Milken NTE101: Mentoring Businesses Successful Domestically but New to Export.

The Milken Institute’s California Center recently launched a program called New to Export 101. The Milken NTE101 program aims to help local manufacturers who have a domestic market but are new to export. I volunteer as a Mentor. Any local manufacturer with an established domestic market and New to Export can apply to the program, no matter the industry they are active in.

A few days ago, during a Matchmaking Meeting for NTEs, Mentors and Service Providers, I explained in what areas I could be off assistance.

Good Morning New to Exporters,

I look forward to helping you grow your International Business.

I’ll take a few minutes to tell you about myself and then I’ll tell you what I can do to help.

I am a consultant and I offer international business development services to companies wanting to expand into foreign markets.

I have worked all over the world, I’ve done Business Development in Asia, in Africa and in Latin America, but I focus on Europe.

Europe, because that’s where I’m from. Over the years I’ve learned something all of you already know: business cultures are different in different parts of the world. Sometimes that is obvious. Sometimes it is not. I find that many Europeans think doing business in the US is like doing business in Europe. I can tell you that is not the case. (think Fresh and Easy).

I am familiar with B2B, but not with B2C.

I like working with companies that produce highly technical products. I’ve worked in software and electronics and I currently work in Life Sciences and CleanTech.

It doesn’t matter where your company is at in it’s development, I’ve been there.

I started my business development career managing the European distribution network for an $25M electronics manufacturer and continued to set up a subsidiary for that same manufacturer here in the United States. I left when our US revenue reached $40M.
I worked for a US company in Anaheim that was looking to bolster its presence in Europe, acquiring a division from British Aerospace in the UK. Shortly afterwards we sold the entire company to Motorola.
At the time, Motorola was a $35B company. They asked me to introduce the product lines of our acquired company to their worldwide sales organization. I supported all Motorola’s regional sales organizations, helping them close important first deals in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
Finally, two years ago, I left a small software company where I had worked for 10 years. I joined as employee number 2. When I left, our products were in use in over 20 countries: from Thailand to Saudi, from New Zealand and Australia to the British Virgin Islands.


Let’s talk about the things I can help you with as a Milken NTE101 program mentor.

Rather than talk about each and everyone of the “needs” I can help you with – I signed up for seven of them – , I’d like to talk about three “needs” I am particularly passionate about.

First: If you want, I’ll review your Strategic International Business Development Plan.

But before that, I’ll take the time to learn about you, your domestic business and your domestic business plan. Once I understand what you do in the domestic market, I’ll critique your International Business Development plan and work with you to bridge the gaps we find.
Together we’ll create an International Business Development Plan that fits with your company’s overall plan; meaning the plans are closely aligned, and your international aspirations can be funded and resourced by your domestic business.

Second, I’ll help you identify the best export markets for your product, and how to enter those markets

You can get a lot of statistics about what goods are exported to a country. You can learn about all the risks involved with doing business in a specific part of the world. You can learn about cultural differences and how to do business.
In the end you will end up with a list of countries to consider. If you have an overabundance of resources, you can staff a few of these countries. But even then, you’d do best to focus on just one country at a time.
I’ll help you choose which one fits you and your company best. I’ll also help you choose how to enter the market.
You know that you have quite a lot of choice: you can franchise, sign a license to manufacture your products for a country and a particular market, you can sell through an export company or an agent or a distributor, you can establish a fully owned subsidiary. For some of you, licensing in one country to generate revenue to enter another, may be the best choice.

A third area close to my heart is the choice of distribution partners

If you are deciding to enter a market through 3rd party distribution, I can help you choose who your best partner, and I’ll remind you that when you develop your criteria for choosing a partner you should think about both partner’s needs: yours and theirs.
Th best distribution partners know their local markets. They know the customers, they have the connections. They also have a choice as to where they invest their time and money. Competing vendors line up to get their attention. Chances are that you are the party with the least bargaining power.
You will need to lay out a plan such that you will be able to support your distribution. Both of you are expected to perform. I you cannot meet expectations they will forget about you in a heartbeat. In the process you will have lost valuable time and resources. You might have damaged your brand, and you must start all over again.

I’ll leave it at that. You now know who I am and what I do.

I know about Strategy and Distribution of technical products in a B2B environment and I look forward to helping you grow your International Business.

My goal is to help these Milken NTE101 business be successful in their first overseas venture, guide them through the process of developing and implementing a International Business Development plan.

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