So I haven’t blogged for a LONG time, not this year in any case…a combination of being busy with several trips (visiting five continents in six months) and focusing more on video content. Ah, what am I saying?! In reality we know this is really me just making excuses!
And as someone who is a go getter and doer I’ll admit that to myself and everyone else, especially after an amazing time in New York which has given me the headspace to reflect and re energise. I don’t think I realised how much I needed that! For anyone trying to build a business you do need that time out, despite how busy and hungry for success you are. I’ve understood this the most this year!
I’ll also admit that the prospect of extended time in the US on a business trip initially didn’t excite me. I’m so used to the Middle East and heading east from the UK that even as a seasoned exporter supporting some amazing brands with international development, I found the idea of working on the US market and exhibiting at the Summer Fancy Food show out of the usual realm in which I operate.
Especially as it was a quick turnaround from a Spanish business trip just a few days earlier, where speaking Spanish again in a business context and navigating the Iberian culture had already pushed me into an exhilarating but equally confidence testing scenario.
So bags unpacked from Spain and repacked for New York in three days and off I go…
And what an incredible time I’ve had! I do think that often it’s the things you have some trepidation about which often you ultimately enjoy the most. The show, whilst only three days, has been a very good one. Mainly because of the preparation put in before landing on US soil by myself and the extended team working on this project. You need to be clear on your market and trade show objectives and hustle for interactions and interest by your target prospects beforehand. It’s no good rocking up and hoping those buyers or big customers are going to simply walk by your stand!
Show successfully done (albeit we all know that the crunch time is now in the follow up!) then it was a case of undertaking more store visits and taking a look at what is out in market already, plus meeting with existing customers.
Again, this is something which brands often overlook and I would advocate tagging on a day or two to allow for this, you can gain some great NPD ideas and understanding of where you own value proposition can lie in the marketplace.
Especially in a market like the US where in many ways they are ahead of the game with product trends and have some very interesting brands on display.
I then took a long weekend at the end of the business trip to enjoy the NY buzz and act as a tourist, which also coincided with Pride.
One of the things I have loved about NYC is the diversity and openness in which the city operates. There’s an acceptance of anything goes and from my perspective being lost in the huge crowds and being able to be anonymous has been a positive experience too, able to just absorb myself in the atmosphere of the city.
So here I am about to board the flight back to the UK, truly grateful for the opportunity by a client who believed in my ability to support and drive forward business opportunities and market understanding in a new territory. For anyone wishing to do the same with their business into new markets then I would wholeheartedly advocate this – do your prep, plan and then go for it!
Try not to fear the unknown and embrace the opportunity and the learning, both personal and professional, that you can gain from international sales and development for you. After all, I’m a firm believer that we achieve the best when we push beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone.
Happy exporting everyone! Feel free to contact me to share your international stories.