How to become a freelance export consultant 13224 A guide book for international talents living in Denmark Entrepreneurship in Denmark INCUBA Science Park Katrinebjerg Bygning II, etage 3 Åbogade 15 8200 Aarhus N Tlf.: 70 22 01 96 www.etniskerhvervsfremme.dk www.entrepreneurshipindenmark.dk [email protected] Central Denmark Region Table of contents How to become a freelance export consultant 1.Preface 05 Published by Entrepreneurship in Denmark 2. Why become an export consultant? 06 Editorial team: Trine Brøndberg, Malene Lykke Scharling and Mette Boel 3. Getting started as an export consultant 08 3.1 Choose relevant sectors 09 3.2 Find a relevant business 10 3.3 Analyse export potential 12 Journalists: Trine Brøndberg, Lotte Winkler and Marianne Gregersen Photographers: Lasse Hyldager, Hyldager Fotografi Mads Holm, Colourbox.com Graphic designer and production manager: Carsten Skovlund, designwerk A/S CASE: Dynamic Russian generates Danish exports 16 3.4 Prepare an Export Action Plan 20 3.5 Contact the business 24 CASE: Australian business economist boosts online sale 27 3.6 Pitch your Export Action Plan 30 4. Worth knowing about SMEs and export 32 34 Print: Zeuner – PJ Schmidt Grafisk A/S Edition: 1.000 units 4.1 Understanding the DNA of SMEs CASE: Specialist knowledge becomes export success 36 4.2 New export markets 40 CASE: Rumanian teaches Danish export companies Chinese 44 5.Free guidance 48 5.1 Online tools 49 5.2 Export Network 50 5.3 Organisations and associations 52 6.Reference list 54 November 2013 The publication is available electronically on www.entrepreneurshipindenmark.dk. The printed version is also available for free at Entrepreneurship in Denmark/ Væksthus Midtjylland while stocks last. 3 How to become a freelance export consultant 1. Preface The aim of this guide is to inspire you, an international talent living in Denmark, to start up your own business as a freelance export consultant. According to the Trade Council, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seek international talents to help them export to foreign markets. 4 With your international background, you know the language and the culture of specific export markets, and often you know something about how the market is developing. This is valuable for a Danish SME, which often does not know the cultural codex or, for example, the negotiation techniques in the market it wants to enter. In this guide, you can acquire knowledge on how to become a freelance export consultant and how to help the SMEs succeed in export. Hopefully, you will also feel inspired by reading the stories about four different and very successful international export talents. You can read the guide from start to finish or use it as your reference work. Your international background is an advantage and our hope is that more internationals living in Denmark will use their competencies regarding international markets, export, business development, culture and language - and become freelance export consultants. Enjoy your book! 5 2. Why become an export consultant? Many Danish SMEs are either not aware of the possibilities that exist for them to enter foreign export markets or they do not have the right competencies or resources in-house to take the necessary steps. By offering your assistance as an export consultant, both you and the SME can benefit from the partnership. It can be a great opportunity for you and the businesses which you cooperate with to enter specific export markets if you believe that you have the right skills and knowledge to become an export consultant and that you are ready to start your own business. 6 Advantages of starting an export consultancy: • You will be able to use your competencies re international markets, export, business development, culture and language • You will have the opportunity to cooperate with Danish businesses and become part of the Danish business community • SMEs often do not have the resources to hire a full-time consultant. Becoming a freelance consultant gives you the chance to demonstrate your skills, earn money and become a close business partner of the SME. The business might then be open to the possibility of entering certain export markets, since you are providing expert knowledge without them having to take on a full-time employee As a foreigner, you know the language and the culture of specific markets, and often you also know something about how the market is developing. This is valuable for an SME, which often does not understand the cultural codex or, for example, the negotiation techniques in the market which it wants to enter. However, you also need to sell your knowledge, identify the opportunities which are open to the SME and address the business’s other demands. But if you succeed, you and the SMEs can develop a fruitful partnership that will benefit everyone concerned. ✻ 7 8 3. Getting started as an export consultant 3.1 Choose relevant sectors Setting yourself up as an export consultant to make a living from your services is a lengthy process. The following six steps will help you to get started as an export consultant. You can start by studying the sectors in which Danish export businesses are already excelling. Then look at market opportunities in the market which you know about thanks to your education and background. Denmark holds a strong position in markets within the following sectors: •Building, construction and architecture •Environment and energy •Health •Foods •Furniture, design, fashion and textiles •IT 9 Attend public events 3.2 Find a relevant business The next step is to identify one or more businesses which you want to win as clients once you are ready to start up as an export consultant. There are several ways of finding one or more businesses with which to work in the export markets. One obvious possibility is to try and meet businesses at public events. This you can do by looking up and contacting the local business services office, industrial organisations, innovation projects, educational institutions, associations etc. for programmes, guidance and talks about the subject. Many conferences are held around Denmark where businesses and potential exporters are able to participate and hear more about new growth markets and develop their networks. Use private and social networks Perhaps there are people in your own network who have contacts with relevant businesses. Try using LinkedIn, Facebook or other social