A roundtable with SMEs about export

The problem with moderating an event is that you don’t get the time to make notes. We were in Cork with KPMG, and the subject was export. This is what I picked up.

Export

  • Selling to America is like selling to Europe. Every state has a different culture and sometimes even a different language. The USA market is not as homogenous as you would expect.
  • Rather than focussing on USA companies should focus on the commonwealth.
  • If you have a choice between the USA and China, focus on China.
  • The Chinese are a pleasure to work with and have a focus on moving towards yes.
  • All the old stereotypes about the Chinese are not true.

Selling

  • Use reference clients as part of your branding. Apple triggers IBM, which triggers Cisco, etc., etc.
  • The future is solution selling, where you get as close as you can to customers, including delivering workshops, idea generation and creation a culture of being completely customer-centric. In one company every new employee starts in customer service.
  • It is hard to find the right salespeople.
  • Focus on increasing the deal size to alleviate the cost of sales.
  • Recurring revenue is now valued at 10X.
  • Awards are good for your brand (we had two EY finalists in the audience. One won)

Brexit

  • Brexit is creating havoc for some companies but is also a burning platform to force companies to look further ahead. Which might be a good thing in the long run.
  • The EU is an innovation wasteland in agriculture. The UK is on its way to become the number one in agritech, Which means more havoc.

Finance

  • Bootstrapping is great if you can do it. The benefit of angel and VC funding is that it forces financial discipline and creates a structure.
  • Financial planning is underestimated and needs to correlate with your growth plans. If you want to make an impression on investors, it needs to be spot on (and in many cases, it is not). Get professional advice.
  • There is still a lot of support and free money to be got from collaboration with research institutes, but also from Enterprise Ireland, Horizon 20202, etc. Those research institutes are also a great source of innovation and funding support. Those research institutes don’t have to be based in Ireland. One company, for example, was working with Cambridge University.

Impression

What struck me was the quality of the companies present. Engineering, pharma, agritech, meditech, ICT, all exporting, all with a focus on high added value, knowledge-intensive, with lots of potential for further growth. It was a pity I ran out of time. Could have gone on for another hour.

sensemaking cover

WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL AND WHY NOT LEARN FROM THE BEST BUSINESS THINKERS? AND WHY NOT USE THAT AS A PLATFORM TO MAKE BETTER BUSINESS DECISIONS? ALONE OR AS A TEAM.

Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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