Tip 1: Be open, adaptable, and flexible
Be prepared for some uncertainty when bringing your business to India. According to Mr Prasanna Meduri, COO, Graphene Services, it is not uncommon for business models to change suddenly in India. He gave the example of how a business partner asked his company to provide a service that was on paper an extension of what he originally agreed to, but he did not realise until after the contract was signed that his business model had changed. Hence business owners should have a clear vision of their objectives and simultaneously be adaptable to change.
Tip 2: Get the laws straight
Of course, this is true of every market. But in India specifically, there are many different authorities involved in different layers of processes, so just do due diligence to make sure you are always being compliant with the relevant regulations.
Tip 3: Treat India as an aggregation of markets and strive for product market fit
Development in India is still uneven; there are first world alongside emerging and undeveloped segments of their economy. Business owners can use this chance to refine strategy and target their customers.
India should be treated as an aggregation of markets, where product market fit instead of geography should be the prime consideration of business owners. Due research and customisation to fit demand is absolutely critical to market success.
Tip 4: Test the waters before implementing full scale sales and distribution.
Consider testing the market with a smaller supply chain in a specific locale before implementing it on a larger geographical scale. Businesses can choose from many emerging platforms and channels, and leveraging on models that reduce costs to the customer. Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento are some examples of platforms businesses can use.1
Tip 5: Fund your business with a letter of guarantee
Aside from equities, companies can also seek loans to fund their enterprise. As it may be difficult to secure loans for startups with no track record in India, Singapore companies can get a letter of guarantee from DBS Singapore, for example, to seek a loan from DBS India.
Tip 6: Find a good local partner
If you’re entering the Indian market for the first time, finding a good local partner, at least in the beginning, might prove useful for your business. A good local partner can act as an intermediary with the government and provide usable knowledge of the local market.
Tip 7: Use Enterprise Singapore’s in-market partners
As part of Enterprise Singapore’s Plug and Play Network programme, we can get you connected to valuable in-market partners in India, including startup incubator Startup-O and co-working space 91springboard. Businesses use these services to get connected with investors, mentors and partners to get a foot in the door.
To learn how our market partners can help businesses expand into India, read the third article in this three-part series here.