Established businesses seeking to expand into other states are being urged to do their research first, with one business owner saying not appreciating local cultural differences is a costly mistake.
Business owners are often made aware of the differences when exporting to other countries, however according to Marty Halphen, owner of corporate fruit delivery business The Fruit Box Group, there are also tangible cultural differences between Australia’s states and capital cities.
“What’s been interesting for us is that local knowledge, every city is different. There’s a different culture, a different geographic footprint in each city,” he said while speaking on the My Business Podcast.
“For me, personally coming to Sydney was a great exercise because I could see how different the local knowledge was in Sydney. It’s very different in Brisbane and it’s very different in Adelaide, and it’s very different in Perth.
“For example, in places like Perth and Adelaide, it’s very parochial. Everybody wants to deal with somebody who’s local, and we [are] local because our operations are in Adelaide and are in Perth, but people sort of always felt that we [are] a business coming out of Melbourne.”
That perception, rightly or wrongly, has taken a long time to overcome something for which many business owners are unprepared, Marty said.
“It took a long time to get the trust of customers, for them to understand that we had local operations, we were employing local people, we were buying fruit and milk from local growers and local farmers,” he said.
“It takes a long time to get that knowledge and then to translate that knowledge into good marketing activity.”