Below is an article I have been sent by a business owner in Argentina whose business is an expanding start-up. I’ve not changed any part of it so it has an authentic Latin American flow and it contains some universal lessons that any new business owner should be aware of.
How to Start and Grow Your Business in Latin America
We are the biggest Price Comparison Site (Aggregator) in Latin America with more than 4.000.000 unique users and 20 employees in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and México.
But this is not about who we are or what we do, this is about how you can replicate this tactics and use them in your Start-Up.
1) Be diligent: There is not shortcut or trick, you have to work hard day and night, no other option. We start 4 years ago and we focus first of all in creating a great Service, you absolutely need to have a product that is a “Solution to an specific Problem”.
Perseverance when you are starting is your best friend. Forget about competition, when you are young what will kill you is not competition it is: Lack of work, lack of a great service or a bad relationship with your co-founder.
2) Always be learning: In order to grow without a big budget (since in this region of the world, Angel Investment and Venture Capital at the time was not an option), we have to learn and keep learning everyday about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Email Marketing. For more information you can check out the SEOMOZ community with a lot of free resources about SEO and MailChimp for newsletters.
We get very close to be experts in these fields, we need new customers and with them we will to generate Revenue in order to grow organically our business. The reality, is that most of the Start-Ups needs to do this, and even more in the first days, when they are testing if their business model will actually work or not.
3) Keep focus on Feedback: What we learn by doing good things and also mistakes, is that listening to your customers is the best way to improve. There is no one in the world, no even the Founders, that know more about what the product should do, than the Customers.
Ask for comments and make surveys about what the Client need and start developing from there.
4) Iterations are the secret to Success: When you start you have only an idea, but the proof of concept in the first touch with the customers always almost fail. That is why you have to be prepare and confident to pivot your business. The best source of information in this subject is Eric Ries with The Lean Startup Movement.
Finally, forget about the Tech Stars like Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., focus first on solving a real problem, what happens next is a matter of testing and learning, all the nice companies that I just mention start this way: no magic, no tricks, no shortcuts, only hard work and dedication.
Christian Rennella CoFounder at elMejorTrato.com the leading Price Comparison (Insurance and Loans) in Argentina. Now also working in Brazil, México and Colombia with oMelhorTrato.com. The Internet market is growing at 43% a year in the region.