The Sri Lanka Indonesia Business Council (SLIBC) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce together with the Indonesian Embassy in Sri Lanka organised an interactive luncheon session under the theme ‘How to enter new overseas markets and be successful’ aiming at helping prospective businessmen.
Business Council President Jayantha Rathnayake in his opening remarks summarized the objective saying that in the recent past the country has witnessed the Sri Lankan exports to Indonesia dwindling while the imports from Indonesia rising. The SLIBC wants to address this issue in the best way possible and hence this event.
Indonesian Ambassador in Sri Lanka Harimawan Suyitno as the patron of the council in his welcome speech explained the opportunities that exist in Indonesia. As the Indonesian population being young, the need to harness new niche markets was to be looked as an opportunity.
MJF Group – Dilmah Director Dilhan Fernando addressing the audience emphasized on a few vital areas to be focused when entering a new market, based on his own experience in the Indonesia as a successful exporter of Sri Lankan tea among many local as well as imported varieties.
* Do not pose as a threat to existing local products - be rather a complimentary product.
* Be committed and passionate - do your homework, study the market well.
* Value addition - give value to your product, rather than competing with existing products.
* Be innovative – e.g. the desire to share the pleasure in tea with a new generation of tea drinkers saw the birth of the t-Series, designer gourmet teas and an entirely contemporary approach to a traditional beverage.
* Do not sit on your laurels - enter the market as a small and medium enterprise (SME), look at new businessmen, spend time in the market, always maintain premier quality and authenticity were the main points in his deliberations.
Mangala Goonatilleke, Group Executive Director of Douglas & Sons (Pvt.) Ltd and DSL Group of Companies, a leading importer of tyres, shared his trade secrets and experiences with the audience and stressed following points:
* Main emphasis was given on the quality of the product.
* Maintain a very good rapport with the employees, as a satisfied work force is a treasure.
* Training to gain the familiarity and product knowledge.
* If local production is considered, technical know-how and quality machinery to be looked at.
Business Council Vice President Kalinga Wijesekera moderating the sessions summarized the discussion and opened the session for Q&A, which offered a good opportunity for those who were present to get many interesting points clarified through two experienced entrepreneurs.