I’m Jack Hollender. I’m the managing director of a company called Metropolitan Air Techology.
My name is Dan Kleiman. I am the CEO of LA-CO Industries.
I’m Al Powers. I’m the president of NOW Health Foods.
My name is Jason Speer. I’m the vice president and general manager here at Quality Float Works here at Schaumburg, Illinois.
My name’s Terry Koehn. I’m director of sales and marketing for Miner Elastomer Products.
For the last few years, we started focusing on export markets, because frankly there’s more growth there than there is in the United States. There are big opportunities over there. Opportunities in the United States, of course, but you have to focus on where the market’s going and that’s what we’re doing.
Ninety-five percent of the potential people that we could serve are outside of the U.S.
We export to six continents all over the world and 2008 was our best year ever, so exporting has certainly improved our sales dramatically.
We said three years ago that we needed to expand our markets internationally, so we started a plan now at that point for what we wanted to accomplish three years later.
I started working with the Department of Commerce. They recommended a trade show in Germany called Chillventa. That was our first one. That led to a bunch of contacts, which subsequent trips to the market. Through all this process, growing, growing, slowly learning about the process, learning how the politics works, how the business is done – we’ve managed to sign a few deals.
The challenge is it’s really hard to find the right business partners. And unfortunately, sometime you stub your toe.
We started out trying to find an avenue to explore… this was way before the internet and we started working with the Department of Commerce and was able to establish some relationships.
We actually started working with the U.S. Commerce Department three or four years ago, and essentially we started with doing a gold key program to Australia.
The thing that’s important in any business – in any sales endeavor – is relationships. You gotta go to markets. You gotta meet the people. You gotta establish the relationships. And you gotta go again and again and again.
Be prepared. Nothing’s instant… and to be willing to make multiple trips and multiple investments in showing how your product works and to be in it for the long haul.
Plan far enough ahead. That’s the main key. And focus in on specific countries and know the market.
Pick your partners well. Understand your markets and who your partners are going to be in those markets and who’s going to help you get into those markets. Frankly, the Department of Commerce has provided us with valuable contacts and also has facilitated trade for us. And we feel that we wouldn’t be as far along today without them.
Use the Commerce Department. That’s what they’re there for. They have some great programs that can help you get into different countries. Also, consider using XM Bank. That way you’re pretty much assured you’re gonna get paid.
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