Opening doors to take your international process forward

Internationalisation is the “in” buzz word and Brain’s consultancy business, development and training related services are structured in such a way that many client needs can be satisfied by a ‘working together’ of our sectors. In this manner we draw on extensive resources and creating a major synergy in providing all-embracing solutions and/or responding to ad hoc needs.

Furthermore, through our regional, national, and international networking we can accompany the individual or client organisation on their international journey. Brain’s focus has always been on the exciting and realistic overtures offered in interregional cooperation.

WHY & HOW

Brain’s emphasis is very much on market entry strategies, adopting a hands-on approach to assisting companies and organisations in assessing and establishing the best approach to international consolidation or expansions and how to pursue opportunities and avoid potential pitfalls.

This approach is epitomised in our Trade Partner Service model, a service styled as a product which provides a step by step approach for interested clients: companies, training providers, professional bodies and development agencies.

Our consultancy support extends beyond market entry, on the one hand dealing with investment, joint ventures and strategic business planning and on the other very practical aspects such as assisting with human resource issues, training, translation and interpreter services in all on-going phases of development.

RECENT CASE STUDY

IAB – INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOOK-KEEPERS

Consultation re market research and business development strategies targeting a number of markets so as to enhance our global coverage.

http://www.iab.org.uk/

RECENT REFERENCE

IAB – INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BOOK-KEEPERS

Detailed preparation and setting of strategic goals helped to successful initiation of market presence.

Malcolm Trotter, CEO, IAB

Further Information

  • Analytical approach to international marketing opportunities

    How do I break through into international markets?

    ‘Break through’ needs to be maintained and to do so a realisation of the requirements from entry to full maturity in the product/service introduction need to be thorough and all-embracing. Difficult to imagine an SME forging ahead in an international adventure without the necessary coaching and implementation of processes. Fundamentally we at Brain consider how to analyse the ‘go-go’ or ‘definitely no’ scenarios, how to learn to evaluate and apply the necessary resources for market expansion, how to source and monitor the assistance indispensable to your international drive.

    Hand holding is not childish but a creative means to taking forward and consolidating your company’s mission and full realisation of capabilities

    HAVE I GOT WHAT IT TAKES ?

    The points below are some of the things you should already be asking yourself. If you have not asked them yet go back to Square One! Throughout the process you should be asking yourself if you really want to do this and what is your motivation foe doing so. It is too big a reality to go forward on a hunch

    What is my product / service ?

    Why am I in business?

    Does my mission statement and core company philosophy provide for overseas expansion? Who am I? Am I an entrepreneur, an inventor, a facilitator, or ----?

    The above preliminary question points are not intended to be derisory but a means of evaluating your understanding of your business and the point you are at.

    The considerations are fundamental as to whether you should enquire of the foreign market place. Now we look at some more pertinent points

    • Is the USP for my UK market applicable to any given overseas market?
    • How do I sell in the UK?
    • Why do people buy from me in the UK?
    • Will people buy from me in the overseas market for the same reasons as they do in the UK?
    • Who is giving me the information about the potential of a particular overseas market?
    • Is my interest in an overseas market part of a rationalised development and growth strategy?
    • Last throws of the dice rarely work and your analysis of the opportunity and appreciation of the dangers need to be very real and the reasons for the journey need be shared by the company at large.
    • Market development generally and towards an overseas market in particular need to be communicated internally and not simply manifested externally.

    Next we consider some of the financials involved:

    Have I got a firm take on my business plan and financials?

    Do I know where I am at and how I got there?

    Do I have the necessary expertise within my company or through a trusted consultant to appraise my financials? Have I set aside part of the development budget for any overseas enquiry?

    Am I aware of and confident of accessing financial support for my enquiry? Which human resource element have I assigned to this enquiry?

    Am I confident of following through any enquiry in terms of commitment, resource and financial

    WHAT IF THEY SAY YES ?

    An enquiry is one thing. A positive expression of interest is another altogether. In this section we examine the capabilities needed to pursue a positive response to your enquiry. Am I able to decide ( or do I need to refer to partners or shareholders?)