media as networking tools. Contact business directly 10 Last but not least, you can, of course, contact a business which has aroused your interest directly to learn more. However, it is important that you are well-prepared and clear about the questions you want to ask as it is imperative that you create a good first impression. The damage done by a badly prepared and incoherent interview cannot be repaired. ✻ Check the “Gazelle” companies The businesses named ‘gazelles’ by the Danish business daily ‘Børsen’, are companies identified as belonging to Denmark’s growth elite. Read more about Børsen’s gazelle prize at the website. Keep an eye on the business Once you have decided which business or businesses to focus on, it is important to gather as much information as possible about their export potential. One way of establishing export potential is by compiling all available knowledge from the internet and keeping an eye on the business in the media and on its website. Is the business growing, in decline or stagnating, and what is its future strategy for growth? 11 3.3 Analyse export potential Once you have chosen the business you want to work with, you should analyse its export potential. Map out its motives, readiness as well as its strengths and weaknesses in relation to export. 12 13 3.3 Analyse export potential When offering your services as an export consultant, it is your task to map out the business’s export potential. Then you can present your analysis and more easily persuade the business of the advantages of working with you as an export consultant. In analysing the export potential of the business, you can address the following topics: • Export motive • Export readiness • SWOT analysis Export motive 14 A business may have many good reasons for wanting to export. You can clarify its motives by asking yourself the following questions: • Is the business already exporting, and to which markets? • Does the business have a proactive reason for exporting, and does the business have a strong desire to export to new markets and generate further growth? • Or is its motive for exporting more reactive, and has the desire to export arisen as part of a defensive survival strategy? • Are the motives born of internal or external factors? Once you have narrowed down the business’s export motive, your analysis can take a close look at how ready the business is to start exporting its products and services. Export readiness Analyse the business’s export readiness. Does the business have what it takes to start exporting to a new market? Export readiness depends, among other things, on: • The management’s commitment and experience with exports • Knowledge of export procedures. Does the business already engage in exporting, or is it a new activity? • Language skills • Capital structure Where you discover gaps in your analysis may be where you, as a freelance export consultant, are able to offer the business your expertise. Do a SWOT analysis After having analysed the business’s motives and export readiness, it is a good idea to do a SWOT analysis of the business’s export potential. Find as many ‘opportunities’ as possible. Also find a few ‘weaknesses’ which you can help the business address in your capacity as a consultant. Your credibility may suffer if you don’t present a number of challenges for the business and for your collaboration. However, it is a very good idea to be able to present a solution to these challenges. Don’t expect to be able to do a complete SWOT analysis from home, but instead finish the analysis in collaboration with the business when holding your meeting with them. This will give you and the business a much better understanding of your respective approaches and whether the two of you will match. ✻ In doing a SWOT analysis, consider the following: STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES – in the business – in the business For example: For example: • Good language skills • Good product and business concept • Healthy finances and positive bank • Business partners • Competent employees • Good contacts abroad • No export know-how • Limited language skills • A product which is not tailored for export markets • Poor economy • Limited contacts • Lack of resources and know-how OPPORTUNITIES THREATS – external – external Opportunities may arise from: • New growth markets • New legislation in the export market • New trends • Competitors dying out • Networks • Timing – positive events in the export market Threats to business opportunities: • Stricter legislation on the export market • New trends • New competitors or products • Collapsing networks • Supplier terms • Timing - negative events in the export market 15 CASE: Dynamic Russian generates Danish exports Svetlana Gertsen has in a very short space of time helped a number of Danish businesses succeed with export in the Russian market. 16 17 CASE: Dynamic Russian generates Danish exports 18 In 2011, Svetlana Gertsen, a Russian, started her business 2gether Consult International. Here, as an inter-cultural business consultant, she helps Danish export businesses to break into the Russian market. For her first client she produced a market survey. According to Svetlana, many consultants are good at doing market surveys, but that is not enough: “It’s one thing talking about Russia, but quite another to execute and generate business for companies,” says Svetlana. Svetlana helps businesses on their way by forging business contacts and organising trips to Russia so that her clients gain a solid foothold in the Russian business community rather than simply getting their knowledge from the market analysis. the leap into exporting without really knowing the Russian market or business culture. “As a nation, Denmark takes a DIY approach, and wants to start exporting without having first consulted an expert,” says Svetlana with a smile. Denmark is a ‘DIY’ country Export trips to Russia Svetlana was born and grew up in Latvia, and she subsequently moved to Russia to study economics, management and trade. In 1998 she met her Danish husband and moved with him to Denmark, where she now lives in Svendborg on southern Funen with him and their children. Given her familiarity with several cultures, she is able to bridge the divide which, according to Svetlana, invariably arises between the Danish and Russian markets. As an export consultant, Svetlana is more than just a trouble-shooter for businesses which