Decisions decisions. In today’s world research suggests that an individual has on average 35000 conscious decisions to make daily. From the pure mundane like will I get sprinkles on my cappuccino to those which have much more far reaching implications for you and your business like making crucial market selection choices for your product.
When starting out on your international growth path then which market(s) to enter first is often an area where businesses struggle to decide upon. So how do you try and map out a decision making process for doing so that will help to formulate a strategy and a rationale for your subsequent market choices? Here are some considerations that you may wish to reflect on further to help you try and decide where to focus first:
It’s an early Sunday morning and with readjusting to time differences and overcoming long haul travel I’m up bright and early after a very busy week in Dubai working on various market insight and market development projects for my health food/drink and supplement clients at Bolst Global.
I had originally considered posting about some of the many activities my colleague Lucia and I got up to during our week out in market as I am sure some of this information will be really useful for our readership who may be considering Gulfood as a key trade fair to attend or exhibit at in the future. However Lucia will detail more on this very soon in another article and so this post has a different more personal angle…
From 2016 to now…
Last year I attended Gulfood on behalf of two businesses owned by a husband and wife who I solely represented during a trade mission programme. Whilst subsequently I helped one of them to gain new business as a result of this in the MENA region, this year’s trip was very different- going out under my own business and reputation, not under the safety of someone else’s company and not with a new team member either!
As such whilst this has been a little daunting it has also been exhilarating and has certainly helped me to highlight to me just how far the business and I have come over the past year.
Don’t get me wrong there has been a LOT of hard work leading up to this trip: from the brand creation a year ago and continual building of Bolst Global both before and since finishing my MBA last September to prospecting for new clients and putting both myself and the business out there in the community giving workshops, free advice,hosting and organising events…but I feel that this is paying off and the positive response by those brands who have kindly agreed to let Bolst Global support them internationally to date and for this project has been incredible and is allowing growth in the right direction.
Realising the vision
Last year when I started Bolst Global I had a vision of being able to do what we have just done in Dubai: help as many ambitious British companies with the right mindset to grow internationally. In a short space of time we are now starting to achieve this and the message here is that for anyone with a desire to start something or develop your passion (regardless of whether it is international in scope or not) then you have to firstly start it and then go out there and pursue it with an insatiable determination and energy!
As corny as it sounds this past week in Dubai feels like a culmination of the past six months of hard work and being out in market we pursued our client projects with the same energy and drive that is part of our Bolst Global DNA as ultimately we want results for them and to be able to deliver something valuable and with a real return on their growth investment. Because fundamentally that is what we believe developing overseas business should be about over time!
At Gulfood we proactively met some familiar faces as well as plenty of new ones too and some of the comments from others on the trip and at the show seeing how proactive and effective we are have been really heartwarming.
So now it’s onwards with the show follow up, further relationship building and to more similar global opportunities for Bolst Global clientele and supporters in the future.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this incredible journey so far- it’s been amazing and I’m very excited about what lies ahead!
So you’ve found an international customer (whether that’s an importer, distributor, agent, retailer etc), you’ve successfully negotiated the deal with a seemingly sizeable enough profit margin (yippee!) and now it’s just a case of getting the order processed and out of the door.
Simply enough it seems…Until your customer starts asking for translated labels to be stuck on EACH individual product, translated and printed marketing materials to support their promotion, expensive delivery options, payment via a letter of credit and a list of legalised documents you’ve never heard of that will cost you hundreds of pounds a pop…
This blog has been inspired by an increasing frustration here at Bolst Global of hearing others profess that in order to succeed overseas you must have first have a plethora of home market customers that you can ‘impressively’ name drop into your export pitching presentations to win new business (which many international companies have never heard of in any case!)
‘Hindsight is a great thing…’
Even this very morning, without mentioning this article, I was talking to a new company who told me they wish they had NOT listened to this notion of achieving home market entrenchment before considering export three years ago as by not doing so they could be in a very different and much more advantageous position with their product than they currently are…(grrr!)
After a very busy October and November getting Bolst Global off the ground (still lots to do on that front and 2017 will be a big year) I decided to have a few days away in Northern Italy staying with a long standing (and suffering!) friend to change my environment and recharge my batteries a bit before the madness of Christmas ensues.
Not feeling great…
Arriving with a nasty head cold and blocked ears from the plane wasn’t a great start but having the following day largely off with a long walk around the beautiful town and lake of Lecco nestled in the mountains where my friend lives and catching up with her was a good way to unwind a bit.