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Evolve from Accidental to Intentional Exporter

oops1This week Growth Nation participated in the Annual Global Business Conference put on by the Minority Business Development Agency, Department of Commerce, at Thunderbird School of Global Management. The Conference was dedicated to helping exporters ramp up their cross border success.

Growth Nation was represented by founder/CEO Doug Bruhnke, who talked about moving beyond being an ‘accidental exporter’ to becoming more successful as an ‘intentional exporter’. There were six tips shared with the audience, and they are listed below.

In moving from ‘oops’ to ‘wow’ with cross border growth…

1) Access resources. You could spend your days reading up on everything there is to know about each global market and opportunity. Short cut the process by accessing resources and talking with people who have ‘been there, done that’, like Growth Nation! You don’t do your own medical diagnosis – or at least you shouldn’t. Growing globally is at least as important as your health, so visit a specialist and bounce ideas off someone who can be a dynamic partner.

2) Know which markets. Market research that compares your possible products and services with the available opportunities is a critical step. Evaluate that matrix to determine if global business will be a good fit, and where the lowest hanging fruit is. Again use resources who do this everyday and that can translate your specific value proposition(s) into specific markets. This works whether you’re entering a new country, market, segment, city or state.

3) Have a plan. Create a powerful growth positioning and plan for your product or service, in specific targeted markets and countries. That can mean different messaging and approaches depending on the best fits. Have a plan with monthly metrics and stick to it – with at least monthly reviews to make sure you’re ‘on target’.

4) Find buyers. Who are the best targets for your products and services, and how do they buy? Should you sell directly or indirectly, with or without partners? These are decisions to make before you jump in, to start with high credibility and increase from there. Don’t jump in without a plan and without a way to reach buyers that will work.

5) Go there. Be there. If you’re an intuitive person, meet the team who will be helping you, ask plenty of questions, and get a sense of whether this will work or not, before you jump in. If you’re not intuitive, rely heavily on advisors who can see through the noise and clutter and provide a second hand opinion, to optimize success. Devote mind share – go there, be there.

6) Develop champions. Develop champions for your new customers who know them, can speak for them, and have the credibility in your organization to be heard. The further away and less known customers are, the weaker their voice, and the greater chance that other priorities will short-circuit creating ongoing value for them.

Entering a new market or country segment requires extra effort to overcome the momentum of where you’re already headed. Take the time and energy to be in the moment with your new opportunity. And if you don’t have the time, wait.

It’s OK to be an accidental exporter and continuing to be reactive to customers that evolve from that. To take a next step to become more intentional, be ready to take extra time, reach out to new resources, and follow these 6 steps to Grow Globally.


About Doug Bruhnke

Growth Nation is a global full-service marketing and business growth firm that creates more leads, stronger brands and higher revenue for clients in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and professional services. Our growth process has created over $1 billion of new revenue.

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