have thrown themselves prematurely into exports. She also encourages businesses which are thinking about exporting but which are cautious about the Russian market because they lack the necessary knowledge – or courage. Svetlana’s newest and most successful consultancy service is ‘Business Trips’ for businesses considering starting exports to Russia. Once a month, 2gether Consult International invites businesses to join a trip to a relevant growth region in Russia. Thus, Svetlana often paves the As an inter-cultural business consultant, Svetlana often acts in a problem-solving capacity for businesses who have made One question which may crop up is what is understood by an agreement. Danes often make a bit of an abrupt entrance and quickly get down to talking business. For Russians however, it is very important to forge relations and look at personal chemistry before entering into business agreements. However, once you have won a Russian’s confidence, the business will inevitably follow. And sometimes far faster than Danes might expect. way for potential partnerships between Russian and Danish companies. Success founded on hard graft Today, Svetlana is able to make a living from her business, and she now has clients within several sectors such as foods, the environment, agriculture, fishing and clean tech. A situation which has not just happened overnight. She ascribes her success to a lot of hard work. For the first time since she started her business in 2011, she is now able to take two consecutive days off. For the first few years, Christmas, Easter and Whitsun were not holidays for her, but rather exciting working days at 2gether Consult International. Svetlana is passionate about her work, and she loves the independence of having her own business. Aware of own competencies and limitations Svetlana has business experience from Latvia, Russia and Denmark, and holds degrees in economics and management from universities in both Moscow and southern Denmark. Even though Svetlana is highly qualified, she works closely with various experts who supplement her own services , for example in Russian and Danish law and in interpreting. “As an export consultant, it is important to know your own competencies and to recognise your professional limitations. In addition to your professional competencies, you are selling credibility and the ability to forge relations and alliances between people and between two countries,” says Svetlana. Russia waiting for Danish SMEs exports The Russian economy is growing, and the market is just waiting for Danish SMEs to get themselves together and make the leap. According to Svetlana, they must not worry about whether they are big enough, as even some of Denmark’s biggest companies are, from a Russian point of view, also small with promising export potential. “Danish SMEs are on the verge of starting exports to Russia. They must make their move NOW!” says Svetlana Gertsen. ✻ Svetlana Gertsen’s advice to entrepreneurs wanting to establish themselves as export consultants: • • • • • Have confidence in your abilities and listen to your intuition Be open to business partners – the more muscle the better You must feel committed and enjoy your work as success rests on your own drive Have visions, think in terms of next steps and create a unique offer Follow your dreams, and if you stumble, pick yourself up and carry on 19 3.4 Prepare an Export Action Plan It may be a good idea to prepare a short-term Export Action Plan setting out key steps, milestones and objectives which you can present to a business that wants to start exporting its products or services. 20 21 3.4 Prepare an Export Action Plan Small and medium-sized enterprises often do not have unlimited resources to spend on market surveys and strategies. Your expertise and knowledge about the market in question can therefore be extremely valuable for the business. Prepare an Export Action Plan, which clarifies for the business what it takes to start exporting. Export Action Plan 22 An Export Action Plan is based on a market analysis, and may, for example, be a plan for implementing a marketing strategy, a financial analysis or a logistics plan. Divide the Export Action Plan into several phases, for example: 1. validation phase 2. test phase 3. implementation period One way of identifying overall objectives for the three phases might be to complete the template below. In doing so, you will be forced to consider and map out the milestones, action steps, challenges, expectations results and methods for measuring the results. ✻ Use your competencies and work with others In your Export Action Plan, it is important to take account of your own competencies and limitations. If you or the business do not possess all the professional competencies which are necessary, find relevant partners who will be able to contribute expertise as required. For example legal experts, communication consultants, interpreters etc. Be there in person If possible, ask to have an office space made available to you at the business premises while carrying out your analyses for the Export Action Plan. All the relevant persons whose knowledge about the business and its products you need will then all be within arm’s reach. This greatly facilitates the process, and thus costs the business less. Phasevalidationtestimplementation Market strategy/tasks specified in a marketing plan Milestones Focus on swift results and a short-term plan Define milestones and schedule for each action step Most SMEs want to see fast results, and it may therefore make sense to produce a short-term action plan. Prepare the plan so that the business is able to see, within the next 8-9 months, the potential associated with exporting its products and services. ACTION step What needs to be done to realise each strategic milestone? Challenges Define all potential challenges and describe how to tackle them Effect/results What outcome is expected of each action step? Method for measuring and monitoring Describe how you will test and monitor results Example of an Action Plan for a marketing strategy 23 Email/sales letter based on the AIDA model. Your first step is to write an email in which you present your export proposal with a view to following up by telephone. Tailor your language to the style which the business signals on its website. Are you writing to highly qualified individuals, or more down-to-earth types? Your email will be competing