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Welcome to Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday


Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye Every Sunday

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday

Local scaled

Never Underestimate The Power Of Local Knowledge

It’s easy to think you can sell it anywhere because you have a global brand. But suppose you don’t have a local presence in every country where your product or service is sold. In that case, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers on their level—and build relationships that will drive sales and loyalty.

As your brand develops internationally, you must navigate cultural differences and find solutions that work for your client. But that kind of understanding can sometimes be more intuitive. It takes years of experience working with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” And while that can be true in some cases, it’s also essential to have a solid understanding of your business partners, suppliers and customers before jumping into a new venture. This is especially true when expanding into unfamiliar territory, as you’ll want to be sure that all parties involved understand each other’s needs and interests. But how do you get that knowledge? Here are four areas we recommend researching when exploring an international expansion:

Why you need local knowledge when expanding internationally

You may have the best idea and a proven track record with customers. But you need to understand the local culture, laws, and regulations so that your business can succeed.

Make sure to take someone from your target country with you for on-site visits to get a feel for what it will be like to live there. For example: If someone is going to run an office in Japan but hasn’t been there before, ask them to bring along their spouse or significant other so they can experience what it’s like staying in hotels (do they have fire alarms? do they have emergency exits?), eating at restaurants (what kinds of food are popular?) etc..

Four areas you should research when expanding internationally

  • PESTLE country risks
  • Local laws
  • Your embassy in the target country

It’s essential to research beyond what is available online. You can also leverage your local team and contacts for additional insight. For example, if you’re expanding internationally, it may be helpful to talk with members of your advisory board who have experience doing business overseas. They might know about specific challenges or opportunities you don’t see just by reading industry publications or government websites.

You can also research what laws are in place and how they might affect your business. For example, suppose you’re considering expanding into a country with strict labour laws that require certain employee benefits, such as healthcare or vacation time. In that case, hiring people at your current wages may be challenging.

P.E.S.T.L.E country risks

PESTLE country risks are the political, economic, social, legal, technological and environmental risks that affect your business in a particular country. It is the norm within large multinational corporations to use the PESTLE acronym to evaluate the risk of doing business in a new market. You can also use it when looking at opportunities for expansion or growth. To ensure you are only exposed to manageable risks of your business expansion into new markets, it’s essential to understand how each type of risk impacts your business model and how you will mitigate them.

The PESTLE acronym stands for: -Political risk: The risk of changes in government policy. -Economic risk: The impact of macroeconomic trends and conditions on your business. -Social risk: Changes in social attitudes, values, and behaviours may affect your company’s performance. -Legal risk: Changes in the law or legal enforcement that could cause unexpected problems for your operation.

Local laws

  • Local laws: Local laws are the legal framework you need to be aware of when travelling in your destination country. They can vary significantly between countries, so you must familiarise yourself with them before you go.
  • How to access local knowledge: The best way to learn about what’s going on in your destination country is through trusted sources like friends, family, and coworkers who have travelled there before. If they’ve been able to find out anything useful about the local culture or customs, ask them! Or, if there’s a guidebook on your destination country (or even a website), use those as well.
  • Penalties for breaking the law: Be sure that you understand what penalties will be enforced if you violate any local laws while visiting another country—this can include fines or jail time, depending on the severity of your offence.

How to access local knowledge

Locally, you can access local knowledge by:

  • Finding someone who has done what you are trying to do.
  • Your embassy in the target country.
  • Your embassy in your home country.
  • Your embassy in another country closer to where you live (for example, if your home country is Canada and you want to travel to Indonesia). This might be challenging because some countries will only give information to non-residents with the reason for knowing about their local laws and customs, but it’s worth checking out anyway!

-Looking online. There are a lot of websites out there that advise on how to travel safely, and many of them include information about local customs and laws. I recommend checking these out before travelling anywhere new (and if you’re going somewhere where English is not widely spoken, print them off).

Treat your venture into a new country with the same level of consideration and thorough research you would if anyone else in your organisation was moving there.

Your venture into a new country should be treated with the same level of consideration and thorough research that you would give to any other business decision.

An essential part of this process is researching the four areas listed below:

  • Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PESTLE)
  • Local laws and regulations (including labour laws)
  • How can you access local knowledge


The world is changing fast, and no one knows that better than your local team. They know the best places to eat, drink and play. They know who’s hiring, what events are coming up and what they need to achieve their goals. What is the best way to understand them? Get out there in the field with them!

Who am I?

I am Dotun Adeoye, a Business Growth Strategist & Author of the 5 Pillars of Business Growth.

I’ve built up my experience via serial entrepreneurship, consulting leadership roles in business growth, business development and product innovation in large companies worldwide in the last 29 years.

Today, I consult with large businesses on how to sustainably grow their businesses, sustain infinite growth, ensure business continuity and achieve a legacy.

Hire Dotun Adeoye to Speak Virtually or In – Person at your company’s event to cover this or other topics. You can also get in touch via +44 203 097 1718


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Innovate Africa

With Dotun Adeoye

Every Sunday


 Teaching business leaders how to grow their businesses & leave their legacy.