    • Do I appreciate what will be required in terms of production, support services, etc etc?
    • How do I protect myself from bad business dealings?
    • Have I the capability to live up to the market entry requirements

    The points above are intended to serve as a reality check to appreciate what will be involved in taking a business relationship forward.

    Will it be a sell out, a joint venture, a merger, a distribution agreement or licensing arrangement which results from my enquiry. Many of the points and their ramifications will not come as a surprise if they have been contemplated at the start of the process. It is this comprehension of the steps involved and the action plan to be developed which is a fundamental part of the Brain Trade Partner Service.

    Initial meeting or meetings are focussed on putting the client’s house in order for it is only by appraising one’s actual state that the essential prerequisites can be established for taking the enquiry forward. The step by step or phase by phase approach is a simple but effective application of business logics which is all too often neglected.

    Operating in this manner helps the consultant to accompany the client and provides a regular monitoring appraisal of ‘where one is at’ and as such the cost and the risk are reduced and the benefit and opportunity and chance for real market penetration enhanced

  • Internationalisation in action:

    Brain in action:

    Here we go. When our Moscow based International Desk contacted us stating that some of its auditor clients needed to be able to not only command International Financial Reporting Standards but to have a grasp of the UK Business system and a greater command of English for specific commercial business our Brain did indeed step into overdrive. All to do with reciprocal investment opportunities apparently. What follows is a fine example of the synergy between the Brain Divisions. We’ll keep the following case study sharp and to the point.

    Through business and legal contacts in our home town we arranged a 3 day specific programme for 2 lead Auditors in Liverpool itself. A series of accompanied interviews and mini seminars with experts gave a speedy and insightful overview of many key areas for our Russian clients. These days were followed by the arrival in Liverpool of a 7 strong group of Russian Auditors and a meeting with the International Trade Section of the Liverpool chamber of Commerce and a successful accord reached on how to enquire into cross country business opportunities. Not only, but our Management Training Division saw the chance to develop an innovative programme in Business Awareness and Industrial Insight for overseas groups. Naturally, based in Liverpool, and with the direct involvement and overall project management and delivery being vested in our training partner LILA the programme has been Quality Assured by the UK Professional and Awarding Body, IAB.

  • TRADE PARTNER SERVICE FOR MARKET ENTRY

    Stage 1

    ·         After initial discussions with the client and evaluation of the aspirations for one market or another (and after our Strategic Mapping Document and Analytical Approach to International Marketing Opportunities are adopted) a briefing document is forwarded along with any supporting information (brochures, statistics, facts, etc.) to our Brain partner in the chosen market. The Brain partner then carries out a review of the information to identify any gaps in the information. Then a first look at the market is taken (customers, competitors and how to reach the market). From this review it will be ascertained if there are any immediate obstacles to market entry. It is at this point the Brain partner has the chance to advise that enquiries should proceed no further in that the market entry strategy is not practical for one reason or another or if costs envisaged would be too prohibitive. If however it is considered a realistic and potentially successful enquiry and there are no immediate obstacles or communication problems identified then the project proceeds to Stage 2. In either event the client receives a short report on the market potential and on any other information that is considered relevant to further enquiry being made.

    Stage 2

    The Brain partner draws up a list of potential agents, distributors or clients (as the case may be). They then send out to potential parties the relevant information accompanied by a presentation, in the language of the market in question, making out the case required. The letter will make the case for consideration of your products or services. Responses are monitored and recorded. The objective of this stage is to generate requests for meetings from the prospect company. Any mailings or related activity will be preceded and followed-up telephone calls to first illustrate the opportunity and subsequently to chase a response or to obtain further information. A short written report of this stage is made.

    Stage 3

    The Brain partner arranges meetings between the interested prospects and yourself. These meetings to take place over a one or two day period, and wherever possible at the partner’s offices. The Brain partner provides translation and interpretation and assists in coordinating all meeting aspects.

  • Identity building in an international context

    Be it personal, corporate or resource led my company identity needs to develop to successfully land and flourish on the foreign market place. Communication, documentation, implementation are just the starting points in the international journey.