with many others. In the email, say when you intend to follow up by telephone, and stick to this date. Do not expect the business to call you – it is up to you to take action. The AIDA model will help your email to stand out and ensure that it is read: The AIDA model Attention. In our media-filled world, you need to be quick and direct to grab people’s attention. Use powerful words, or a picture that will catch the reader’s eye and make them stop and read what you have to say next. With most office workers suffering from e-mail overload, action-seeking e-mails need subject lines that will encourage recipients to open them and read the contents. Interest. This is one of the most challenging stages: You’ve got the attention of a chunk of your target audience, but can you engage with them enough so that they’ll want to spend their precious time understanding your message in more detail? Gaining the reader’s interest is a deeper process than grabbing their attention. They will give you a little more time to do it, but you must stay focused on their needs. This means helping them to pick out the messages that are relevant to them quickly. So use bullets and subheadings, and break up the text to make your points stand out. 24 Desire. The Interest and Desire parts of AIDA go hand-in-hand: As you’re building the reader’s interest, you also need to help them understand how what you’re offering can help them in a real way. The main way of doing this is by appealing to their personal needs and wants. Action. Finally, be very clear about what action you want your readers to take; for example visit our website of more information, or I will contact you on a specific date rather than just leaving people to work out what to do for themselves. Kilde: www.mindtools.com 3.5 Contact the business It is very important that you understand the business’s culture, and target your communication accordingly when contacting the business with a view to presenting your ideas as an export consultant. It may also be useful to have an idea of how long you need to wait before following up on your first email. Follow the advice below when contacting a business for the first time. Following up by phone The next step is to follow up by telephone; here you need to be ready to describe your idea in more detail. The purpose of the email and the follow-up phone call is to be able to take the third step, i.e. schedule a personal meeting, which gives you the opportunity to explain your idea and sell your competencies. Elevator talk It is a good idea to prepare a so-called ‘elevator talk’, which you will often need for network or spur-of-the-moment meetings. The elevator talk is an ultra-short sales presentation of yourself and your business which you give when you meet someone from an SME who might be interested in your export assistance. 25 Imagine that you meet someone from the SME in an elevator, and she asks: “What do you do?” She is going up to the third floor, giving you only 30 seconds to clearly explain your work. The message must be so clear and unambiguous that the listener, on stepping out of the elevator, says: “That’s just what I need. Give me a call so you can tell me more about it.” Personal meeting 26 Prepare thoroughly for the interview. Have your elevator talk ready so that you can quickly and succinctly present yourself and your idea. Bring along your SWOT analysis, ideally adding the finishing touches to it together with the person you are meeting. You need to be able to present solutions to any weaknesses and threats while talking about all the opportunities and strengths you see for the business and your collaboration on establishing exports to new markets. Your personal appearance will have a strong bearing on whether or not you succeed in selling yourself and your idea. During the first 10-20 seconds, the person you are meeting will have formed an impression of you and thus your services. Remember that you are communicating both verbally and non-verbally. Perhaps use your network of Danes who are experienced with Danish business culture as a sounding board on your communication with the business. Address the needs of the business, and openly present your competencies, your experience and your commitment as a freelance export consultant. ✻ Elevator talk Your 30-second elevator talk should cover the following: • Who you are • Your potential clients • Which consultancy services you offer to export businesses • The results you have previously achieved for other businesses • What value you can give the potential client Checklist • Find out about the business and what the business needs • Pay attention to your body language • Avoid using technical terms and expressions out of context • Be positive and smile. This conveys self-confidence and inspires trust • Dress appropriately. The classic example is the choice between a suit or a pair of jeans. At the end of the day, you should wear what feels most comfortable. • Finally, remember to switch off your mobile phone. Case: Australian business economist boosts online sale Hannah West´s mission is to give people all around the world online access to Danish designed products and to create growth in Danish companies. 27 Case: Australian business economist boosts online sale Denmark swarms with great design, but the design companies neglect to sell the products online both inside and outside the country borders. That’s the opinion of Hannah West who moved from Australia to Odense in October 2011, because her Australian boyfriend was offered a job as a researcher at the University of Southern Denmark. 