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Doing business in the rough-and-tumble arena of underdeveloped countries involves adhering to global business basics, such as researching markets thoroughly, while coping with surprises, writes a veteran international entrepreneur who first took his company overseas three decades ago. In entering the "emerging markets," entrepreneurs need to keep close tabs on how (and if) they will be paid, as well as on local managers overly eager to make sales.
Foreign markets enable entrepreneurs to increase revenue and expand markets, according to the author, who took her software company into Europe after only three years.
Making customers happy is the key to an entrepreneur's single most important job--identifying, finding, and keeping customers, says the founder of one of the country's premier direct-mail businesses. Company owners must devise a system for maintaining rapport with buyers even as the business grows, the author advises. Included are suggestions for doing so, such as selecting the right products for the right customers and offering money-back guarantees.
Three dogs, two guys, and one 59-cent biscuit cutter add up to powerful national public relations: A high-brow bakery for dogs becomes the toast of prestigious publications and broadcast outlets (The Wall Street Journal, the cover of Forbes, People magazine and The Oprah Winfrey Show). In this engaging article, its co-founder serves up tips that are as tough as the business is winsome for your doing the same. Among the suggestions: massage that rookie from the local weekly.
Niche companies needn't be intimidated by their large corporate competitors because even the biggest companies must be adept at marketing differently to discreet audiences, writes the author, who founded the country's leading black-owned media concern. The solution is to stick to your specialty, maintain excitement with new ideas, and commit resources to expanding the brand.
Earl Graves, the founder and publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine, offers statistical evidence and his own business experience to explain businesses lose out when they dismiss the fact that the African-American consumer is most interested in a product or service's business value, not it's perceived social value. The incorrect assumptions about the African-American market that many businesses make can be corrected through, as Graves has discovered, with persistence and careful explanations of the overwhelmingly positive qualities of the African-American consumer.
Niche businesses either start with specific offerings for a discreet audience or carve out specialities within a broader base. Either way, entrepreneurs who operate niche companies must understand themselves, their goals, and their customers, in order to deliver marketing campaigns that are simple and effective.
Make e-mail your ally to enhance the way you market and sell products and services over the Internet, writes this technological entrepreneur. As you turn to e-commerce, turn first to e-mail to develop a list of potential customers who also want to hear from you, get the word out about your offerings, and eventually customize your pitches for individual buyers, the author advises. Just avoid the big e-mail no-no: spamming.
Netpreneurs--entrepreneurs who are building Internet-related businesses--are a breed apart, argues the writer. In building a new economy with vastly different attributes, these business owners must react quickly, adapt deftly, and zero in on specialties, or "niches," conducive to online commerce, says the author, who founded a software company in the 1970s and, more recently, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities take advantage of the Internet.
As what is known as one-to-one marketing takes hold, entrepreneurs must take the measure of customers as individuals and provide precisely what each customer craves--or risk extinction. The author advises consumer-oriented businesses to listen, probe, and touch, gathering information about each potential buyer, asking open-ended questions, and keeping in contact on a regular basis.
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