    Quality considerations, laws and cultural norms cannot be ignored. Promotion and extension and time to dedicate are the necessary follow-ups.

    How to define, how to order and how to maintain these merits are at the core of this approach. Eye-opening they may be but fundamental they certainly are.

    SMEs need to be aware of the challenges and considerations which can transform opportunities into realities and it is the owner manager who must be at the forefront of any process. The process is fundamental to business development in the home market and indispensable for the overseas market where additional elements are at play. Formalities of a legal, common practice and cultural concern are not to be discarded and only a comprehension of all can set the framework for smooth market introductions.

    Get your act together

    • Is my legal status acceptable for doing business with the target market?
    • Is my name and corporate identity and all things corporate best suited to the market in question?
    • Is it advisable to trade through my existing company or set up another?
    • Will currency and exchange practices work for or against me?
    • Are there laws and quality standards which will require excessive investment on my part?

    These are some of the legal start up and essential practical considerations which come to mind when doing business overseas. Business is not really a GO GO scenario until these are defined and answers given for any one of them not being adequately dealt with could mean a NON START to business relationships.

    Corporate communication takes on a different reality

    If a functioning and communicative www is a preferred option in the UK it will prove little less than a prerequisite overseas. This is true both in terms of projecting my corporate identity and facilitating communication with my immediate counterpart and end clients. Web mastery is no longer an option It is in this context that translation and management of documentation has a key role to play

    The objectives need to embrace:

    • consistent corporate terminology
    • conformity with local regulations, laws and quality standards
    • effectiveness of the communication and documentation in penetrating the market and establishing and consolidating relationships
    • reduced time to market services
    • reduced expenditure in mid to long term management of texts

    To achieve the objectives in a multilingual documentation scenario especially when dealing with technical documentation management needs to employ: terminological data base with topic specific and continuously updated glossaries translation memory application through employment of CT tools archiving and traceability systems

    All embracing consultancy cover and support

    To effectively set up and manage the development of a business overseas both fundamental obligations and ongoing duties need to be in place or at the very least understood and contingency arrangements provided for. Legal, administrative and regulatory questions will come into play and I need to know that adequate support will be on hand to both maximise the opportunities and keep any unexpected circumstances in hand

    My internal human resources

    An upskilling of my personnel will be the very minimum required as the result of an international cooperation.

    An extension of department and increased numbers will probably signify a growing product demand and an increase in business – if all is managed correctly that is as the reverse side of the coin is ineffective reaction to market demands with spiralling costs and fall-out in company harmony and purpose of action. In some part this can be approached in initial stages of market exploration in shared goals and personal incentives but this will never be entirely the case.

    Effective human resource building whether in terms of training. recruitment, introduction and application of software are some of the areas to which attention will be dedicated.

  • Setting down an SMD – Strategic Mapping Document

    WHAT IS A STRATEGIC MAPPING DOCUMENT (SMD)

    A part presentation / part analysis / part working referral document which elaborates the thinking behind the product, its state of development, applications (both actual and potential), market segmentations and actual situation reached in terms of company structure, legalities pertaining to the product, marketing and commercialisation. In essence your SMD needs to cover a host of considerations to define your thinking and serve as a board for bouncing ideas and be your constant referral aid.

    HOW IS AN SMD PREPARED?

    Consultation with owners, archiving of company activity in terms of development and sales, mapping out of areas for consideration and development, elaboration of logical profile and part business plan skeleton so as objectives and realisation targets can be worked out and mapped down.

    Consulting with owners, archiving company activity in terms of development and sales, mapping out areas for consideration and development, elaborating a draft of a logical profile-cum-business plan to define and develop objectives and realisation targets.