28 sign and innovation, but it surprised me how little of this is sold globally”, says Hannah. and abroad. The company was started in cooperation with Danish Helle Sæthre, who used to be a mentor for Hannah. Helle Sæthre had a plan to establishing a webshop, and Hannah was looking for a local partner with interesting products, which she could sell online. And the two women agree that they are a great match. They are now partners and no longer mentor and mentee. In September they started the company Besos.dk. The name means kiss in Spanish, and they chose it because they think a beautiful scarf is like a kiss. It makes you feel good and keeps you warm on the coldest day. Besos.dk will not be Hannah’s last com- pany based in Denmark. The proactive Australian woman is already negotiating to become a partner in another company. Hannah has previously lived in France, USA and Singapore, where she took a Master in Finance. When her boyfriend accepted the job offer in Denmark she was ready for new adventures, so she left her job as a business analyst “down under” and moved across the globe with her boyfriend. “I found out that only 20 % of the small Danish enterprises sell their products online and only 10 % attempt to sell it internationally. My mission is to give people all over the world access to the products online, and at the same time create growth in Danish companies”, she says. And Hannah is well prepared for the mission with an education in Business Economics and experience in management consultancy and financing from the Australian company Macquarie Group. For six years, she has also worked with websites and online marketing strategies for companies. She now uses this experience in Denmark. “Of course it is uncertain to leave your job for nothing. But moving to Denmark has given me the chance to find out what I’m very passionate about, and that is running a company”, says Hannah who grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Besides developing an online sales platform for companies, Hannah and Scale Angel are also forming partnerships with companies she finds interesting to contribute to with her expertise in financing and strategic counselling. Hannah’s advice for entrepreneurs Better access to Danish products Mentor became partner ”As soon as I arrived in Denmark, it struck me how many fabulous products there are. Danes are really good at de- The first company Hannah West became a partner in was Besos.dk. They sell exclusive scarves online in both Denmark • Don’t wait for the perfect time to launch your company, because there is never a per fect time! Forget the excuses and get started. Because of that, she has decided to help Danish companies sell their products online. In July 2012, she received her own CVR number (Business Registration Number), which marked the launch of her company Scale Angel. Impressed by offers for entrepreneurs Hannah West is impressed by the help she has received, both before and after she became an entrepreneur. “It is amazing that such a small country as Denmark has so many good things to offer entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs. It is amazing. I have participated in a lot of courses and conferences with great profit, “says Hannah. ✻ • Don’t worry about whether or not you have the perfect business idea. Concentrate on carrying out your own idea. • It is crucial that you believe 110 % in the solution your business offers. Otherwise you can’t make it through hard times, because challenges, setbacks and criticism will ap pear. Especially if what you offer is different from anything else. 29 3.6 Pitch your Export Action Plan It is important that you carefully consider how to pitch your Export Action Plan to a business. In the case of a short, spurof-the-moment meeting, an ‘elevator talk’ is relevant, while a ‘pitch’ is more appropriate and valuable for a longer sales meeting. The word ‘pitching’ stems from baseball, where the pitcher kicks off play and determines what the other players do. This is what you need to do as an independent freelance export consultant when selling your export idea to the business. Pitching is also useful as a way of building on and developing an elevator talk. Pitching 30 The pitch is used to present your Export Action Plan in greater length at a scheduled business meeting. A successful pitch holds your listeners’ attention and keeps them interested. You must build a relationship, engender trust and show that you are part of their team. ✻ Five factors that can help to create a good pitch for your export idea 1. Be specific: Explain exactly what you have to offer. Perhaps take a look at the areas where Danish SMEs seek export assistance 2. Be visual: Make a visual presentation of the plan and show the business how it can boost revenue by exporting to a new market 3. Be succinct: You need to be focused to hold your listeners’ attention 4.Instil confidence: As an export consultant, you are basically trying to point the business in a new direction. Convince your listeners, so the SME feels confident in trying something new. 5. Focus on results: Talk about your results and practical experience with exports or the particular market which is relevant for the business. 31 4. Worth knowing about SMEs and export Before starting up as an independent export consultant, there are some important areas which are well worth studying in detail beforehand. Read about export barriers for small and medium-sized enterprises and export markets. 32 33 4.1 Understanding the DNA of SMEs To sell your services as an export consultant, it is well worth knowing what characterises Danish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which face both internal and external barriers to export. • • • • • • • Legislation in the export country Technical barriers to trade (requirements re testing/certification/approvals) Customs duties and border control for overseas markets Geographical and cultural differences Larger travel and shipping costs Foreign business cultures and languages Bureaucracy and corruption SMEs seek export assistance Typical characteristics of Danish SMEs: 34 • • • • • • • • • • • Small and versatile organisations with considerable flexibility where everybody does everything Often started as innovative entrepreneurial businesses Lower degree of formal systems and structures Information is often informal and ad hoc Often fewer resources Expectation of positive return in the short term in order to survive Owner often involved in running the business Managers often have to perform several roles No/few highly educated employees (specialists) Limited language skills (over and above English and German) Often recruit via networks and personal recommendations According to the Trade Council, SMEs are seeking help with their exports within the following areas: • Identifying relevant markets • Market and competitor analyses • Clarifying trade practices and distribution and sales channels • Partner searches • Marketing in the form of participation in joint export drives and trade fairs • Establishment abroad • Recruitment abroad As an experienced freelance consultant with strong competencies, networks and business acumen, you will definitely be able to offer your assistance in some of the above areas and open the doors to new growth-generating markets. ✻ Internal barriers: Resources and product The internal barriers to export for SMEs often stem from a lack of financial resources and access to financing. As a freelance export consultant, you can therefore offer and sell your services as a flexible solution which the business is not bound by in the long term. For some businesses, the product they want to export is tailored exclusively to the Danish market and not, as yet, to international markets. It is therefore worth finding out whether the product is ready for export, or advise on what the business should do to adapt it to the export market in question. A business may also lack adequate legal or technical know-how, and therefore you can provide guidance within these areas in relation to specific export markets. External barriers: Culture, language and law It is also important to consider the external factors which have a bearing on whether the business is ready to export. As an export consultant, you are able to advise the business on: Communication with Danish businesses It is very important that you understand the business’s products, identity and culture and then target your communication accordingly. Use your network of Danish contacts who are experienced with Danish business culture as a sounding board with respect to your communication with the business. Acknowledge the business’s needs, and apply your competencies, experience and commitment as a freelance export consultant. 35 Case: Specialist knowledge becomes export success After a short study trip to Denmark, Jean-Marc Ferran, a French-Lebanese, has now started a family and established his own business in Copenhagen with customers in six European countries 36 37 Case: Specialist knowledge becomes export success Jean-Marc Ferran has created an export success. His company Qualiance Aps offers statistical programming and clinical data management for pharmaceutical companies of various sizes, and his customer base is constantly growing. 38 In only three years, Qualiance has built up a solid portfolio of customers in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Germany. Perfect timing “I’ve hit a growing market, and I see good prospects for my business in future,” says the entrepreneur. “I had reached a point where I had plenty of experience and a strong network, and it was a good age to start up on my own. If I was ever going to do it, it had to be then,” he recalls. Few months became years Jean-Marc Ferran grew up in France in a Lebanese family. In 2001 he came to Denmark to complete a Master’s degree in computer science and applied mathematics with a semester at DTU, Technical University of Denmark, in Lyngby near Copenhagen. Originally, his plan was to only spend a few months in Denmark, but he has now been here for 12 years. “The Danish company which I wrote about in my thesis offered me a job when I finished my degree, and I thought ‘Why not?’”, he says. Later, he started working as a statistician at Novo Nordisk A/S, before moving to a position as Director of Statistical Programming with Ferring Pharmaceuticals A/S. After eight years in good jobs in Copenhagen, he took the plunge in 2010 and became self-employed. The desire to have his own business just came suddenly. Jean-Marc Ferran’s business concept is based on the same tasks that he was performing at Novo Nordisk and Ferring, but as a self-employed person he can be involved in several parallel projects while further developing his competences. my background,” says Jean-Marc Ferran, who speaks fluent French and who has also been speaking English at work for more than ten years. Moreover, he has a strong network within the industry in several European countries, which has been a big plus in setting up an export company. The price he has paid for his entrepreneurial success has been lots of hard work. According to Jean-Marc Ferran, he has never worked as many hours as he is working at the moment, totting up between 60 and 80 hours every week. “But I have not regretted my decision for a second,” he says. International approach from the outset Through his extensive network, JeanMarc Ferran recruits experienced project employees when he needs help with large jobs. Likewise, there are periods when he is able to help others. Soon, Jean-Marc Ferran will again need to bring in outside resources because the work is piling in, and at home a little baby is on the way. “Right from the outset, I wanted Qualiance to be an international business. It seemed perfectly obvious with “I need to find a different work-life balance, and it will be a challenge,” he admits. The idea had to be put to the test, and during the start-up phase he sought advice from Copenhagen Business Service, which also helped him find the right lawyer and accountant. Excellent location in Copenhagen Jean-Marc’s girlfriend is from Lithuania, and the international couple have no intention of leaving Denmark. “There is a strong pharmaceutical industry here, which is why Qualiance is so well located in Copenhagen,” says JeanMarc Ferran. “Moreover, it’s easy running a business in Denmark. I get the impression that there would be quite a bit more bureaucracy if I wanted to start a business in France. And even though income tax is high, corporation tax is actually competitive relative to other European countries,” he says. ✻ 39 4.2 New export markets New global markets offer considerable unexploited export potential. Help businesses to move beyond European borders and enjoy success on new markets in growth countries and cities. 