When I wrote my book, “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad,” I interviewed several successful business owners to get their take on what works for taking a business global. Barbara Roberts was one of them (see her latest report on entrepreneurship here).
Before it was sold to Getty Images, FPG (Freelance Photographers Guild) International, the company that Roberts was formerly the president of, was already one of the largest stock photography companies. The company sold the rights to use its photographs in local advertising and editorial products internationally. It did this by finding a local stock photography company and contracting with it to allow the company exclusive licenses of FPG’s photographs in its country.
The other company that Roberts served as president of, Acoustiguide, is the supplier of audio tours, equipment, and staff for museums and historical sites around the world. At the time she was president, Acoustiguide supplied these audio tours through direct sales, joint ventures in a specific country, and wholly owned subsidiaries. With both of these companies, international business grew to account for between 30 and 40 percent of revenues.
In my interview with Barbara, she talks about what she learned from her exporting experience. Here’s one of several tips she offered regarding hiring or finding the right people.
… you will be more successful in international sales if you have the right local partner or employee. In my experience, people who found me often worked out better than people I actively sourced. Potential international partners who had found me typically had done research on me and our company and had carefully thought through how we fit into their strategy and market. They had a much better understanding of how we fit than we ever could have understood as an outsider. The process to come to an agreement often went faster and more smoothly. You also need to be easy to find, so the development of a strong web presence and attending and speaking at international conferences in one’s industry are good starting steps to developing an international business. You want to be known and easy to find.
To read the entire Barbara Roberts’s interview, visit, “Exporting: The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably.”