Starting a new business in Thailand for an expat

July 15, 2020

If you are a parent in Thailand with an idea to start a new business, here are some ideas on going about it. Let’s think through the five stages of process using Project Management tools – 

1) Define

It all starts with an idea. Filter through the several ideas that you may have and zero in on the one idea for the product or service you wish to offer. 

2) Assess 

The assess phase includes feasibility study which includes understanding of the Thai culture and recognizing the customers’ preferences. 

Starting business thailand

Feasibility Study

  • Do a detailed analysis of the market and understand what Thailand has to offer 
  • Who are your competitors, and what do they have to offer? 
  • Be sure to define the risks involved and design mitigation strategies as well 
  • With the help of a local expert, clearly draft how much investment/ capital will be required? What will the ROI be? 

Culture

  • One of the most important things to take into consideration is the cultural aspect of Thailand. Have an open mind, lots of patience and be willing to learn quickly. On a personal note, it will be very useful for you to learn to speak the Thai language too.
  • Define the customer profile and have and recognize the needs of the customers 

3) Design (keeping cultural context in mind) 

Talk to as many people as you can, get lots of referrals and work only with the people you have a good rapport with. Enjoy the journey of learning by doing for the culture, language, designs, concepts and people’s behavior. 

It’s time to design and package the business based on the intended customers’ profile. In simple words, this would be “design a market go to strategy”. The market penetration strategy would include the channels and activities that are suitable to the audience. For channels we can have traditional channels or the online channels such as social media. 

Top tip: The mobile app called “Line” is the most popular messenger app in Thailand 

4) Implement

Yay! It’s time to go live with your new business idea! 

Once you are all set, you can seek assistance from Umpire Legal for company registration, contract drafting and all other legal consultation. 

Get your hands and feet into the game by working hand in hand with the locals to set up shop. This should help you get a taste of the local Thai culture and working style. While you are at it, you get to practice your language skills with the local workers. 

Pick the date of the launching of the business, and have a grand opening party ☺ 

Another tip: Thailand has plenty national holidays which happen to fall on either Friday or Monday. It’s best to avoid any major launch over a long weekend. 

5) Monitor

Be prepared to be on standby for the next 30 days as teething problem may arise. Watch & learn and continue to adapt as you go. Make necessary changes and keep growing till you are ready with your next big idea and re-start the entire process. 

Wishing you all the best with your business launch, and enjoy the ride with your family while you are in Thailand. 

About the Author: 

The Founder of New Era Consulting, Shveta Kukreja is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2013. She has extensive hands on experience in planning, training and executing projects from her tenure Head of Client Experience and Project Management at Standard Chartered Bank, Bangkok, Thailand. Find out more about Shveta’s professional background on LinkedIn

One of the chief objectives is to step into the clients’ shoes to truly understand the needs of the business. With the correct mix of ideal partners, we aim to deliver a customized plan and strategy for the success of the clients’ business.

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