Hong Kong-based Kiwi Peter Dingle knows what it takes for start-ups to crack the Asian market, having helped more than 75 in the past few years.
Dingle is one of four partners of Startup Course - a bootcamp and online course aimed at helping companies launch and grow. He was in Auckland last week speaking at Callaghan Innovation's event Callaghan Connect.
According to Dingle, New Zealanders were good at launching in Europe and the US but many had not considered the Asian market.
Having lived in Asia for 15 years and mentoring businesses, Dingle had some advice for start-ups looking to break into the Asian market.
• Go there. Spend time in the market talking to the consumers and make sure you have developed a prototype that you can start testing in front of real customers. Build those ties on the ground - that's key.
• Fall in love with the problem and your solution. You might think your solution is fantastic or a wonderful product but the market may not feel the same way, so you might need to pivot or modify your idea so it has a better product market fit.
• Hustle. Investors want founders or business owners that are really getting out there and hustling with their business. To build confidence in an investor you need to prove you are a specialist in the problem that exists and that you are in touch with the customers' needs. Investors want to know and have confidence in you as a business builder.
• Go-to market planning. How are you going to get into the market - through a partner, or a distributor or an existing business that's in the market and established or are you going to use direct e-commerce platforms or are you going to use direct e-commerce platforms or build your own channel so have a proper plan. If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
• Leverage the New Zealand brand. Marketing the New Zealand brand in Asia is not difficult at all. Asia has a very high regard for the country and products and services from there. New Zealand is associated with high quality and integrity so utilise that.