I attended a large event organised by Yorkshire Forward and UKTI called Going Global, held at the impressive Harrogate showground, as part of my growing role as an an international speaker.
Along with Jackie Whiteley of http://www.strulch.co.uk/ and Sandra Corcoran of http://www.penninecycles.com/Home.htm - both of whom I have met thanks to www.forwardladies.com , we listened to a full morning of speakers.
The day was hosted by BBC correspondent Nils Blythe and the first speaker I heard was Dr. James Bellini who talked about the emerging markets of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and encouraged businesses to gear their exporting power north of the equator in the years ahead. He is described as a futurologist. http://www.jamesbellini.com/
We were then treated to Lord Digby Jones - well at least a video of him - encouraging businesses to go global!
I was very impressed with Allyson Stewart-Allen, http://www.intermarketingonline.com/, who spoke about culture and international business, with a focus on the American market. She pointed out the need for knowing the rules of business in the destination and to be persistent. She also demonstrated some British words which do not have the same meaning in the USA, e.g. pulling into a 'lay-by' is not an expression that the Americans would take politely.
Then we listened to three speakers who were from Yorkshire who have made successful businesses with international trade. They shared some of their tips for success, e.g. being flexible, innovative, doing your research.
There were then a choice of masterclasses to attend. I went to one on marketing lead by Jonathan Sands from Elmwood Design http://www.elmwood.co.uk/flash/?#/home/. We were treated to an array of stunning photographs from around the globe and the importance of your brand message across different cultures. I confess that I was pleased when he said that anyone helping to alleviate stress and anxiety in business were onto a winner! He gave plenty of hints and tips for trading internationally and suggested techniques to make potential customers to smile, which improved your chance of success. He also stressed the importance of knowing business protocol in different countries and suggested two books ' When cultures collide' http://www.amazon.com/When-Cultures-Collide-Richard-Lewis/dp/1857880870 and 'The world is flat' http://www.amazon.com/World-Flat-History-Twenty-first-Century/dp/0374292884
The catering at Yorkshire event centre was excellent and also had an international theme. http://www.eventcentre.co.uk/
After networking I then sat in another Masterclass about market research for trading abroad. This was a useful look at researching your market by desk, internet and field. Have a look at 'Surfing without Drowning' at http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/6798219245745492853/export-marketing-research-scheme.html for loads of useful tips on looking at researching your potential markets abroad.
Then it was the 'big catch' of the day with an interview by Nils Blythe with Sir Alan Sugar - at least he appeared in person. The focus was supposed to be on going global but we got a long history of how he had started in business and eventually a few tips, e.g. use the phone and electronic means of communication before you get on a plane to meet prospective overseas clients. He also advised not to moan and to deal with obstacles in your way. Sadly many of the questions from the floor seemed to be used as an opportunity to 'test and market' their business to Sir Alan and the delegates as opposed to generic 'Going Global' questions. He over ran by at least 20 minutes keen to answer questions but none were really of use!
I was able to meet up briefly with the UKTI rep from Latvia, who I had met there earlier in the year, and her colleagues from Lithuania and Estonia. My articles have appeared in Lithuanian magazines recently and I hope to return there to speak at some point.
Thank you Yorkshire Forward http://www.yorkshire-forward.com/www/index.asp and UKTI https://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ for an interesting and useful day and I am busy following up the advice and introductions I got. My suggestions to any business looking to trade abroad would be to make use of these agencies or their equivalents around the country!