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.