Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Summary: Trip to Europe in Sep/Oct, 2005

I have been developing a strong presence in the major online business networking platforms for 21 months so far. Based on this activity, I have recently returned from a two-week business trip in Europe. I can summarize this experience as follows:

1. Started planning: Feb, 2005

2. Starting point: Celebration of 5-year MBA Graduation at RSM Erasmus University on 23-25 September

3. Period: Sep 21st- Out 08th, 2005

4. Countries: Holland, Belgium and England (in this order)

5. Presentations: two (Rotterdam/NL and Mechelen/BE) on how to make businesses with Brazil and introduction of business opportunities related to international business coaching, IT outsourcing, VIP networking, ecological product and Brazilian music. Please check testimonies and photos.

6. Audience: 20 and 35 people in Holland and Belgium respectively

7. Network: besides RSM´s MBA Alumni network, the great majority of my contacts was a result of my intensive online networking activities. I apply a methodology described in my article "My 12-18 month Online Networking Experience"

8. Networking events: seven in total, being, two of them in Holland, one in Belgium and four in England.

9. Received x distributed cards: 180 x 250

10. Governmental support in Brazil: none although I have looked for support from public institutions, e.g., Ministries, Agencies and etc...

11. Governmental support abroad: Great. I was welcome by Brazilian Embassies in Holland and England.

12. Private support in Brazil: limited, only one company supported my initiative.

13. Budget: super limited. However, I spent only 75% of it.

14. Access to investment capital: identification of two potential partners: One of them possesses 40 million Euros for investments in various projects. Another one is interested in non European companies willing to have a local partner to setup a European Ltd that they run. After x-years, the Brazilian partner can buy the remaining shares from these European partners.

15. Identified opportunities:
  • Business Coaching: established strategic alliances and met new potential coaching partners. Got a referral for training assignement with a major corporation in Brazil with potential roll-out in South America.

  • IT Outsourcing: I identified demand for projects and met some VARs (value added resellers)

  • VIP networking: I met four companies that are doing something similar in Portugal, England and Switzerland.

  • Ecological product: I arranged 12 meetings in Holland, Belgium, England and Denmark on behalf of this international business coaching client. Actually, they are in Europe following these leads by now.

  • Brazilian music: I got 3-4 contacts quality contacts with professionals who are connected to the European music industry.

  • Conclusions:
    My online networking methodology has proved to be highly efficient justifying all my investment of time in developing this ability. By the way, it is accessible to all the interested parties. Without the support of my international network, this trip would never have reached such a success with so limited budget.

    For those who are outside the governmental sphere and not working for big companies, the Brazilian and European business world is not so well known. Normally, Brazilian companies focus on the American market due to some main factors: (a) only one new language is needed versus the necessity to know many more languages, (b) American Chamber´s strong presence in Brazil versus absence of a said "Pan-European Chamber" and of the need to talk to various independent European entities, (c) The US also offers a strong consuming market and (d) the lack of resources (financial and human) to act in diverse fronts at the same time. In addition, our knowledge of the European market in general is very limited.

    Europeans have great interest in increasing their partnerships with Brazilian companies. However, the language barrier and the limited knowledge of trustworthy partners in Brazil, lead Europeans be rather cautious than active. How to overcome this point?

    If we analyze that Roger Hamilton´s wealth formula = value X leverage, we perceive that the richest countries reach a higher punctuation in these two points. Thus, they possess a bigger commercial identification among themselves in which a solid confidence between all involved parties allows them to conclude bigger businesses and faster resulting in their increasing wealth and development.

    The value part can be express in relation: (1) leadership, (2) time, (3) mutual professional respect, (4) knowledge technician, (5) education, (6) creativity, (7) commercial pro-activity, (8) delivery in the stated period, (9) fulfillment, (10) branding (11) products and services´value aggregation while maintaining competitiveness in terms of price and quality.

    The leverage part can be represented by (1) network and one´s presence within it, (2) effective international presence, (3) intensive use of all communication channels with clients besides strong Internet presence and use of technological tools, (4) presencial and virtual localization and (5) ability to convey a customized message in diverse languages can summarize this point.

    The combination of these factors generates the required confidence so that the businesses and wealth can be created as a result of it. Economies of skills prevailing over economies of scale. The most interesting is that everything is rather related to soft skills than to hard ones. Soft skills can be developed through a solid methodology since business people is fully committed to reach their goals. Therefore, before the Brazilian companies move internationally, they need to align themselves with their richer cousins in terms of this wealth formula. Then, we will be literally "speaking the same language" independently of the actual language that will be used in the dialogue.

    No comments: