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What to Avoid When Exploring Indian Markets for Partners?

This write-up is from a perspective where a global firm is looking for an Indian business partner and not where the Indian partner already has a need and is looking for a Global firm. In the second scenario the balance of power shifts to the other side.

Avoid being too optimistic on closing the deal quickly – Unlike before lot of companies in India are fairly diversified. They have a big portfolio and they know that with the Indian markets opening up, there will be many more business opportunities on their way. They are not willing to jump in into the deals instantaneously; they are willing to wait it out. However they do like to go for companies which have a unique selling proposition or advantageous positioning. They take more time to decide now to make sure, what they are trying to get in fits in with their organization objectives.

Mix written and verbal communicationIndians are emotional in business and they like people to people interaction. They are less likely to go into a relationship purely based on non-personal communication (email etc…). It would be a good idea to pick up the phone and speak with them to develop some bonhomie. At the same time having all commitments in writing is a must, to avoid disruptions later.

Avoid approaching Indian market with a single solution mindset - Some Indian partners might have a propensity to minimize their initial investments / risks and could want the approaching firm to bear some initial commercial and technological risks. Have your game plan ready for discussions and options ready to propose! It has to be a win-win.

Indian culture has more flexibility for timing, distance, value i.e if someone says I will get back to you in a day or two, it would simply mean I will get back to you soon and not one or two days technically. Similarly a 15 minutes journey would mean it’s more than something which is 5 minutes away but may not take 15 minutes precisely, so you might have to learn to avoid taking few things on the face value.

Everything howsoever sells in India - Let’s just go out, find a business partner and boom!!! goes the sale. This may not be so easy because the needs of the Indian market and the dynamics could be much different from your markets elsewhere. Similarly the business model which worked elsewhere may not be relevant here due to varied reasons. Knowing the customer needs and competition could be critical. Avoid jumping in without this initial groundwork…it could worth be a very wise investment.

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About The Author

Founder & Managing Director at Expand in India, and IIM Lucknow Alumni having close to 20 years experience in business management, industrial management, strategic planning, marketing, operations, team building, leadership , consulting and six sigma process orientation.

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