If you’re looking to expand and export into new markets, you can’t go far wrong with breaking into the Brazilian market. The first in the so-called BRIC economies forecasters told us to keep an eye on, Brazil has been going from strength to strength in recent years and now has a thriving market for goods and consumer services. With a rising population and industries experiencing a boom, Brazil is just ripe for small- and medium-sized British companies to tap into, and the Brazilian government is keen on foreign investment.
If you own a small- or medium-sized enterprise and are looking to expand to Brazil, here are ten top tips to help you break into this dynamic and exciting emerging market…
Find out what works
The first thing you need to do is find out whether there is a market for your particular goods or services. Remember that what sells well in the United Kingdom may not necessarily go down so well in the Brazilian market, so explore other companies selling similar things and see whether they’ve established a foothold. You want to see that they’re able to sell but that they’re not going to monopolise the sector you want to break into.
Get some introductions
As with many South American countries, business in Brazil is largely done through friends of friends and building up relationships. Make sure that you attend social events and are introduced to people who can help, then gain their trust and confidence by proving you can deliver.
Connect with fellow entrepreneurs
Never underestimate the power of friendships, especially when they’re with fellow small- and medium-sized business owners who are based in Brazil or already have a foothold in the country and know the ropes. Tapping into their knowledge as to the way in which business and the markets work in Brazil could be invaluable when you’re just getting started.
Know your competitors
Getting to know your competitors will not only give you an idea as to whether there’s a market for your product, it will also help you identify gaps in that market and suggest what you need to be doing differently. Make sure what you’re offering is unique and that there will be enough demand for it.
Connect with the local and state Government
Different countries operate under different rules and regulations. Make sure you fully understand the legal side of things and ensure you comply with all the laws which apply to you. Talking with the local and state governments will ensure you don’t inadvertently breach any of the rules, and having officials on-side can only help as you attempt to break into new markets.
Know which sectors need investment
The Brazilian market has a booming tech industry, but there are plenty of other sectors just crying out for new players and more investment. Make sure you’re aiming at a market which actually needs you and wants your goods or services.
Visit startup accelerators
You need to connect with as many people as possible, and these hubs can help you gain introductions with communities you will rely upon for your exports. The key is talking to as many people as possible and winning their support.
Invest in good marketing and publicity
All businesses in this day and age need a strong internet presence regardless as to what sector they’re in and what they sell. In Brazil digital marketing is as important as it is in the UK. Make sure you invest in good, correctly-translated marketing content for any press material you publish and invest in good SEO channels to drive trade to your website and boost trade.
Invest in the local community
Brazil has a population of over 207 million people, and despite its strengthening economy it still has a lot of social problems to be solved. The Brazilian government is keen for foreign companies to move in, but it also expects to see those companies put something back into the country. Offering support to the local community through jobs, training, consultancy or qualifications will bring both them and the government on-board and build awareness of your presence.
Understand the business culture
Take some time to understand how business works in Brazil. This is a very social culture, and attending events and making friends is key to breaking into new markets, so be open and approachable, and always accept invitations!
The opportunities for small- and medium-sized business trying to break into Brazil are huge. With the country and economy growing rapidly and with an ever-expanding population, getting a foot in the door now and exporting your goods and services to this new market will reap great rewards in both the short- and long-term.
Some stats about the Brazilian market
- Population: 207.8 million
- 65 million Facebook users
- 41.2 million Twitter users
- E-commerce sales (2016): R$ 44 billion which represents £10 billion (source: eBit Webshoppers report)
- Workforce education levels:
- 11 years or more: 42% (2015), was 33% in 2007
- 15 years or more: 13% (2015), was 8.9% in 2007
Helena Kleist is the COO, Digital Strategist and Lead Consultant at IdeooHub a London based digital marketing consultancy that offers digital marketing, digital analytics, SEO and brand communication consultancy services for UK businesses looking to invest and expand to Brazil and foreign companies looking to move to the UK. She is also a member of TLA, Tech London Advocates Latam, Federation of Small Businesses and an advisor for international affairs for the Regional Council of Business Administration of the Santa Catarina state. IdeooHub also have a wide range of partners for other localisation services.
For more tips on exporting to Latin America in general, read our guide about why you are exporting to a region, not just 1 country.