40 41 4.2 New export markets As an export consultant, you are in a position to help Danish businesses based on your expertise within well-known, new, small and large markets. Danish businesses primarily trade with customers in neighbouring countries but, with an export consultant on board with the right network and export acumen, they can take their products overseas. According to the book ‘Standing on the sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere’ published by the Harvard Business Review Press, the global economy will see dramatic changes within the next 30 years. Today, western economies account for 75 per cent of global GDP – in 2050 this figure will be just 32 per cent. Thus, there is considerable potential in taking a more global approach to SMEs’ export strategies.According to the Trade Council, world affluence has also shifted. New markets such as Turkey, Indonesia and Mexico are lands of opportunity for Danish SMEs. Many Danish businesses are cautious in relation to exports. Seventy-five per cent of Danish trade is with other EU countries, by far the majority with our neighbouring countries. The following is a list of Denmark’s top ten export markets: 1.Germany 2.Sweden 3. UK 4.Norway 5.USA 6.Netherlands 7.France 8.Italy 9.Poland 10.China Growth and market opportunities Metropolises as export markets The new markets are the so-called BRICS countries, to which an increasing number of Danish businesses are exporting: • Brazil • Russia • India • China • South Africa Markets can be restricted to a single growth metropolis. According to the Trade Council, there are 440 growth cities worldwide. Most of these are found in China and India, but the following count among the largest growth cities elsewhere: São Paulo, Moscow, Mexico City, Istanbul, Lagos and Dhaka. In Europe, London, Munich and Stockholm are worth mentioning. A general rule of thumb is that all cities with a population of more than 1 million people represent a good market for Danish businesses. ✻ Think globally 42 Denmark’s key export markets According to the Trade Council, it would also be beneficial for businesses to draw up a strategy in relation to ‘Next 11’, which are countries showing signs of growth. These countries are: • Turkey • South Korea • Bangladesh • Egypt • Philippines • Nigeria • Indonesia • Vietnam • Mexico • Pakistan • Iran Up-to-date market information In the report ‘Winning the $30 Billion Dollar Decathlon – Going for Gold in Emerging Markets’, McKinsey & Company describes which 440 large cities will see huge growth in future. The Trade Council regularly prepares detailed export market analyses. 43 45 44 CASE: Rumanian teaches Danish export companies Chinese With a university education in Chinese and nine years of work experience, Rumanian Oana Hansen is committed to teach Danish business people how to manage themselves in China. CASE: Rumanian teaches Danish export companies Chinese Many Danish companies have an interest in export to China and Oana Hansen is offering them her help. In her newly started business, “Kinesisk Kursus Aarhus”, Oana teaches business Chinese. Besides teaching the participants the language, the courses also include an introduction to the Chinese business culture and common courtesy. Met Danish husband in China Oana Hansen came to Denmark four years ago. She is married to a Danish man, who she met in China. Both had good jobs in China – he worked for a Danish company and she worked for a big American concern. When they had their son, Oana’s husband wanted to go back to Denmark. “Denmark is a good place to grow up”, Oana says about their joint decision. Knowledge about Chinese culture 46 The target audience is companies who wish to gain foothold in China or who have employees about to be posted abroad. Furthermore, Oana Hansen offers the companies the possibility for her to travel along as an interpreter and to provide support in relation to negotiations. But it is not easy to get a job in Denmark, Oana learned after many fruitless applications. “It took me by surprise, given that I had heard a lot about the Danish companies, who want to penetrate the Chinese market. With my university education in Chinese and English and nine years of work experience in China, I have the right qualifications”, she says. “It is a great advantage that I too have been through the process of learning the language and culture in China because I know where they will face the biggest challenges”, Oana explains. Created her own job “China is one of the BRICS countries with a growing market, but China is also very alien to many people. It is necessary to understand the Chinese language and culture in order to make good trade contacts in the country”, Oana adds. Now she has taken things into her own hands and has become an entrepreneur. In their house in Viby, Oana and her husband have decorated a big, modern seminar room and the first group of students is already in full swing with a tenweek course in business Chinese. ”As an example, it gets easier to negotiate and figure out who the real decision maker at the conference table is, when you understand a bit of the language and the Chinese tone”, Oana explains. “From the outset, my husband has backed me up 100 percent and he has also attended free courses on entrepreneurship to help me get started”, Oana says. With a seminar room at home, she can keep the expenses on her newly started business down and that suits her fine given the fact that it takes time to become a well-known course organiser. “I have invested in a home page and an advertisement and that has been sufficient to get enough course members for my first class. Now I am considering getting flyers printed to hand out at institutions of higher education”, she says. The little details matter Oana Hansen teaches three hours at a time and she wants no more than six course members in every class to make sure they all benefit from it. It is also important to have time to talk about China and the course members have many questions. “The Chinese are very different from us down to the very last detail. The way you order food in a restaurant or conduct small talk before a meeting, for example, differs from European culture. It can be of vital importance for the future success in China that you are prepared for that”, Oana says. Among other things, she teaches her course members that it is more polite to lie than to decline a dinner invitation. And that the Chinese always expect you to bargain over the price, even in fancy conference rooms at big companies. “There are many things that take foreigners by surprise in China, and because I am not Chinese myself, I have an eye for the small details that differ from the European culture”, Oana concludes. ✻ Oana Hansen´s advice to entrepreneurs wanting to establish themselves as export consultants • • • Use your network Follow the courses offered by Startvækst Be patient, hold on and have faith in yourself but don´t forget to listen to other people too 47 5. Free guidance 5.1 Online tools Find online tools, information and export networks that are relevant for you when you wish to start as an export consultant Get inspired by the online tools described below here within export and entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship in Denmark On entrepreneurshipindenmark.dk you can find over 130 articles containing tools and information on entrepreneurship. The tools take you through a startup adventure from idea to growth. Among these tools you will also find this export guide in an online version. EKF 48 EKF is Denmark’s official export credit agency. EKF offers you greater security and paves the way for better financing and boosting of your sales. Indre Markeds Center Find more information or seek assistance on legislation within the EU. The Trade Council The Danish Trade Council is the export and investment organisation within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Their website contains a lot of relevant information about markets, growth and export. Virk – Business in Denmark Virk is your company’s digital entrance to the Danish authorities. On this site you can find information on rules, permits and registration. Virkguiden Learn how to register a company by watching these guides. 