to and influence food safety. One of the most pressing concerns is cross-contamination. This happens when viruses, pathogens or allergens transfer from a contaminated source to the food that is being prepared or handled. Cross-contamination can happen from kitchen implements such as chopping boards and knives to the very ingredients that go into the dish or the product being prepared. Contamination may also occur as a result of improper food storage, either due to poor facilities, poor storage temperature, low-quality containers and such. Additionally, when raw food comes in direct contact with ready-to-serve food, it may result in cross-contamination as uncooked meats may harbour bacteria. Eliminate some of these contamination threats by thoroughly washing and drying kitchen supplies before use. In addition, thoroughly wash raw vegetables such as potatoes and root vegetables as these may also carry bacteria that may affect ready to eat food.

The safety and sanitation of the meals and beverages that you serve combined with the overall hygiene in your restaurant greatly influence your business’s reputation. Guard your reputation – after all, it is among the major factors that affect your clientele’s loyalty to your brand.

Should You Get Your Dream Home or Just Settle for a Starter Home?

a miniature house

Congratulations for reaching the point where you can afford to purchase your own home in Oregon instead of renting one. Now, you may be wondering if you should already buy the house that you’ve always wanted or settle for a more basic setup. Aside from the price, some other concerns may come to mind, such as ease of maintenance or lifestyle changes. In order to help you come to a decision, here are some key factors that you need to consider when weighing your current options:

Plans for the Future

While it’s true that you can’t determine what exactly will happen in the far future, it’s best to try anticipating and planning for the next few years of living in your chosen house. If you foresee yourself staying in your purchased home permanently, then you may want to get a house that can be changed to adapt to your future life plans such as settling down and having a family. On the other hand, if you see yourself moving to another residence in a few years, then it will be all right to get a pre-furnished house.

Going Green

With more and more people being made aware of the current state of the environment, the demand for more energy-efficient and cleaner technology has increased. Depending on how long you intend to stay in your house, you can either choose to purchase one that is already decked out with eco-friendly appliances, or you can simply have these devices installed in your place later on. Just bear in mind that these cost a bit more than the basic options, but they are easier to maintain. They can cut your energy costs down by a significant amount.

Location and Travel

It’s only natural that you want to get the most out of your money, but getting the cheapest option available does not always equate to a better deal. You may have found your dream home for an affordable price. However, if it’s situated miles away from your workplace or commercial areas, then you’ll have to allot more money and time for transportation. Take the time to look for all possible places and compare them to see which one is most suited for both your situation and preferences.

Other Expenses

a house

Paying for the initial cost is surely not the end of your financial responsibilities related to your home as there are others that come with the purchase. Also, consider the mortgage rates in Oregon, possible utility bills, and renovation and maintenance expenses when you look for a house. It’s best to assess your current financial situation first and then see if you can handle all of these costs together on a monthly basis for the next several years. If the answer is no, then you will need to settle for more affordable options first, then move when you have the purchasing power to buy your dream house.

Practicality should be your top priority, but that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo other qualities in favor of it. With the large number of options nowadays, you’ll be able to find one that is affordable and fits your description of an ideal home. Sure, it can take some time before you find it, but not having to deal with a slew of problems due to a rushed purchase is well worth the wait.

No Ifs, No Buts: 3 Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt When Starting a Business

a young entrepreneur

The most difficult part of business life is starting. Not just because it would consume your time, force you to make sacrifices, drain your energy (and probably your bank account) — but also because it’s usually when the voice of self-doubt speaks louder.

For sure, you’ve already heard enough versions of “You can’t make it” or “This business idea is stupid,” to keep you from taking the plunge. But here’s the thing — everybody has had these moments. Even the most successful entrepreneurs.

The difference between you and them is the fact that they took the risk nonetheless. Close that gap and conquer your self-doubt with these tips:

1. Establish short-term goals.

The biggest source of self-doubt is the fact that going into business is such a huge task. When you turn to your dream of putting up a restaurant, there’s so much to do before actually making it a reality.

Now it’s good to look far ahead, but it’s also wise to think of the little steps you can take now, so you can be a step closer to that dream. The key is to set goals easily achievable for a period of time.

When you’re able to tick these goals off your list, you’ll have a sense of reassurance that you’re doing something even if it’s just small steps. Moreover, you get to refer to these accomplished goals as your mini victories, which would be your reminders when the voice of self-doubts grows louder.

So for instance, when you do have that long-term goal of establishing a restaurant, a short-term, achievable goal now might be to explore fast food franchises and scrutinize their proven business models.

2. Change your perspective about failure.

Another reason starting entrepreneurs doubt themselves is they tend to be fixated on failure. If you internalize that you’re not going to succeed, you’d really have no confidence whatsoever in what you’ll do. But look at it this way, even if you lose in failure, it won’t be a total loss.

Sure, you would have lost resources and precious time, but you would also gain that one important thing in business: the experience of hitting rock bottom and knowing a lot of things now than before.

Failure can strengthen your character and make you wiser if you choose it to be. So, have a total shift in perspective when it comes to failure. When you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, you would have the confidence of a seasoned entrepreneur.

3. Keep family, friends, and mentors close.

You need moral and emotional support now more than ever. So try to avoid those who constantly offer negative feedback on you and your endeavors. They’ll just feed your self-doubts all the more. Instead, find your ‘passion community’, the people who believe in you no matter what.

a business meeting

As much as you can, don’t skip family events. Strengthen your relationships with peers. But aside from your spouse, kids, and friends, improve your connections with the experts in your industry.

Attend conferences and seminars to meet them. Join business organizations. You want to be close to like-minded individuals who know exactly what it’s like to drown in lack of confidence but bounce back up anyway.

Having self-doubt as you start your business is normal. What’s not normal is being paralyzed by it and not pursuing a good, rewarding endeavor. Silence that voice of doubt and make your dream business a reality.