Opportunities to Do Business in Brazil

World Trade Week: Destination Spain

Spain’s got troubles, to be sure. But the world’s 9th-largest economy (right around California, with similar struggles) is still an A-List destination for US exporters. Spain-based Banco Santander is the EuroZone’s largest bank, and are driving sound economic recovery strategies.

There’s an outstanding resource group called Invest In Spain, whose many fine resources include a comprehensive guide called Doing Business in Spain 2011.

El Poble Nou: Barcelona Re-Born

That ought to make good beach reading for anyone interested in learning how and where to plot global growth.

In the past two quarters, Hanson Marketing has identified opportunities to trade with Spain in diverse sectors: alternative energy, rail transportation, and professional services. When paired with the US Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service, exporters in the US are armed with excellent, timely tools for successful trade.

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here. More here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services to Spain and other points is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry. Whether a small, family firm or an enterprise, you’re this close to being regarded as Thought Leader for your market sector!

Welcome to World Trade Week: Spotlight Miami

Miami-area businesses are in for a treat, as a team of area international business pros hosts a series of great events to celebrate World Trade Week. It sounds like the best field trip ever! Visit here to sign up. If I were going, I’d sign up for the cargo and cruise ship terminal tours.

Miami is one of the world’s true global trade hubs, and is full of experts on everything from logistics to banking. Their newspaper, The Miami Herald is regarded for its international business coverage.

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here. More here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry.

Welcome to World Trade Week: Spotlight Kansas City

This week, Kansas City’s best and brightest trade pros gather for the city’s annual FUTURALLIA 2011 event, showcasing global trade success stories and tricks of the trade for regional businesses of all sizes. The organizing team’s done a great job of putting a results-oriented, ROI-driven program together.  They mean business (despite the sci-fi name)!  Sign up here.

Theirs is the best promotional idea I’ve seen yet, among all WTW events: airline ticket giveaways to international attendees.  Two lucky visitors from Belgium and Canada will enjoy those juicy KC steaks even more, having flown to KC free courtesy American Air!

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here. More here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry.

Welcome to World Trade Week: Spotlight New York City

The World Trade Week celebration in New York City is always top drawer.  If your located in or near there and are seeking answers to questions on how to grow globally, take a look at this calendar of events, sign up, and go. My vote for the most informative, interesting session is “The Venetian Variety – From Tourism to Nanotechnology”, exploring possibilities in and around Venice.

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here. More here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry.

Welcome to World Trade Week: Spotlight San Diego

What makes Cali Baja hum? San Diego’s loaded with export pros, and they’re contributing to the success of this year’s World Trade Week. Southwestern College Center for International Trade Development’s National City campus hosts an info session on “How to Enter into the European Market”. Register to attend here. The speaker lineup includes teams from Baker & McKenzie, a group that’s always worth listening to when it comes to global trade. There will also be representatives from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency.

At the border, the annual MEXPORT trade show is the area’s best gathering place for all things supply chain. This San Diego event’s a stone’s throw from the Tijuana city limits, so it’s a great chance to mingle with friends from over the fence, too. At last year’s MEXPORT event, I learned a lot about two industries that make our cross-border trade hum: logistics and security services. Sign up here. It’s free to visitors, and they’re running shuttles across the border to simplify parking and transport!

Read more about MEXPORT in a previous post here.

For a great perspective from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, visit the Department of Commerce’s website here: http://www.trade.gov/worldtrademonth/

Exporting your company’s goods and services is the best way to boost your overall revenues and stake claim as leader in your industry.

White House Hosts National Export Initiative Event

A fellow member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council participated in the July 7 event hosted by President Obama, held to promote our National Export Initiative . Kim Benson is an international business leader based in San Diego and is also appointed to the Industry Trade Advisory Center, a unique private-public partnership that plays a vital advisory role in shaping our nation’s foreign trade policy.

President Obama and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke acknowledged the gathered guests’ contributions to expanding trade, and announced re-launch of the President’s Export Council. As I’ve stated previously on this blog site, this is a commendable and challenging step.

Ms. Benson, who is vice president of Cange International, an international business consultancy observes “a shift in the government taking place now, in terms of the degree of communication among positions and agencies related to trade.” President Obama has also deemed specific members of his cabinet to be Export Promotion Cabinet Members, she notes. “He meets with them regularly and expects cooperation to reach the objectives of the NEI specifically. These efforts will now be supplemented by input provided to President Obama by the President’s Export Council. Having the National Export Initiative clearly set forth is obviously creating unprecedented cooperation among positions and agencies. I see this as something very positive, and I must say that in 20 years I have not seen this level of cooperation.”

The president’s very public and direct pledges since his State of the Union address in January are the best way to hold lenders and government export agencies accountable. Since February of this year, the Department of Commerce has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies participating in 24 countries. Further, there are eight more trade missions scheduled over the next three months, which can be tracked via Tradeology, the International Trade Administration’s blog. Secretary Locke reminded those gathered in the East Room that in March, the US reached an agreement with China to reopen the Chinese market to pork and pork products. And in June, the US agreed with Russia to reopen the Russian market to US poultry exports. These steps together are worth more than $1 billion. (That’s a start toward reaching $2 trillion in exports in five years, a key goal of the NEI!)

Watch for the Export Promotion Cabinet’s 180-day report to the president, due on September 1.

More About Industry Trade Advisory Center
ITAC is primarily comprised of leaders from small-to-midsized businesses with proven success in global trade. Formed in 1974 and jointly run by the Department of Commerce and the US Trade Representative Office, ITAC ensures that trade negotiators consult with representatives from the private sector during trade negotiations.

