TAK­ING ON THE WORLD

Sea­soned ex­porters Serge Van Dam, Scott Hous­ton, David Robert­son and Michael Moy­na­han from the New Zealand Beach­head Ad­vi­sor group talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences as ex­porters, what they see Kiwi com­pa­nies do­ing well (and not so well), and the re­al­i­ties of g

Exporter - - CONTENTS -

Sea­soned ex­porters from the New Zealand Beach­head Ad­vi­sor group talk about the re­al­i­ties of grow­ing a busi­ness in­ter­na­tion­ally.

ca­pac­ity – that's not just hav­ing a fully func­tional web­site, it's also search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion, news­let­ters, cus­tomer we­bi­nars, and con­tent mar­ket­ing. • Telling a story with an au­then­tic voice – com­pa­nies need to hu­man­ise what they do. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, this comes nat­u­rally to Ki­wis. New Zealand has some great brands, for ex­am­ple Whit­taker's and Ice­breaker, who have taken a few risks and told their story with a bit of per­son­al­ity and in a way that a big For­tune 500 com­pany prob­a­bly couldn't. • Re­silience and courage – to stick with some­thing and to make real in­roads into a par­tic­u­lar mar­ket. Take a French busi­ness go­ing to Ger­many, sure it re­quires courage but it's not as big a step as a New Zealand com­pany go­ing to China, for ex­am­ple. • A sense of what I call “gen­er­al­ist-spe­cial­ist” – New Zealan­ders are fan­tas­tic at hav­ing spe­cial­ist skills in a num­ber of ar­eas and tak­ing a gen­eral ap­proach to put­ting them to­gether to solve prob­lems.

We should have told an au­then­tic story with­out try­ing to em­u­late ev­ery­one else. In the US we tried to be like ev­ery­one else and as a re­sult we didn't stand out. I wish we'd had the con­fi­dence to tell our story in a more au­then­tic way.

If it doesn't work – fix it fast. Gen­er­ally com­pa­nies don't em­ploy good sales peo­ple and I don't think we mea­sure them well. Of­ten you'll just have to move on quickly and hire some­one else. There's only one mea­sure for a good sales team – are they mak­ing their num­bers? If they're not, you have to

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