28 Nov Starting A New Venture Abroad
Learning Through Competition
In the past two years we’ve seen our fair share of rather pivotal elections, votes and referendums. We watched the South African municipal elections, US elections, Brexit referendum, German and French elections and several other big decisions being made throughout the world which affect the world globally.
Of course Rand Rescue would not be so presumptuous as to prescribe to anyone which party or politics to support and ascribe to – this is very much a personal decision, and our individual convictions are not what we want to focus on in this blog.
The neck and neck race for highly contested regions and countries have, however, filled us with some anticipation and excitement. Much like the Olympic games or sporting events, we’ve much to learn from competition. And for those starting off fresh in a new country, we can learn much from competition.
Healthy competition drives improvement
Politics, like any business, has leadership which promises services based on the needs of an end-user. And the masses tend to demand more and greater things from their leaders – much the same as they do from their service providers.
In politics and business, this points towards possible service level improvements precipitated by an upsurge in competition. It may be true in business that most companies would prefer the winning stake and biggest slice of the market pie, but it definitely holds true that healthy competition drives improvement. Uncontested enterprises risk falling victim to the luxury of their own dominance. And this risk manifests in business edging towards indolence, indifference and mediocrity. Without competition there is little motivation to reassess your service delivery, strive for innovation or provide more economical pricing structures. Without contention regulation tends to be lax, exposing both your business and consumers to arrant blunders and damages.
Conversely, healthy competition eliminates complacency and drives your business to better understand their customer. Whether in a road race, politics or in the business world, our competitors drive us to become better, faster and more efficient.
If you’re starting off a new position or venture in a new country the competition may therefore perplex you some. Or perhaps you even find that the “native” businesses or service providers are opposed or hostile towards you. This, you should be reminded, is just normal behaviour – because competition means that they also need to put in some more effort.
The science behind better achievements
In a 2011 experiment by the University of Northumberland, cyclists were asked to pedal as hard as they could on stationary bikes for the equivalent of 4 000 metres. They were then asked to each cycle against an avatar – which they’d been told was cycling at their own best times. In actual fact, these avatars were programmed to move at speeds exceeding those of the cyclists’ best speeds. The outcome of this experiment was that all cyclists matched the times of the avatars, essentially beating their personal best times.
One can also look to the Olympic games and other athletics to see how competition has lead to improvements – records are being broken every day. We could, of course, say that technology, athletic training and the understanding of human physiology has improved – which is true – but it is our competitive nature which leads to breakthroughs.
And so, back to business, it’s clear that what we should strive for is not to remain unrivalled, but rather to up the ante – to seek out a better class of competitor. Our aim should be to let this competition hold us accountable to our clients and stakeholders. We should strive to be the best, not because there’s no one around to disprove us, but because we are the top choice based on our performance.
We can indeed claim that dominance is part of human nature, but is it not also in our nature to seek improvement in our own lives and those of others? Verily the fruit of our efforts will be so much sweeter if grown with the enhanced labour of healthy rivalry.
Some pointers for starting a new venture abroad
If you’re starting off a new job or venture in a new country, we have a few tips for making a success:
Research your competition
If you want to make it big abroad, it’s important to know your competition. Before embarking on your new “journey” take time to know the ins and outs of your competitors’ dealings – including their operations, history and how their clients perceive them. This will allow you not only to replicate such strengths in your own business, but to overcome shortfalls in competitors’ business and fill gaps in the market.
Be ethical in your dealings
Healthy competition and positive progress is only possible through ethical service delivery and dealings. Conduct your business in a transparent and honourable way and this will force your competitors to make improvements in their own business which are also ethical and honourable. This is the only way for industries to see true innovation and growth.
Bring your heritage to the table
As a foreigner, you’ll undoubtedly have points of reference, experiences and knowledge which your local competition will not be aware of. Harness problem statements and solutions from your own heritage, culture and country to solve problems in your new home in an authentic way. Also call on old colleagues, friends and mentors to advise on solutions to problems they’re not facing in their area – diverse views are pillars of strength for new ventures.
Up your game
Whether you like it or not, you will have to up the ante if you’re to survive in a competitive world. Be sure to educate and train yourself in methodologies and regulations and get all the necessary accreditation and training relevant to your region and industry so you can be fighting fit and ready to win the race.
Your new home and old home aside – remember to learn more about the rest of the world and advancements made elsewhere if you’re to stay relevant. Seek out feedback from individuals and communities not yet within your target market to find solutions to future problems or harness opportunities not yet available.
We hope your new venture abroad is a successful one and that you’ll build a new life abroad in no time. If you need assistance in moving your funds across borders – talk to Rand Rescue. We’ve got a 100% success rate and understand the intricacies and challenges expats face in their new homes.