The New Normal Best Practices for Post COVID-19 Market Entry

In this post-COVID-19 world, we hear the expression the New Normal used frequently with regard to society and business. A timely question then is how will this New Normal apply to commerce and specifically international market entry?

In a Deep Data webinar jointly hosted by the Israel Economic Trade Mission to Korea in Seoul and Cardumen Capital based in Tel Aviv, I spoke to a wide audience of Korean companies on how I saw market entry under post-COVID-19.

For one, and as in the past, ‘need and demand’ have always been the drivers for a successful business market entry. Goods or services must match what is lacking in a market and enterprisingly fulfill a need or gap in that local market.

 
 

For example, in a market like South Korea with an abundance of pizza and fried chicken eateries introducing either fast food would be an uphill battle. In contrast, with innovative hubs like Israel and South Korea as developers of new AI, robotics, drone, deep learning, and mobility technologies, a company offering its unique product or service has a much greater probability of success in that they provide needed cutting-edge solutions. More so, these technologies will drive the transition to the digital economy accelerated by COVID.

Second, for successful market entry selecting the right partners goes without saying. I feel a best practice is to find a partner that has both an industry sector plus international experience working with other cultures and approaches to business. Teams tied to the project must be skilled in a deep understanding of the local culture, norms, and expectations. With the new normal of COVID-19, a partner who has also weathered past crises and business disruptions would be a huge bonus, too.

And finally, the third-best practice is the need for flexibility. If there is one lesson from COVID-19 it is the need for businesses to be open and flexible. As an example, we now see the widespread adoption of video conferencing during the pandemic instead of insisting on in-person meetings.

 
 

That said, few market entry projects succeed in a climate of rigid thinking on either side of the partnership. Give and take fosters collaboration, which builds relationships nurtured over time.

Even under adversity, fulfilling a demand, the right partner, and coupled with flexible and adaptive transformative thinking means all parties will see a project through to execution and beyond—to both side’s mutual benefit, as well as the individuals tied to the market entry partnership.

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