Sign Up Now: Opportunities to Collaborate with European Companies

Sign Up Now: Opportunities to Collaborate with European Companies

We are excited to announce the launch of the 2018 RYME+ program, a unique opportunity for companies from the United States to connect and explore collaborations with companies from Europe.

RYME+ is a European Union-funded international business program that supports the global business development of small and medium-sized companies from Spain, France, and Portugal. Through RYME+, 33 companies from these countries will have the opportunity to build business collaborations with companies from the United States.

These 33 European companies are in the following industries:

Those interested in learning more about the companies and requesting a connection to a company, click here. We welcome the opportunity to facilitate communication between you and the 33 RYME+ participants!

Understanding the Role of an International Business Development Executive (Part 1)

“What is the role of an International Business Development executive?”

I found myself thinking about this question while working on a project that involved researching senior leadership in large companies. I had trouble answering the question, because I’ve always thought of Business Development as essentially the same function as Sales. Several of my friends who recently graduated from college have job titles like “Business Development Representative”, and yet their activities are identical to that of a Salesperson. What I have seen firsthand in my experience with over fifty projects is quite different.

As discussed in my last post, companies should consider basing their business development on

“finding customers who have a need for a product or services at a price they can afford that is available in their market”.
To illustrate my point, let’s use some real-life examples.

Have you done your homework?

A digital communications company has identified targets for their business development in the United States. They developed a tool that makes websites more visually accessible to people with disabilities, including Parkinson’s, dyslexia, and partial blindness. With a good understanding of their market at home, they asked us to conduct a search for the best match for their product in the U.S. We found that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which requires businesses to accommodate people with disabilities, made our job easier because we could reach out to organizations with a strong interest in complying with ADA. After a round of few phone calls, more potential customers than we could think of, thanks to ADA, showed interest with a need for the company’s product.

Another company, in the transportation sector, gave us a detailed profile to identify potential partners for them in the U.S. and other countries. Their objective was very clear: to identify partners who could use their design specifications to locally produce and sell electric buses in the market. Thanks to a detailed profile and information package, we have been able to quickly identify three potential partners (customers) from three different countries outside of the U.S and engage in active discussions. Working with a such well-prepared client makes our job of finding potential customers much easier.

Risks in Applying the Same Approach to Different Markets

In contrast, a manufacturer of orthopedic slippers established a warehouse in the suburbs of Chicago and hire a full-time employee to make “cold calls” to pharmacies and shoe stores to generate business. Without any prior business development analysis, the company purchased a list of U.S. pharmacies to call, starting in August 2016. Since that time, the company’s operations are running with no sales yet. Furthermore, we noticed that the slippers’ packaging and labeling might be suited to the European market but not really adapted to the U.S. consumers.

The company’s market approach in the U.S. is based on a prior experience in Lithuania. The CEO was told that pharmacies in Lithuania did not sell orthopedic slippers. After three years of cold calls, Lithuania is now one of the company’s biggest markets. Lithuania has approximately 1,400 pharmacies in the country (European Healthcare Distribution Association) while the United States has around 67,000 (SK&A). By neglecting to conduct a minimum of market analysis, the Company assumed that the same need that existed in Europe would exist in the U.S. – and that the same business development strategy would bring sales. This approach may prove to be very expensive and risky for the business.

Read part 2 here! I explore how trade shows, conferences, and a clear understanding of the market fit into a company’s business development strategy!

Export Opportunity for Illinois Companies Open NOW

Metro Chicago Exports is “an unprecedented collaboration between the seven counties in Northeastern Illinois (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will) and the City of Chicago to increase exports from small and medium-sized companies and to support regional job growth.” This program offers grants and resources to companies in Northeastern Illinois to export their goods and services.

Before exporting, consider whether your company is ready to export:

  1. Why do you want to do business in new countries?
  2. Do you know who your clients are and what industries they operate in?
  3. Do you have a budget for marketing and development overseas?
  4. Do you currently have existing sales in the U.S.?
  5. Are there employees at your company whose primary focus is/will be on exporting?

If you have considered these questions and are ready to export, apply to the Metro Chicago Exports program before May 26th!

However, if you feel like you are not quite ready to export, or want to learn more, feel free to fill out our free self-assessment. This extensive assessment is designed specifically to help companies evaluate, internally, the readiness of your company to do business abroad.

Contact us today!

Learn more about how we can make your
market development a success, in the U.S. or in another country.

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