Read more about the July 7 White House event here, including a link to a National Export Initiative Progress Report.

The Great Pacific Rim Business Machine

The Pacific Rim’s confluence of commerce sits where the Southwest US meets northern Mexico. From San Diego-Tijuana to El Paso-Juarez, Pacific Rim companies gather to design and test prototypes; supply professional services; sell materials and manufacturing systems; build and assemble products; and ship goods by air, road and rail.

Every day, the people running this great machine navigate a mash-up of Asian, Latino and Anglo-European work styles and cultural norms. Are you lucky enough to be one of them? It’s a wondrous machine, one that works. And, considering the makeup of people who have built up Hong Kong and San Francisco into world capitols of commerce, that mash-up has proven to be the essence of the Pacific Rim economy.

Two dynamic organizations equip international business people to succeed in cross-cultural business. I recommend two events from their calendars that, while different in scope and intent, both serve to round out an international trade toolkit.

Cross Cultural Business Communication. Get to know the World Trade Center San Diego, to see the depth and diversity of their resources; then jump to this event page to register. WTCSD’s pedigree among the San Diego region’s international trade sector is unsurpassed, and sharing their knowledge about cross-cultural business communication is but a sample of how they work to put area companies on the map.

By the way, I’ve had some Maalox moments in cross-cultural business communication. In Tokyo, I royally botched the “bow or handshake” greeting protocol while paying a visit to an industry titan. In those fateful 3 seconds, I also dropped his business card. His look of pure disdain still lingers in my head. Gain the upper hand as a well-informed, culturally-aware business person — you can never be too informed or too prepared.

Building Manufacturing and Logistics Partnerships. If offshore manufacturing is part of your strategy for success — whether as a manufacturer or as a supplier thereof — rely upon the U.S. Commercial Service to teach you the right way to conduct business in northern Mexico. The Tijuana office invites you to attend this FREE BajaMak July 7 webinar, and they endorse the upcoming BajaMak show in Tijuana, which promises to be an influential and productive event. Don’t forget that a large percentage of companies who already build their products in northern Mexico are from Southeast Asia and the U.S., among them Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, Daewoo, Hitachi, Hyundai, Honeywell, JVC. They need your expertise and your services.

Make this great Pacific Rim machine of ours start to work for you and your company, by polishing your communication skills and connecting with resourceful partners.

International Business Pre-Flight Checklist: V

We’ve covered four vital steps on a reliable, affordable pre-flight checklist. Like a good pilot, we’ve checked off Get Executive Thumbs-Up, Analyze Market Horizons, Prove Demand, and Allocate Resources. Fifth and final entry on this short-but-sweet pre-flight checklist discusses how to Select a Team.

Who will be part of your trusted crew? Build up a trustworthy and reputable group of strategic partners, employees, alliances, vertical channel setup, key customers, spokesmen, and analysts. Work your network of former and current colleagues and converse with industry partners through your company’s trade associations. LinkedIn, the free social networking site for the business world, has proven to be an excellent site for forming what I call “virtual tribes” of actual and potential colleagues, very targeted groups whose membership is full of professionals who know what you need to know, and who want to learn from you, too.

Are you hiring non-US staff who will work and live overseas? Ensure that your company’s HR team is qualified to recruit, hire, train and compensate foreign nationals. Ask your CEO (he’s your cheerleader, remember?) to engage a recruiting consultant. Again, a good place to start is at your local US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center. They help to remove the mystery of engaging with internationally-based professionals who want to work with you or to be your new employee.

Once the core team is in place, if you’ve taken these recommended steps you’ll likely find that your new international team meshes well with you and your company. Shared values and priorities, style of selling and supporting, and standards for quality and service to name a few. Whether you’re hiring an international sales manager or joining the alliance program of a Fortune 100 partner, the same rules apply.

Chances are, another company has already forged the trail that you need to follow.

International Business Pre-Flight Checklist III

In 2 previous entries, I touched first on the need to Get Executive Thumbs-Up and then to Analyze Market Horizons. What’s Step 3 on the checklist? Prove Demand.

Is the destination worth the time and resources? There has to be tangible, measurable demand for your products and services in international markets, which signals long-term revenue growth, which you’ve already quantified in step 2’s analysis. Are your solutions able to reach new markets in their current or altered form, motivate local partners, win new revenue?

Here is where time spent at industry fairs in your target countries will pay off. While I encourage you to make friends with local distributors and brokers — they are great at local networking, and can introduce you to trusted resources in banking, legal and logistics circles — I advise against signing ANYTHING resembling a distribution agreement with them, exclusive or not, for the time being. It is just too soon to go steady, and you want to protect your goods and services from sandbagging by nefarious competitors or those who intend to steal your intellectual property. Sorry if I sound jaded here, but I’ve seen this scenario play out more than once.

While planning your trip, don’t forget to enlist the aid of the hard-working team at the US Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center near you. Though they work for Uncle Sam, these people think like entrepreneurs, have global-scale rolodexes, and act with the sense of urgency that business owners can appreciate. Their services, many at no cost, include access to in-market studies for your particular industry, ranging from political and regulatory obstacles down to current and forecasted market growth based upon point-of-sale data from retailers and world-class research. Put your tax dollars to work for your business!

At this step, companies very often make the strategic decision to split product lines down domestic vs. international lines. Feature sets that are vital to winning international revenue — multilingual interface, for instance — may be of negligible value to your domestic customers. And once this happens, be certain that your operations, accounting, and logistics functions can handle it. More on that in future entries.

Next installment on the list: Allocate Resources.

Blog at WordPress.com.