Over the past year SahlComm has been expanding our offerings internationally. We are in Frankfurt Germany and are about to launch our UK office in January 2015. It is not as easy as it may sound, but it is worth the effort. We’ve made several mistakes along the way, and we hope by sharing our successful experiences, we might help your business have a smooth international expansion.
FIRST: Pick a country where you have connections, business and the potential to increase partnerships. It’s always easier to pick a place that resonates with your product or service offering. One of our prime market sectors is technology and engineering. We find those sectors can trust us to successfully communicate their product to a specific market in the US. SO we landed in Frankfurt Germany. US Germany
SECOND: Find a stateside representative for that country who can assist you. Once SahlComm decided to move forward with business in Germany, we located Hessen-trade and Invest in New York City. The Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH is the economic development company for the State of Hessen in Germany. Their mission is to position and strengthen Hessen as an economic and technology site nationally and internationally. Together with representatives from industry, science and government, they work as a catalyst to develop Hessen further and make it permanently competitive for the future.
Working closely with Kristina Garcia here in the US and Dr. Rainer Waldschmidt has enabled SahlComm to navigate business needs and network with key people both here in the US and in Germany.
THIRD: Inform your local chamber of commerce and congressional representatives of your decision to expand internationally. Once word got out that we were expanding our company internationally, we made two very important meetings. First, to the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and second we scheduled a visit to speak with Congressman Charlie Dent. Both the Chamber and Congressman Dent’s office were very supportive and immediately started helping us network. They continue to help us with vital connections and assistance as SahlComm continues to grow.
FOURTH: Visit the area. Perhaps this should really be number one, but sometimes, you do not have the luxury of taking a flight while growing a business. For SahlComm, we received business leads and started hosting calls via “Go to Meeting” prior to flying to Germany. However, in March of 2014, we had the opportunity to fly into Frankfurt and spend 5 days conducting business. It was after seeing the city and meeting the wonderful people in the state of Hessen, that we decided that Frankfurt in Hessen would be our first international office.
FIFTH: Network, network, network. It’s pretty basic but very true. Throughout everything we do in SahlComm, we are always networking. We found that connecting with business organizations and joining networking events while we were in Germany really increased our opportunities. We have also connected with German based groups here in the US and have attended events with the great people behind the non-profit GermanyinNYC.org.
Throughout the past year, we found that identifying a country that works with your offerings, connecting state-side with groups designed to help you expand internationally, visiting the country and networking are the key tools to help you get started internationally.
We appreciate all the support we’ve received from the organizations listed in this posting. Keep reading our blog to learn more about our expansion into Germany. In 2015, we are looking into the UK.