    1. Unique product service (analysis of the need, similar products on market, distinctive advantages)

    2. Flexibility of product (various adaptations to suit various markets), legal considerations (patent etc.)

    3. Product development (both actual and next steps and recognisable future developments)

    4. Market development (description of actual business concluded)

    5. Future market development (intended actions re. organisation, definition of markets, programming of intervention, and resources available)

    6. SWOT analysis – (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

    7. For whom is it intended? In what circumstances should it be used?

    8. For internal use: a realisation of state of advancement and actions necessary

    9. As a comprehensive document to refer to, which can be referred to, and used to for guidance company meeting, e.g. actions to be decided;[…]

    10. To develop as an archive for subsequent online development and corporate identity analysis

    11. To serve as a framework for development of a working business plan

    12. potential markets, either national or international

    13. In what circumstances should it be used?

    WHAT DOES AN SMD CONTAIN?

    • Idea behind product
    • Brief history of development
    • Profile of the company
    • Product description
    • Unique product service (analysis of the need, similar products on market, distinctive advantages
    • Applications (both actual and potential)
    • Flexibility of product ( various adaptations to suit various markets) Legal considerations (patent etc)
    • Product development ( both actual and next steps and recognisable future developments
    • Promotional and packaging material available
    • Market development ( description of actual business concluded)
    • Future market development ( intended actions re organisation, definition of markets, programming of intervention, and resources available
    • Analysis SWOT – (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

    WHY AN SMD?

    For whom is it intended? In what circumstances is intended to be used?

    1. For internal use a realisation of state of advancement and actions necessary
    2. As a comprehensive document to refer to and act as reference and guide for internal company meetings e.g actions to be decided; actions to be prioritised; business plan to be developed: resources to be dedicated
    3. NB: the SMD is not a static document – it is updated, sectioned, and introduced in relevant meetings and in time is chaptered depending on the various functions it is to have
    4. To use in part as basis of presentation to interested parties for market expansion and sales coverage
    5. To familiarise partners and stakeholders etc. with need for planning and analysis of actions
    6. To form a basis for critical analysis in terms of market development, sales coverage, and prioritisation of market development
    7. To develop as an archive for subsequent www development and corporate identity analysis
    8. To serve as a bare bones framework for development of working business plan

    For whom is it intended?

    - owners

    - stakeholders

    - collaborators

    - consultants

    - financing contacts

    - funding agencies

    - market movers

    - potential markets either national or international

    In what circumstances is intended to be used?

    • Internal company meetings
    • Planning meetings
    • Brainstorming
    • Meeting with stakeholders
    • Promotional discussions
    • Marketing development forums
    • Discussions with consultants
    • Meetings with interested parties
    • Meetings with clients
    • Meetings with corporate identity and company promotion team
  • BRAIN INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING

    As a member of Brain International, a network of well established business development and marketing companies located in the main EU markets and themselves globally orientated, we are able to make the most of international connections to the advantage of the client. Brain partners work closely together providing each other and more importantly each others clients with local help and support on a wide range of marketing and business development projects.

    Our experience shows that if a company has a trusted and experienced local partner working with them "on the ground" in their target market, their chance of export success and market penetration will be greatly increased. Brain refers clients to their appropriate partners who act as the clients "pioneering" sales and marketing development company in the target country.

    The local Brain partner obviously has detailed marketing knowledge and experience in their own country that they use effectively on behalf of the client company. The client has the benefit of a partner in their own country to project manage the programme - one point of contact.

    Brain is a totally flexible service that can be tailored to meet the needs of the Client Company or organisation.

    • Finding agents and distributors
    • Market entry strategies
    • Short term sales office - targeting major key accounts
    • Market research and competitor research
    • Product launches and new product development

    Most projects are conducted in clearly defined stages, giving the client more control and the opportunity to abort a project at any stage if results were not forthcoming.

    The advantages of BRAIN

    • Well established and proven - many success stories and testimonials available
    • It gets results where traditional assistance would fail It overcomes all the main barriers to exporting - language, cultural difficulties, confidence and lack of knowledge/experience in the target country
    • It "goes all the way" - working closely with the client, acting as their representative in the target country and actually accompanying them to important meetings and presentations with potential agents and customers.
    • Partners also offer a full "after sales support service and help line"
    • It saves clients considerable time, money and effort over trying to do the work themselves It is a step by step approach - if the initial research stage is positive, results in the subsequent stages are assured.

SIGN UP TO NEWSLETTER