Ideas for Doing Business in Thailand

If you are thinking about setting up a business in Thailand, then most probably you have visited the country as a tourist and fallen for the lifestyle, natural beauty and low cost of living. As easy as it may sound to start a business in Thailand, there are several cases of failed business ventures by foreigners in the country. The reason why many people fail is because of lack of business plan and lack of clarity on how to approach those businesses. Another major reason for failing is the lack of understanding of local culture, language and business & legal environment. So it is very important to have clarity of thought and proper planning before you dive into this land of immense opportunities.

Once you have made up your mind to start a business in Thailand, you need to narrow down to bright business ideas in Thailand. As a fast growth economy, Thailand has many opportunities to offer. As Thai economy is heavily dependent on tourism, it is not surprising that this industry offers lots of business opportunities to foreigners to do business in Thailand. Following are some business ideas that you can explore if you are serious about starting a business in Thailand:

Bar Business:

This has to be one of the first business ideas that come to your mind when you visit Thailand. There is so much business done by bars in Thailand every night that you are bound to be attracted towards the idea of owning one. While there is lot of money generated by these businesses, it would be naïve to think that it would be easy to run. If you are a not from US, then you need to first find a Thai business partner to start a business in Thailand (you can only own up to 49%). Also, you need to get lots of regulatory licenses and clearances done before opening a bar. You also need to do legal work done with respect to registering the business and leasing out the space. There is a lot of competition in this space and unless and until your location and theme is not attractive, your odds of being successful are lower.

Restaurant Business:

Restaurant business is a promising business opportunity in Thailand if tapped properly. Being a tourist destination, there is huge turnover in restaurant industry. While most requirements for restaurant business are similar to the bar business, the number of licenses required may be a bit less than opening a bar. You would need to obtain food license to serve food, alcohol license for serving alcohol and you also need clearance to play music in your restaurant. To be successful, you need to think about a good theme for the restaurant and find a suitable place to open the same. Remember, location matters a lot. Don’t forget to get clean legal and leasing work done to be safe, otherwise you could be easily be fooled.

Diving School/ Dive Center:

Opening a Dive Center is also an attractive opportunity in Thailand. However, the business is very competitive these days and you only have a six month season to make most of your money. Prices for an office near beach are sky high and you need to start in a big way differentiate yourself from others. Easiest way to go about would be to acquire an existing Dive center and then scale it up.

Resort, Hotel or Guesthouse:

These are capital intensive businesses, but if you have loads of money to invest, you can explore this business idea as well. In an already established tourist place, finding a good place would be a challenge. But you could still be successful if you have proper tie-ups with travel agents and market your business properly online.

Website Translation and Global Business!

Developments in global communication and the advantages of the internet have resulted in language being one of the only real barriers remaining in international business possibilities. Website translation services are at the forefront of breaking through this barrier and creating a business world with no borders. Since 2004, nearly 50% of all online business transactions were completed in a different language to English. Automatic translation tools are almost useless for this purpose as the accuracy cannot be guaranteed or monitored. This is why a reliable and professional translation service is pivotal to ensuring the upkeep of your company’s reputation and the positive outcome of your business ventures.

Despite the current unstable financial climate in many countries, some economies around the world are continuing to thrive and grow. Particularly, parts of South America, the Middle East and Russia are seeing a burst in business activity that is bringing international investment into these countries. China has also long been a major player in global business and is the second largest economy in the world behind the United States. Over the past 30 years, China has increasingly invited trade from overseas businesses and this is an opportunity that many in the west have taken keen advantage of. Translation professionals operating in China had a 46.09% increase in their income in 2012, a figure that is sure to continue growing.

When the decision is made to enter a foreign market there are many things to consider. Making your company’s website understandable to the country in which you intend to expand is of the utmost importance. In a survey conducted by, 72.4% of consumers stated that they would be more likely to buy a product if the accompanying information was in their own language. Additionally, 56.2% of consumers went on to say that being able to obtain information in their native language was more important than the price of the product. Faced with these statistics it is shocking to observe that out of the top 1,000 global websites, 433 are presented in just one language, making no attempt at all to provide translation for potential global visitors.

