Murray Steyn
Murray Steyn Executive Head: Wholesale

It is exciting to expand into new markets, but the failure to correctly translate and localise products has landed many businesses in hot water. Here are our top tips for making your move into this burgeoning marketplace.

four business people looking at a laptop

KFC’s Finger-Lickin’ Good slogan was translated into Mandarin as We’ll Eat Your Fingers Off. Or how about the Pepsi slogan We bring You back to Life? It was translated into Mandarin as We bring your Ancestors back from the Grave. And Schweppes Tonic Water transformed into Schweppes Toilet Water when it was translated into Italian.

Lost in translation aside, Africa is an attractive option for your ISP business looking to increase its market share, boost profits and expand into new regions. Mistakes in translation can be amusing or insulting, but whether you are an infrastructure provider or an ISP with an eye on expanding into Africa, it is important to understand the business landscape and preferences of African market places. It is the only way to ensure that your partnership efforts are a success.

Here are our top tips for making your move into this burgeoning marketplace.

  • Understanding the market: Every region is different, and businesses must understand these unique market conditions. One way to avoid making mistakes is to gain insights from partners on the ground. It is best to work with infrastructure partners or ISP providers from African countries that understand the intricacies and norms of the various African cultures. It is vital that you successfully partner with an established ISP to create offerings that match the needs of targeted customers.
  • Communication: It is inevitable that you will have to address language and cultural differences when expanding your network reach into Africa. Businesses need to acknowledge how people living in Africa communicate. With this in mind, it is easier to work with a wholesale partner that has an established infrastructure and network. This linkup is essential to ensuring that communication with the providers is guaranteed.
  • Geographic spread: You cannot create partnerships if you do not know the landscape and reach of the ISPs or infrastructure providers. Given Africa’s size, no business should assume that it can enter the continent without considering where their partners are in relation to each other, where potential overlaps may occur or worse, without noting the gaps in coverage. Partnering with a provider that offers a range of infrastructure pertinent to its region and delivery is the ideal solution to handling this geographical challenge.
  • Culture: Africa is a diverse continent with a variety of norms and cultures unique to the continent. For example, when conducting business in Africa, remember that African business culture is driven by relationships. Businesses that fail to develop these relationships with their African partners may fall short.

Continue to our Expanding your business network into Africa guide for more tips that will help you to make a success of your African adventure.

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