Building A Culturally Smart Business

Building a successful business requires that you:

 Identify what customers want
Create a clear strategy explaining how you’ll provide it
Develop a strong set of numbers to explain why your idea makes sense

But unless your business is “culturally smart”, your efforts may go to waste. A “culturally smart” business is one that is aware of and actively making efforts towards, adapting to the culture of the environment in which it operates.  What does this mean for African entrepreneurs? It means that an approach which is successful in the West, might not work as well here.    

Let’s take look at marketing for example. Traditional Western advertising focuses on TV, Radio, Billboards and the Web. While these forms of outreach can create some measure of success, it’s also important to think about how African s learn. Our society is one that is close knit and as a result many of our interactions, whether business or personal, are based on referral. Friends and family tell you about something or someone and this becomes the standard against which you make decisions. Our reliance on referrals also implies that we highly value personalized services. If we patronize your business and you don’t make an effort to remember our name and greet us, we’re not coming back.
What does this mean for African entrepreneurs? You can still invest some resources in traditional advertising. After all, the African consumer is constantly evolving and with improved access to television and the internet, these forms of outreach are becoming more relevant. At the same time however, it is important to remember where you are and who you’re working with.  What’s the best way to reach African consumers?

Find out where your customers are and go meet them
Don’t just tell them how your product works, show them
 Let them know where they can find you if they have questions
Identify early adopters of your product and build a local network amongst them to establish credibility
Good Luck!

Visit us on the web: www.startsmartgh.com Send us an email: startsmart.info@gmail.com

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