“Which country is the most attractive market for my expansion in Latin America?” – 

“What is the best strategy to enter and conquer this market?” –

“How do I find the right partner to support my business in Latin America?” –

“What are the costs and risks involved in our market entry and how can we control them?”

If you are in charge of expanding your company’s presence in Latin America you will inevitably be confronted with questions such as these. And you will have to come up with the right answers. Every case might result in a different answer, yet there are some generally valid points that every company or investor should keep in mind when planning to do business or invest in Latin America.
Here’s what I have learned in 9 years of advising and supporting foreign companies and investors as Market Entry Specialist in Latin America:

Step 4: It is Time to Choose: Decide on the First Country You Will Enter

Once you have selected and visited the most attractive countries for your company in Latin America, you will choose the first country you will enter. Optionally and if resources permit you can enter various countries in parallel but in my experience it is better to go slow and tackle one country after the next. No market entry is free of setbacks, time delays or other unforeseen circumstances and you should focus your available time and energy in solving those issues instead of being divided between two different countries (and you probably have other countries to look after, too!). 

Besides, most companies choose one country as their regional hub where they will hire their core team for the region, store their inventory, etc. As a consequence, the country should not only be an attractive market in itself but offer the best framework to fulfill a regional role (good connectivity within the region for travel and transport of goods, low taxes, qualified local talent, functioning infrastructure, ease of doing business and so on).

But business is always more than dry facts. Replay your visits to the different countries and how you felt in each place. Did you feel at ease, uncomfortable, nervous, excited…? Your subconscious can perceive tiny details that shape your actions without you noticing. This is not some hippy mumbo-jumbo but a scientific fact. How you feel about a place will influence your success.

Summary: How to choose the first country you will enter

  1. Compare the different countries based on your research data. Weigh the pros and cons, make a SWOT analysis, etc.
  2. Compare the insights gained during your visits to the different countries.
  3. Compare the eligibility of the different countries to serve as a regional hub based on the framework they offer.
  4. Listen to your gut feeling!
  5. Tackle one country after the next instead of entering more than one simultaneously. 

Following the 9 steps during your market entry process will bring you a big step closer to success. At Ongresso, we help you unlock the potential of Latin America by assisting you with successful market entry and long-term growth in the region. 

Contact us to set up a free consultation to talk about how we can help you succeed in Latin America.

Daniel Breitenmoser is the Founder and CEO of Ongresso, a Market Specialist in Latin America who assists foreign companies with market entry and the achievement of long term success in the region. In his 9 years in Latin America, Daniel has helped an extensive list of clients across a variety of industries understand local business culture and implement their business model. His passion is to share his knowledge with like-minded people to jointly unlock the potential of Latin America. Originally from Switzerland, Daniel has found his new home in Medellin, Colombia. 

Check back soon for Step #5!

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