Is it necessary to have physical presence in the region you’re expanding to?
Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter OBE, Chairman at Coltraco Ultrasonics, joined us on the first day of Elite Business on 11 March as the keynote speaker for the Overseas Expansion talk, speaking about how businesses can expand to international markets during this challenging time ‘ and why implementing the strategy is crucial before execution.
Carl spoke about how Coltraco Ultrasonics lost 50% of their global markets, and how by implementing a growth strategy, they were able to soar to greater heights in international territories. Looking back a year ago today, this day today is indelibly marked in my mind. It was the day we lost 50% of our entire global markets, Carl said. So, after 20 years in business, we weren’t sure whether we’d get through the next two to three months. And at the time this happened this time last year, obviously my first thoughts were what on earth are we going to do with the wonderful team that we have. In adaption to Covid-19 we’ve developed something which we now refer to our Resilience Diverse Vacation and Growth Strategy, reconfiguring our company to become better, faster and cheaper across our global markets and refining every part of our organisation, our sales, marketing distribution, R&D production and inventory by applying our science R&D innovation manufacturing certification commercialisation loop. To integrate the commercial with the technical across all levels in the company. I’m pleased that as a consequence, we’ve never entered furlough, we’ve grown our team and we’ve created the happiest and most effective company that I’ve ever seen.
Carl spoke about how staff at Coltraco Ultrasonics studied British economic history to analyse strategies used in the past to create a domestic demand stimulate global trade during difficult times. All we did was look at British economic history and find out who did what, when, best, Carl said. And we found that it was done in England in 1760 during what we call the first industrial revolution where science was applied to manufacturing and when domestic demand was created to stimulate global demand. And that is exactly what we’ve been doing for the last 365 days since Covid started for us.
Global expansion can be an attractive next step for small and medium firms looking to bring their business abroad. However, Carl advised SMEs to master their strategy before execution when it comes to global trade if they wish to dive into new markets. For any company seeking to innovate and export, I would say that far from thinking that you should be thinking about basing first, you should master this feedback loop first as it’s the essential first step, Carl said. The barriers to both innovation and exporting persist… to master innovation obstacles and holds institutional memory on how to manage our exports to exist in new markets. Of the 5.9 million UK SMEs that have the potential to innovate and export, such luxuries are not common. For the government to see exporting and innovation to increase as part of our post Covid-19 economic recovery strategy, it must therefore incentivise exporting and innovation together.
When it comes to exporting globally, businesses can either jump on the opportunity or create a concise and plan ‘ and Carl advised SMEs to streamline and focus, and put in the work during this difficult time. The opportunism is less important than the focus you refer to but then you have to have the ability to energise yourself and your team so that you are not frightened by doing the hours. You can’t be so clever and smart that you can reduce this down to a few hours work, so we are back to the days of doing ten to twelve-hour working days which is fine, it’s a crisis but we have to do that to keep going and keep on track.