One key question that arose during the September 30 Minnesota Trade Office seminar http://mn.gov/deed/business/exporting/ was how to find an overseas business partner.
It is a daunting task to research and select overseas distributors. This is not a customer search it is a partner search that entails significant risks to be mitigated. I remember Roy Stromme, an attorney and friend (an unlikely combination), once told me when I was doing M&A work to look primarily at former customers, suppliers and neighbors as initial prospects. He was right, you want strong histories and references when looking at a partner relationship.
There is simple preparation that needs completion before you start looking for a partner. What is this preparation?
One finds the primary sources at your current trade shows, conferences and in industry publications. I generally look for referral sources:
Having found prospective distributors from both primary and secondary sources, I have learned one thing: Use all sources at your disposal at this stage of the distributor recruiting process because you never know which candidates will emerge. Follow every leads to its conclusion because not all search tactics work well for all markets and not all foreign markets are equal. Contact me if this is a project you would like to outsource.
During our September 30 Introduction to Exporting seminar at the Minnesota Trade Office http://mn.gov/deed/business/ I explained the existence of multiple channels of distribution to export markets. The event was well organized and attended.
I was surprised that several of the participants had not heard of an Export Management Company (EMC). In its simplest form an export management company is an outsourced international sales department. The goods produced locally by the manufacturer are sold to the EMC who then either exports to a third party dealer/distributor or end user.
The functions of the EMC are widespread and variable, they are typically responsible for:
Contact me if you desire an introduction to a qualified EMC.