Nigel is a strategic business advisor with experience that spans from start up to exit, through growth, funding and international trading. He has worked and lived in Asia, USA and Europe and has deep UK – India expertise from his time in Mumbai. Nigel was appointed by UK India Business Council to run the Government funded Urban Gateway Programme and now advises companies on the unique bilateral opportunities in UK & India.

  1. Challenges for companies entering markets?

Don’t over-research. Be aware that Governments have their own agenda. Listen to what businesses and customers want. The best way to do that is to go there! Visit the country and speak to as many people as possible.

  1. Opportunities for companies entering markets?

Look for gaps in the market that aren’t serviced by domestic businesses. Domestic products will always be cheaper. Look at what is needed in country. Don’t think because it works here it will work there, you have to identify what people are looking for that they don’t have. Your goal should be to fill unsatisfied demand in country.

  1. Why did you want to join Trade Horizons?

I’ve known Trade Horizons for a long time.

“I was always impressed by their innovative and pragmatic approach to international expansion. When I returned to the UK after 12 years overseas, it was an easy decision rather than build my network from nothing, I’d join an established global network of highly experienced consultants.”

  1. How do you think the countries you are familiar with pitch themselves? eg India / UK

India is a fast growing market with a massive domestic demand fueled by a growing middle class with disposable income. Half the population is under the age of 25 and are highly aspirational for western quality goods. Though prices are rising India is still seen as a country with a low-cost yet well-educated, workforce.

  1. Cultural differences?

The cultural differences are infinite, but the biggest challenge is interpretation of the English language. Despite (or because) English is the language of business there is a divide of understanding between Indian optimism and British realism. A respected Indian businessman who worked for a British corporate in India and the UK, once said: “Indians over-promise and under deliver; the British under-promise and over deliver.”

  1. Surprises?

Despite the chaos, India works!

  1. How do companies’ market to their customers in market?

There are multiple routes to market, but the biggest differences are between B2B and B2C. The traditional guidance is to find an agent or distributor, but this is fraught with challenges, disappointment, and hidden costs. B2C will almost certainly need some kind of network on the ground and the key to this is avoiding exclusivity or long-term contracts and building partnership. B2B companies should always consider ‘going it alone’ with employees/sub-contractors rather than splitting the profit by handing over IP and resources to Agents.

  1. How are foreign brands perceived in market?

India is an extremely cost-conscious/price sensitive market so rather than domestic vs foreign, the question is, what does it cost? Foreign brands are seen as prestigious and therefore appeal to the wealthier elements of society but there are also plenty of examples of foreign brands who succeed purely on quality.

  1. Fun little-known fact about a market you’ve worked in?

India has the third highest population of Muslims in the world, but the main religion is cricket.

  1. Top 3 priorities for 2022?

Leverage developments with the India-UK Free Trade Agreement to boost cross-border trade between the two countries.

  1. Support at least one Indian company entering the UK market.
  2. Support at least one UK company entering the Indian market.

Thanks for talking to us Nigel!