By Dan Cheeseman, inspirepattaya.com
For all my years of experience working in the UK fundamentally within the remit of three key areas – developing business propositions, marketing both to consumer and business, and sales – nothing could quite prepare for me for the different set of dynamics at play in Pattaya. After six years I think – and I stress, I think – I have identified what traits and actions you need to do in order to succeed in this diverse city in Thailand.
– Why do Most Expats Fail?
Many expat business ventures in this town fall by the way side and these should not put you off. From the word ‘go’ certain businesses were doomed to fail, normally due to the following: (1) Wrong location, (2) No demand for the business or already operating in a saturated category (e.g. bar), (3) The owner has no experience in the field they have entered. Wherever you are in the world, you would fail on these criteria; in fact most would not even dare set up the business like the one they try with Pattaya anywhere else in the world. So, why do they try in this town? Don’t waste money trying something on a punt or by entering into it half heartedly, you will fail.
If you are going to open a business do so in the belief it will work and not based on the motivation of you want to live in Pattaya and need to find something to do. That will not be enough energy to make a successful business.
Do not open a small little restaurant, hair salon or bar to give your girlfriend ‘something to do’ and to make a little money. It will fail.
Do open a small restaurant, hair salon or bar if you have done your homework and have a business plan. Location based on likely demand, a point of difference (Unique Selling Proposition) to your competitors that customers are attracted too, a considered price point and work out break even points for the business, and how will you market and advertise you business? This is how you should approach your business, and if you don’t have the skill sets to do this either find someone else to help you or you will fail.
If your Thai partner has no experience in the field of work you are considering opening, but says she will learn and her parents or friends will help, then you will fail.
– Get Connected
The one thing that is a real eye opener in Pattaya versus when I worked in the UK is the importance of networking and being in the ‘click’; on the whole you need to be liked. Now certainly there is some importance in the UK of this, after all in my early training I was taught the customer needs to buy into you before they buy into your proposition, but not to the extent this operates in Pattaya.
Many of my presentations I give to customers, dealing with facts and rationale fall on relative deaf ears in many cases. It’s often the fact that they heard about Inspire, like it, like me and want to get involved. Having a good network of friends in business circles opens doors very easily in town.
– Work Hard
Many of us have come to Pattaya for a lifestyle improvement, now the knack is making sure this new lifestyle does not hamper your business venture. Working with a hangover or tiredness is not conducive to creating a successful business. Just as the case would be anywhere else in the world. If your business is failing look at your actions first as opposed to blaming every other factor in town.
– Marketing Follows a Different Set of Rules
When it comes to marketing I consider myself very strong in this area, and rightly so as I worked at the highest levels in the UK and naturally am very creative. Now if you have any marketing knowledge do not assume tried and tested mechanics will work. As they often won’t as I have found on numerous occasions.
The market in Pattaya somehow changes, sorry I think the word should be accentuates, consumer behaviors. It’s difficult in the UK to get a consumer to change their actions or set foot into your business, here it is even more difficult. It is as though we, as consumers, have become lethargic in what we do. Breaking habit is extremely difficult here. I think a shift in advertising spends from traditional media to events based or online platforms are where it seems to be going. The reason I feel this is where it is going is it allows the consumer to interact and have a much more closer experience with you.
One of area is in understanding the difference between advertising and marketing, I am forever hearing these two words used incorrectly. Just because you spend 20,000 baht a month on advertising in no way assures you of more customers and in many cases it has zero impact. This is often not the Medias issues but the messages used in the advert (But you should challenge local media on who their customers really are. The answer of everyone is not acceptable and not true. Do your own research here). Consider the message and align it to your targeted consumer. In addition to this consider the gambit, how do you get the consumer to engage with your advert and what is the clear call to action.
– Let Inspire Help
We may not have all the answers but we do have experience in working in Pattaya and have a professional marketing background. If you have any questions or would like assistance contact me direct at [email protected]