How to Become an Entrepreneur in Latin America
Latin America is one of the world’s most exciting territories, with growth in countries such as Chile, Colombia and Ecuador fuelling an expanding middle class and a higher GDP. Whether you were born and raised in Latin America or you moved to the territory, stepping back from the working world and becoming an entrepreneur can offer a wide range of benefits, not least better career prospects and the chance to make some serious money away from the everyday grind. Becoming an entrepreneur in Latin America and taking advantage of its changing economies and attitudes requires hard work, determination and risk-taking, but with the right techniques and strategy, you can get there and launch your own award-winning business.
Preparing to Launch
- Spot a gap in the market. Research into Latin America and spot a gap in the market for a new product or service. In Peru, for example, reforestation is one of the country’s emerging markets, whereas investments in Panama are creating opportunities for businesses wanting to appeal to an affluent audience.
- Choose a country. Choosing a country to become an entrepreneur can take time, but you should ‘follow the money’ and develop a business venture in a country you think you’ll perform well in. Research into each economy and target audience before you get started to ensure you’ve made the right decision.
- Develop a product or service. Developing a unique product or service should be the next step on your list. Your product should solve a problem for Latin American consumers, whether you’re launching a FinTech brand that will improve online banking or you want to sell furniture made from 100% recycled materials.
- Decide on a name. Think carefully when choosing a name for your business, as your name is an extension of your business. Choose a name that counts and makes sense, bring in some local flavour and inject some humour and personality into your name. Don’t be boring, keep it snappy and think about the way it looks and sounds in promotional materials — and have it translated into Spanish, too.
- Do your market research. Speaking to your potential customers can help to iron out problems with your product or service and ensure you reach the right audience. The last thing you want to do is to launch in Latin America, only to realise a competitor is doing something similar or offering a cheaper service. Of course, you might know your industry better than anyone else, but all good entrepreneurs know that communication is essential and that the customer is always right.
- Put together a business plan. Form a business plan and think about your costings, expected revenues and cash flow. You may have to use ‘pie in the sky’ figures to begin with, but it’s the initial business plan that will get you noticed and help you secure funding, so take your time and rely on resources online to help.
- Register your business: Incorporate your company as soon as you have your business plan ready so that you can begin trading and making money. It can be scary and time-consuming to fill out all of the necessary paperwork, but once you have, you’ll be closer to becoming an entrepreneur than ever before.
Growing Your Business
- Outsource tasks. Outsourcing tasks is a great way to save time and have your business ready to grow as quickly as possible. Latin America is home to millions of freelancers and experts who can work on things such as marketing, finances, law, and business development, so utilise their skills and experience and outsource tasks that take too long or that you’re not very good at.
- Find employees. Recruit top talent in your chosen country, as use Latin American jobs boards or recruitment agencies if you’re struggling. Remember that the best entrepreneurs hire people that are better than them, so look for the very best employees and go through multiple rounds of interviews to ensure you select the right candidates, and ask a business partner to help you make a decision.
- Choose your office. Decide on the right location for your office space. City centre offices are often more expensive and harder to find, but they mean that you can meet with clients and potential customers much more quickly. Offices on the outskirts, on the other hand, are closer to residential zones and are cheaper to rent and run, which will lower costs and increase your profitability.
- Apply for funding. Applying for funding will help to unlock capital that can be used to properly grow your business, whether you use your funds to pay for marketing or business development. Before you do, decide whether you can fund your business on your own through savings, which will allow you to maintain ownership of your business and enjoy more profits than if they were split.
- Start marketing. Marketing your business to Latin American consumers is important, so use social networking and experiment with traditional marketing techniques like newspapers and event marketing. The more you do to spread the word about your business, the more customers you’ll get.
- Build relationships. Attend networking events in Latin America to build business relationships and find new clients, and use LinkedIn to stay in touch and nurture those relationships. You could host your own business networking events, or arrange regular catch-ups with contacts to boost relationships, generate leads and drive sales for your business, and pair up with other entrepreneurs to sell each other’s products to maximise profitability.
- Aim for the stars. To become an experienced entrepreneur in Latin America, you’ll need to be patient, work hard and be prepared for all possibilities. The products and services you launch on day one may change significantly over the months and years, so aim for the stars and see where it takes you.
Some further tips about succeeding within the Latin American market-place
Good Luck !!