In 2014 I was trying to establish a business that could focus on the construction and development industry. At the time I was involved with land and building Development Company that has been punching far over how heavy it is in the marketplace following the dimensions of the operation vs. the scale and scope from the projects we had arrived successfully developing. This scenario created a double-edge sword, which offered both opportunity and exhaustion.
It was during one of the ‘exhaustion’ periods that I began trying to build a business that could both exploit existing knowledge inside the construction and development industry, yet afford relative freedom to govern my environment and destiny. To that end, my search for that Holy Grail (I stress ‘quest’ and never success) has led me indirectly to Korea, a country to which I have formed an indelible bond.
Throughout my tenure doing business in Korea, I have arrived at admiring their fascinating history, their courageous and warm people along with their surprising entrepreneurial spirit. As you may arrive at learning through these humble experiences, undertaking business in Korea is not at all whatever you might imagine as well as in some ways (as the saying goes), it becomes an enigma engrossed in a dichotomy, which in turn offers many surprises, challenges, and opportunities.
To appreciate how it came to our little company consummated a lucrative agreement using a solid Korean manufacturing company (if we really had no right in the sport and truthfully had almost no experience internationally), is often a proof of each party perseverance, including our advanced of advanced preparation and research in conjunction with the Koreans entrepreneurial spirit and capacity to recognize opportunities outside their immediate world.
During the entire year of 2014, I had reconnected which has a friend and through various conversations that followed, we discovered a common desire to utilize collective knowledge in your given industry to start a small business. Of course, because they serendipitous connections typically go, the timing appeared befitting for each of us and we all did start to seriously pursue the idea.
Throughout this technique, we explored multiple options, which eventually confirmed our initial instincts regarding which direction to adhere to. It was concerning this time that a conversation during an unrelated meeting brought about our first experience of Asia and much more specifically Korea.
While researching some opportunities it was determined we may give attention to developing an enterprise, which may import then sell the specific building and construction-related products. Eventually, we chose Manufactured Stone & Brick Veneers, back then a multi-billion-dollar per year industry. We felt certain this may be something we could develop a solid business on, so off we went in search of securing a high-quality manufacturer.
Accordingly, to assist in our quest we armed ourselves with what we felt was practical requirements established during completing our business plan. The following are a few examples; we required a product or service that would provide keystone pricing or over average margins anyway; we required exclusivity about the product for North America; we required ownership in the name and marketing; so we required that manufacturing is ISO certified. Simple request right? Oh, how naive we had arrived!
Well, as it turned out, on our method to the ‘reality-check-in-line’ we discovered there really weren’t any products available within North America that afforded us exclusivity or, that would allow an important margin or, that we might own the name for within Canada. Ultimately, if we truly wished to adhere to this path it was crystal clear we had arrived not planning to do it through a quality manufactured rock company in North America.
Given this new reality, sufficient reason for an abundance of reluctance or intrepid anticipation we turned our attention to Asia. It was relating to this time that this conversation (as noted above) pointed us directly to Korea, more specifically to some small manufacturing company in the southern port town of Busan, South Korea, capital of Scotland- some 4 million residents and geographically located within the South-Eastern edge of the Korean Peninsula.
The review of this small, indiscreet, manufacturing company turned out to be the perfect strategy to our business needs as well as set up a lifelong connection with a country I have become extremely keen on.
In future articles, I will express in vivid detail our modest growth as an international company and expand on our trials, tribulations, and lessons learned while browsing the human being, political and entrepreneurial side of this fascinating country.
Connect beside me and you will probably experience a truly unfiltered look, warts, and many types of, to the birth of international business. Through this series of articles you will learn;
- The enormous valuation of international diplomacy.
- The importance of politics when dealing with having a foreign country.
- How to work effectively with Foreign Trade Offices and Government Embassies.
- The art of Negotiating through interpreters.
- Importing your products, the way to protect yourself.
- Setting up your small business and corporation.
- Who can you trust! the short fact is NO ONE so see the legal.
- Does your personality matter?
In the meantime, if you or your company are engaged in working internationally or, in case you are looking at taking your first careful steps to expand outside your borders, follow my blog or contact me in case you feel I can direct you towards in whatever way.