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Develop Business: Overseas with Border Restrictions

  • Xprenia and t.Hub launched the third webinar of their weekly series
  • Jeslin Bay, Managing Partner of BlackStorm Consulting, was invited to share her insights
  • The topic of the week was “Develop Business Overseas with Border Restriction.
  • Jeslin shared 5 tips on how business owners should take note of before expanding abroad

27 May 2021Jeslin Bay, Managing Partner at BlackStorm Consulting, was cordially invited to share her insights on the topic of the evening — Develop Business Overseas with Border Restriction. Organised by Xprenia, a Singapore-based e-learning platform that features industrial insights, and t.Hub, a start-up accelerator based in Taiwan, the weekly webinar features a different topic every week, discussing what entrepreneurs and business owners have on their minds. As a business scaler, Jeslin lends expertise in business partnerships, human resource, market entry, and business structuring to the Singapore, Malaysian, and Taiwanese markets.

This week, Jeslin discussed a topic close at heart to business owners seeking to expand overseas — Developing Business Overseas with Border Restriction. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been significantly impacted. Some existing business might not be capable of handling the fast-moving and unknown variables of the outbreak. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses today to develop strategies and scenario plans to help them during the crisis and post-crisis. In addition, the pandemic also presented an unprecedented challenge to businesses seeking to expand their global footprint. Business owners are restricted from travelling abroad to provide the personal touch often necessary to seal business deals, not to mention expanding their operations abroad.

As the intermediary for clients from Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, Jeslin shared that all her clients have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to various extents, with a few having to halt their plans to develop overseas altogether. As a result, the need for a structured approach to expand overseas amidst the border restrictions imposed by countries worldwide has never been greater.

In the webinar, Jeslin shared 5 tips for business owners who have bravely decided to follow through with their overseas expansion plans:

  1. Pull relevant “Subject Matter Experts” into a meeting to coordinate departmental goals and plans for the business going forward.
  2. Highlight and reiterate the new challenges that customers face and educate them about the new normal.
  3. Continue innovating if possible, to keep abreast with the changing industrial landscape and changing customer needs.
  4. Reconnect with existing contacts to reaffirm business connections with relevant stakeholders.
  5. Take note that the shift in mass behaviour towards digitisation will be fast-forwarded by at least 5 years

Home-based businesses are on the rise, leveraging on e-commerce and social media platforms,” Jeslin pointed out, a trend that started in China and is seeing increasing adoption across the world.

Subsequently, Jeslin rehashed the various market entry options before sharing her insights on each option amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. She rated distribution highly, encouraging businesses to seek distributors for their products to be sold to, then resold at a mark-up. Direct export and merger and acquisition are doable, while she strongly discourages joint ventures, franchising, and opening subsidiaries or branches overseas during the pandemic.

Jeslin urges business owners to rethink their operational plan to end off the webinar as they seek to expand overseas. She listed a series of questions that businesses should consider from an internal perspective:

  • Does the company have the capacity or ability to build the capacity to handle additional market?
  • What kind of support is needed from the HQ?
  • Does the business model require strong support from the HQ?
  • Do you need to set up a new team in the HQ to handle the expansion?
  • Do you need to send someone from the HQ to do knowledge transfer?
  • Are there standard operating procedures and work processes that help both the HQ and new entity to coordinate well?

To surmise, Jeslin opines that business expansion is still very much possible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, businesses need to examine their capabilities and understand that such ventures need to be strategic and more focused than before. In addition, they need to consider the changes in consumer needs amidst the outbreak, as well as the adaptative behaviours that will be retained post-COVID, and how they will evolve given the acceleration of digitisation.

Watch the full video of the event.

To contact Jeslin for her advisory, reach out to her on Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin/Clubhouse.

Xprenia (https://www.xprenia.com) is a one-stop e-learning platform that presents practical experience and materials from various industry experts with the aim to provide real-life case studies, insights, and know-how for easy application to all entrepreneurs. Our vision is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes professional learning and be your one-stop business solution partner in Asia-Pacific.

t.Hub (https://www.t-hubtaipei.com) is located in Taipei City and sets the thriving Neihu Technology Park (NTP) as its starting point. t.Hub harnesses key partnerships with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and NTP’s advanced technology clusters to create a vibrant innovative start-up community. t.Hub’s transformative energy will lead the city to create smart cities through global cooperation.

t.Hub aims to combine the technological prowess of Neihu with the guidance and research resources of ITRI to assist start-ups. Entrepreneurs can thus find a friendly and conducive environment in the famed Taipei Technology Corridor. They could work with citizens to identify needs, share conveniences, and connect with the world through this innovative park.

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia) is a Singapore-based boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We scale businesses in Southeast Asia.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.