12 Step Plan for Getting Established in the Dutch Market
If you’ve been contemplating a move into the Dutch markets, there’s no better time than right now to start planning it. In the mantra of new year, new you, new business, we thought we’d put together a simple 12-step guide to get you started on your road to move into the Dutch market. These steps are, of course, elementary, but we hope they’ll get you thinking about your journey ahead.
Step 1. Decide if the Dutch Market is Right for You
Before you actually start taking steps to move into the Dutch market, you need to figure out if the Dutch market is really a good fit for you and your company. Do you sell a product or service that aligns with the values and goals of a potential Dutch market? Do you offer something that has yet to be offered or something that is offered but you do it better?
Step 2. Do Your Market Research
If you’ve decided that you are interested in the Dutch market, you need to next do some in-depth market research about where you and your product actually fit in within the Dutch market. What problem that’s not currently being taken care of does your product or service solve for your potential Dutch audience. Or, if it is something that’s being solved already, how do you and your company solve it better?
Figuring out where you fit in will help lend to your next step of creating a business plan to enter the market. Without knowing where you fit in, your plan won’t be as effective, fleshed out and ready for you to actually make the move.
Step 3. Create a business plan
You likely already have a business plan for your company, service or product, but if you’re planning on expanding to a new market you need to create a new one specific to that market. While a lot of your plan will be duplicated from your original, it’s important to have an idea of what it is that you’re setting out to do specifically in the Dutch market.
Some specifics you’ll want to look into, include:
- A detailed Dutch audience profile — who is your target audience?
- A detailed Dutch offering plan — what do you offer your Dutch target audience?
- A detailed Dutch marketing plan — how are you going to find and connect with your target audience?
Step 4. Establish your team
Planning a move into an international market is going to be a challenge for you, yourself and you… and you’re going to need a team to do it successfully. When you’re starting out, no one expects you to put together a full-fledged company but connecting with a consultant that knows the Dutch market and can help you navigate the business red tap can get you off on the right foot.
We might even know one that can help you! It’s us, we’re hinting at us!
Step 5. Revisit, Revise and Get to know
Once you’ve got someone on your side, it’s time to go over your business plan together for your new market. Presumably, they have a pretty good handle on the Dutch market so it’s time to share with them your plan and see where they think you might need a little extra umph!
Step 6. Create a go-to-market strategy
Once you’ve firmed up the overall business plan, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of your marketing strategy and how you’re going to get your product in front of your Dutch audience. This go-to-market strategy is crucial when it comes to making sales in your new market.
Step 7. Get ready, legally
Different countries have different legal requirements, and the Netherlands is no exception. Before you can start to do business, it’s important that you get all of your legal ducks in a figurative row.
Want to get a head start? We’ve got a great article on setting up a Dutch B.V. that you peruse with your morning cup o’Joe.
Step 8. Firm up your finances
Much like your new company’s legal needs, your finance ones will be different in the Netherlands than they are in your home country. So once you’ve gotten your legal matters settled, you’re going to have to focus on your finances.
Curious about opening up a Dutch bank account? We’ve got an article on that!
Step 9. Logistics
Once you are solid on a financial and legal front, it’s time to get the logistics ready — do you need to have a brick-and-mortar store? Are you planning on focusing on eCommerce? Now is the time to put your business plan and go-to-market strategy into practice. It’s time to start setting up and getting ready to introduce the Dutch audience to your company and product.
Need some tips and tricks for understanding the retail selling market in the Netherlands?
Step 10. Set up your dutch sales team
Once you’ve figured out your logistics it’s time to get together your Dutch sales team. You want to focus on finding great people that genuinely believe in your company, product and services. Finding employees in a new market can be a bit intimidating, but we’ve prepared some tips and tricks to help you along your way!
Step 11. Network on the ground
Networking (and partnering) with local companies can help give you a leg up in the sales game. Network marketing is actually the most effective marketing, and when you’re entering a new market it might just be the thing that can set you apart from the rest!
Step 12. Launch!
Now it’s time to get this show on the road and start connecting all of your potential Dutch customers with your amazing products and services.
You’ve now presumably gotten over all of the legal, financial and otherwise business hurdles of entering the Dutch market and now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start selling. Your launch is when you get your product or services in front of your Dutch audience and start turning those potential customers into real customers.
After you’re up and running
Once you’re up and running in the Dutch market, connecting with your new potential customers and hopefully turning them into full customers, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your business in the Dutch market.
How are you doing? Where could you improve? And finally, what are you up to next?
We here at SME Solutions love to help our clients get a handle on the Dutch market and take their new international business to the next level. If you’re planning on entering the Dutch market in 2019, reach out and give us a call — we’re here to help you out!