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Connecting with Indian Businesses

Written By: Jagriti Shahi, Business Analyst at global Launch Base

In the dynamic world of global business, companies continually seek opportunities to expand and diversify their operations. The Indian market has emerged as a hotspot for investment, offering tremendous growth potential. However, for successful expansion into India, it's not just about business strategies and market research; building and nurturing personal connections with Indian counterparts play a pivotal role in bridging the gap and ensuring a smooth and successful market entry.

Figure: Number of international startups entered India

In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, companies are constantly seeking opportunities to expand their horizons and tap into new markets. Among these potential growth destinations, the Indian market stands out as a land of immense promise and opportunity. However, while market analysis and strategic planning are undeniably essential, there's an often-underestimated facet of business expansion in India—building and nurturing personal connections with Indian counterparts. These personal relationships play a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless entry and success of foreign businesses in India, acting as a bridge across cultural, operational, and relational divides that can be encountered in the dynamic Indian business environment. In this article, we delve into the profound significance of personal connections in the context of Indian expansion and how they can be the defining factor in unlocking the vast potential that the Indian market holds for businesses worldwide.

For instance, consider the case of ABC Pharmaceuticals, a multinational company aiming to establish a foothold in the Indian pharmaceutical market. ABC Pharmaceuticals recognized the importance of personal connections and wisely chose to partner with a well-connected local expert, Dr. Ravi Sharma, a respected figure in the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Sharma not only provided crucial insights into the regulatory landscape but also facilitated introductions to key decision-makers and industry stakeholders. This personal connection with Dr. Sharma proved to be instrumental in navigating the complex Indian pharmaceutical sector, ultimately leading to the successful market entry of ABC Pharmaceuticals in India. In this article, we delve into the profound significance of personal connections by examining real-world examples like this, shedding light on how they can be the defining factor in unlocking the vast potential that the Indian market holds for businesses worldwide.

Importance of Personal Connection

Figure: Image credit: Statistic Brain - Startup Failure by Industry

Establishing personal connections in the Indian business context is far more than just a customary gesture. It is the foundation upon which successful business relations are built. Here's why personal connections are so important:

Networking Opportunities: Personal connections expand your network of contacts. Your connections can introduce you to other professionals, potential clients, partners, and key stakeholders. These introductions can open doors to new opportunities and business ventures.

Cultural Understanding: In an increasingly globalized world, understanding different cultures is vital. Personal connections with individuals from diverse backgrounds provide insights into cultural nuances, helping to navigate international business and avoid cultural misunderstandings.

Opportunities for Collaboration: Personal connections often lead to collaborative opportunities. Whether it's forming strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or simply sharing resources, these connections can facilitate business growth and innovation.

Problem Solving and Support: When challenges arise in business, personal connections can provide guidance and support. Whether it's seeking advice, assistance, or finding solutions to problems, a strong network of personal connections can be invaluable.

Market Insights: Your personal connections can provide valuable market insights and industry knowledge. They may have information about market trends, emerging technologies, or competitor strategies that you might not have access to otherwise.

Negotiation and Deal-making: In negotiations and deal-making, personal connections can be a game-changer. A strong rapport with the other party can lead to more favorable terms and agreements, as trust is a fundamental element of successful negotiations.

Mentorship and Learning: Personal connections often serve as mentors or sources of inspiration. Learning from the experiences and wisdom of those you're connected to can accelerate your own personal and professional growth.

Long-Term Success: Personal connections contribute to the longevity of a business. They help create a supportive environment and foster loyalty among clients, partners, and employees, which can be crucial for sustainable success.

Reason for Failure in the Indian Market

Figure: Reason for Failure in the Indian Market

As you can see, the lack of local understanding is a significant factor in the failure of international startups in India. This is because the Indian market is very complex and diverse, and it is important to understand the local culture, business practices, and consumer preferences in order to succeed.

Here are some specific examples of how a lack of local understanding can lead to failure:

  • Offering products and services that are not relevant or appealing to Indian consumers. For example, a startup that offers a food delivery service in India may not be successful if it does not offer a variety of Indian cuisines or if it does not understand the different dietary restrictions of Indian consumers.