49 5.2 Export Network Find information on networks for international export consultants and Danish SMEs that wish to export. Export Talent and International Talent Lab Export Talent and International Talent Lab are programmes run by Copenhagen Business Service. The programmes are directed at expats living in Denmark, who wish to work as export consultants for Danish small and medium-sized enterprises. Highly educated people with an international background can support SMEs in developing and extending their businesses to other countries, by helping the SMEs deal with linguistic and cultural challenges. Global Trade Network Global Trade Network was founded by Innovation and Business Service at Slagelse Municipality. Small and medium-sized enterprises often face challenges such as foreign culture, customs and language when they wish to enter a new export market. Global Trade Network deals with these challenges by connecting Danish export businesses to foreign professionals in Denmark, who have relevant knowledge about specific export markets. 50 51 5.3 Organisations and associations Find organisations and associations within job, entrepreneurship and network who work with people with an international background in Denmark. Novum Novum is a non-profit organisation that is facilitating contacts between Danish export enterprises and highly educated foreigners residing in Denmark looking for jobs. Novum’s six week course opens the doors for foreigners resident in Denmark to small and medium sized enterprises. O.N.E. Danmark Copenhagen Capacity Talent 52 Copenhagen Capacity’s talent department directs Denmark’s first large-scale programme to coordinate initiatives to attract and retain international knowledge workers, researchers, students and their families. This includes improving expat framework conditions, gearing SMEs to employ international talent, and sharing best practice across municipalities, business, governmental bodies, industry clusters, and research & educational institutions. Moreover, the talent department will run an international branding effort to build a talent pipeline in key sectors by creating awareness of Denmark as an attractive place to study, work and live. Eksportjob.dk Jobindex has created a special job and CV database for export jobs. Eksportjob.dk builds a bridge between companies and skilled workers with special knowledge. The idea behind the job database is that skilled job seekers, also with a non-Danish background, can find and apply for jobs within their areas of expertise. Foreningen Nydansker The Association New Danes (Nydansker) is a leading, independent centre for diversity. The Association works to lower the barriers for ethnic minorities and immigrants onto the labour market. Among other things, the Association has a mentor program, where you will be matched with a volunteer career mentor, who will spend about two hours every month helping you with your job application process or career planning. O.N.E. Danmark is an organisation bringing together local, Danish youth organisations working with education and career opportunities. O.N.E. Danmark aims at creating a knowledge sharing network between highly educated young Danes with a non-Danish ethnic origin. Jobnet Jobnet is the public jobcentres website for all jobseekers and employers in Denmark. Jobnet enables you to search for a job among many thousands of vacant jobs or to find a new employee. Jobnet has more than two million visitors every month. At Jobnet you can also find information on job searching, training and recruiting of new employees. International Community Aarhus International Community aims to support international employees and their families during their stay in the Aarhus region. Our venture to create social and professional networks to the benefit of expats encompasses a wide range of events, seminars and online activities. We also offer support to companies in their efforts to recruit and retain international employees. Workindenmark Denmark’s official entrance for employers and foreign job seekers. The website contains job and CV databases, as well as a range of important information about the recruitment and hiring process and other useful facts on residing in Denmark. First job in Denmark First job in Denmark is a project under the Danish employment and integration management. First job in Denmark provides a thorough introduction to the Danish labour market. They focus on your skills and networking, and also assists with how and where to search for jobs, applications & CV’s. New to Denmark The official portal for foreigners and integration. It contains a special section on work and recruitment. 53 6. Reference list Klaff, Oren, an interview on the Chase Jarvis Live show, http://pitchanything.com/oren-explains-live-the-pitch-anything-method/ McKinsey & Company, ‘Winning the $30 Billion Dollar Decathlon – Going for Gold in Emerging Markets’, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/winning_the_30_trillion_decathlon_going_for_gold_in_emerging_markets Meyer, Christopher: ‘Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere’, the Harvard Business Review Press, 2012 54 www.startvækst.dk www.entrepreneurshipindenmark.dk http://borsen.dk/konferencer/gazeller.html www.mindtools.com http://um.dk/en/tradecouncil/publications/market/ Competent feedback and information: Peter Mygind Rasmussen, Svetlana Gertsen, Virginie Morlet and Giovanni Orio.
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