Genoa Black launched just three years ago in 2013 but already supports clients in Asia, the Dominican Republic, Middle East, US and Europe. MD Claire Kinloch caught up with BQ to talk about the challenges exporting can present and how the business overcomes them.
What does your company do?
Genoa Black provides Strategic Marketing Consultancy, Marketing Services and 1-2-1 Marketing Advisory support to corporates, SMEs and entrepreneurs across a range of sectors including technology, energy, food and drink, automotive, education, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism.
How long has the company been exporting?
Since our launch in August 2013.
What do you currently export, and where to?
We currently support clients through our consultancy, advisory and marketing services offering in the US, Europe, Asia, Dominican Republic and Middle East.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
Working as an integrated part of our clients’ teams, our work in supporting them internationally has been a relatively organic process. Our diverse client portfolio offers many opportunities for working on international activity and by aligning our clients’ marketing strategies with their business growth objectives, our work with them supports the delivery of their strategies overseas at many levels.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
Technology now provides an easy way of communicating with international markets and so this aspect of connecting with people internationally is relatively straightforward.
And the most challenging part?
Language is probably the biggest challenge as our role is to support the delivery of relevant and accurate messages on behalf of our clients, in different markets. There are ways to overcome these barriers, however you need to be resourceful and it takes longer to prepare and get things right.
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
Preparation and research is key – there are many tools to tap into in terms of preparing for international projects however we have overcome these, mainly by seeking counsel and talking to others who have experience in certain markets and learning from them.
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
Genoa Black regularly uses tools and support available through Scottish Development International to help guide us in navigating new markets where we are supporting clients. Market research intelligence has been particularly useful in team and project briefings, as has SDI’s support in helping develop our international connections.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
Try to expand connections in the markets where you are planning to do business as quickly as possible to give you a sounding board and advisory support for any questions you might have along the way. Generally people welcome anyone interested in doing business in their region and are usually happy to point you in the right direction or provide direct advice.
Not yet! The Genoa Black team has really enjoyed our international work to date and look forward to expanding this part of our offering moving forwards.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years time?
With strong experience and a good track record already under our belt in international projects, we are keen to formalise some of our international presence over the next few years and are currently reviewing options surrounding this.