Approximately 33% of internet users don’t speak English as a first language, so the importance of having your site translated into the many alternatives is immediately evident. It is predicted that employment levels for translators and interpreters will increase by 42% between the years 2010 and 2012, demonstrating the rapidly growing necessity of such acute skills.

The localization of website content has to be approached in a wholly pragmatic way in order to guarantee the best results and highest returns for your company. Not only does the content have to be translated to precisely depict the original material, but the cultural differences have to be taken into account. A professional translator will be sensitive to these differences and maintain such accuracy that it will appear as though the translation version is the original written text. Being completely aware of the culture within the target country is essential to providing a perfect translation.

The semantics of languages are subject to constant evolution, therefore when it comes to achieving perfect website translation, a culturally aware linguistic professional is the only viable choice of person to be entrusted with this task. Translation technology is rapidly developing and the capabilities of such programmes are more impressive than ever. But when it comes to your business, it goes without saying that you want a highly qualified and extremely experienced professional to be responsible for your website translation. There are some aspects of language that a machine can’t always be guaranteed to comprehend so a human translator is necessitated to ensure the meaning of content is not confused.

With the many global economies that are expanding at a an exciting rate, it is foolish to presume that marketing your company solely in English will be enough to sustain your companies presence and growth. Website translation services readily exist with uncapped capabilities of promoting businesses around the world, creating and encouraging the possibilities that a truly global market has to offer.

Focus on Your Core Business

“I understand small business growth. I was one.” George W. Bush

Focus on core business – not extraneous bling

Over the past seven or so years, I have had occasion to be exposed to at least 4 attempts to start inherently the same business. Two attempts failed dismally, the third survives, but only just, while the fourth is a monumental success.

One of the primary reasons for the failed businesses when compared to the successful business is that the successful business has a singular focus to “do what we do”. All four business attempts, which I’ll write about in some more detail in my next post, were almost identical in intention, method, start-up capital, staff requirements, services offered and target customers; and yet they had vastly different destinies. For the purpose of this article, I will isolate only the principle that I would like to highlight at the moment, to the exclusion of others. This is not to say that other factors did not play a role, or even a significant role, but they simply won’t come into play here.

What do I mean by “Do what you do”?

Simple really! When you start-up a business, you will have a specific vision or intention in mind with respect to the products/services that your business will offer. Once you start your business and it becomes evident that your initial idea and planning was not ludicrously off the mark, and you begin to see some interest generated in what you offer, stick with it! Continue to offer those products or services to the best of your ability; focus on that and nurture your business slowly towards succeeding in your chosen area.

This sounds simplistic, but it is all too easy to become distracted by “opportunities” that are extrinsic to your original plan and model. Remember that you have (presumably) done planning for weeks or months, including your analysis of “what do you do”; your target market and identifying potential customers; your various financial forecast and particularly your cashflow forecasts; your human resources and customer relations; your suppliers; and so it goes on.

Once you start a business, after putting in enormous effort and thought into identifying the direction you intend to take, “opportunities” often seem to rain down from the sky. Much like a sizeable inheritance seems to bring countless, distant relatives sharply into focus, the successful beginning to a business will bring numerous, vague “opportunities”. Long lost friends and their murky business associates will be touching base with you, wanting to have lunch meetings that you will pay for, brimming with ideas guaranteed to succeed (despite having not pursued these ideas themselves), sharing little known information on amazing new ventures. They may be looking for work from you, a loan from you, an investment, or simply a hand out. You will be truly astonished by how your success brings a host of personal satellites orbiting around you, eagerly snatching at any scrap they can.

It is these “opportunities” that I urge you to resist – you have not given them the same careful thought and analysis yet that made your small business begin to succeed. Do what you do, stick to your original vision and focus on core business!