  • Misunderstanding the Indian regulatory environment. The Indian regulatory environment can be complex and challenging for foreign businesses to navigate. For example, a foreign startup may not be able to operate in India if it does not obtain the necessary licenses and permits.

  • Failing to build relationships with key stakeholders. In India, personal relationships are very important in business. Foreign startups that fail to build relationships with key stakeholders, such as government officials, industry leaders, and customers, are more likely to fail.

Foreign startups that want to be successful in India need to make a concerted effort to understand the local market and culture. They can do this by talking to local customers and businesses, conducting market research, and hiring local employees. They should also be prepared to adapt their products and services to the Indian market.

Indian Counterpart

An Indian counterpart can be an individual, an organization, or a team that plays a significant role in your business expansion endeavors in India. They can be a local partner, distributor, supplier, or even an advisor who understands the local market intricacies. Your Indian counterpart is often your first point of contact and a key player in bridging the gap.

Local Expertise: Indian counterparts have a deep understanding of the Indian market, including its unique regulatory requirements, consumer behaviors, and market dynamics. Their expertise helps foreign businesses tailor their strategies to effectively address the specific challenges and opportunities in India.

Cultural Insight: India's rich and diverse culture can pose challenges to outsiders. Indian counterparts can provide valuable insights into cultural nuances, helping foreign businesses avoid misunderstandings and cultural missteps that could affect their operations.

Networking Opportunities: Indian counterparts typically have extensive networks of contacts, including government officials, industry leaders, suppliers, and potential clients. Leveraging these connections can significantly accelerate a foreign business's market entry and growth in India.

Operational Support: Indian counterparts can assist with practical aspects of business operations, such as setting up a local presence, logistics, supply chain management, and compliance with local laws and regulations. This support streamlines the operational aspects of market entry.

Market Intelligence: Indian counterparts often provide real-time market intelligence, helping foreign businesses stay informed about emerging trends, competitive landscapes, and market shifts. This information is crucial for making informed business decisions.

Crisis Management: In the event of unforeseen challenges or crises, an Indian counterpart can offer guidance and support, helping foreign businesses navigate through difficulties and find effective solutions.

Cultural Mediation: When negotiations and business interactions involve cultural differences, the Indian counterpart can serve as a bridge, facilitating effective communication and understanding between the foreign business and Indian partners or clients.

Compliance and Regulatory Navigation: India's regulatory environment can be complex. An Indian counterpart can help foreign businesses understand and comply with local laws, facilitating a smoother and legally sound market entry.

Risk Mitigation: By providing insights into market risks and challenges, Indian counterparts can help foreign businesses make well-informed decisions, reducing the risk of costly missteps.

Market Entry Strategy: Indian counterparts can collaborate with foreign businesses to develop and implement effective market entry strategies, ensuring that the approach aligns with local market dynamics.

Bridging the Gap

Expanding into the Indian market is not without its challenges. The Indian business environment can be complex and multifaceted, but personal connections with Indian counterparts can help bridge the gap in various ways:

Navigating Bureaucracy: India has a reputation for its bureaucratic red tape. An Indian counterpart who understands how to navigate this bureaucracy can save you time and resources.

Cultural Mediation: Cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings. Your Indian counterpart can serve as a bridge between cultures, helping to mitigate misunderstandings and conflicts.

Adapting to Market Dynamics: Indian markets can change rapidly. Your counterpart can help you adapt to these changes, ensuring that your business strategy remains relevant.


In conclusion, the significance of personal connections with Indian counterparts in Indian business expansion cannot be overstated. These connections offer a deeper understanding of the market, foster trust and credibility, and provide the essential bridge to overcome cultural and operational challenges. To succeed in the Indian market, invest time and effort in building and maintaining these invaluable relationships.

Global Launch Base helps international startups expand in India. Our services include market research, validation through surveys, developing a network, building partnerships, fundraising, and strategy revenue growth. Get in touch to learn more about us.

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