It’s taken 25 years but my dream of setting up a dedicated advisory company to the art of internationalization has finally seen the light of day.
I have always been passionate about what makes or undoes the successful expansion of everything that oils the wheels of international trade – from high-tech industrial machinery from Germany that can be found in factories from Latin America to Japan to how a local furniture maker from Sweden grew to become the global powerhouse it is today.
My own career has taken me from the cut-throat world of textile sales in a hugely price-sensitive marketplace through a multinational telecommunications provider seeking to reinvent itself as a full-service internet player in an era of massive technological change – with mixed results. For the last 16 years, I have been advising companies across a multitude of sectors on how to achieve best results from their export strategies – in regions as diverse as the European Union, the Middle East and China. This period has led me to straddle the public and private sectors where governments seek to stimulate entrepreneurship within their borders and internationalization of their companies whilst private businesses grapple with the day to day challenges of developing products and services that are sufficiently innovative that will lead customers to buy them, ideally at a price premium – and stage their growth in such a way that scale can be developed on an international stage with minimum financial risk and maximum manufacturing efficiency.
Throughout this time, I have been struck by the passion of business leaders, the limitless ambition that fuels their vision but also, unfortunately, the tendency to fall into the same traps that litter the export journey irrespective of the sector or even the region one is exporting from.
In 2004 I participated in an international conference on the theme of Scaling SMEs through international expansion which took place over 3 days with break-out workshops and plenary sessions. I shared the stage with representatives from countries as diverse in their economic characteristics as India, Brazil, Egypt, Denmark and South Korea to name but a few. I was struck during this conference by the remarkable similarity in stories being told by each of the delegates regarding the most common pitfalls that befell their companies when embarking on international expansion.
Indeed, in subsequent years, I further affirmed this view in my own interactions with management teams from technology-led start-ups to large food companies. The most common mistakes made by SMEs when exporting internationally, relate to core aspects of their approach to sales and marketing. Such is the prevalence of these shortcomings, that in establishing Vervantum I was determined to encompass them as a gateway to the range of services that the company could provide. The Export Health Check which is described on this site should be seen as a repository of many years of observations, conversations, problem-solving, mentorship and especially, solutions, that I hope will be of value to your company.
In fact, in launching Vervantum, there is a core ethos that underscores the entire service offering – we want to share our passion for internationalization with you in a way that will support you to embark on your journey on the most solid of foundations. In doing this, we will not impart academic management advice to you – instead we will dig deep into the unique DNA of your business and seek full buy-in from your management team to chart a path that works for you. We will do this in an honest and enthusiastic way with a deep commitment to the confidentiality of any information you may share with us.
We look forward to supporting you.
Gary Fallon, Founder.
Welcome to Vervantum.