Category Archives: Leverage Your Expertise

Are You An Ageist?

When was the last time you wondered if you are an ageist, that is prejudice against age?

Even if you are approximately the same chronological age as your ideal clients and your peers, you may not be immune from ageism. This insidious prejudice could still be a strong negative influence.

Ageism or prejudice related to age which labels others as either “too young” or “too old” for certain things, is usually automatic and unconscious.

Most people, consciously and unconsciously, adopt different sets of stereotypes as their personal norm. For instance, individuals often apply their own standards to others whom they consider their equal in age. Since individuals usually see themselves as younger by a decade or more than others perceive them, effective communication can become complicated.

Even prospects or clients who are the same age as you, can believe themselves “too young” for some things and “too old” for others. This means they’ll decide this for you, too, whether you share their ageist standards or not.

Do not use age-related comments unless you know exactly why age is relevant to the discussion. It usually is not.

For instance, to build rapport, professional advisors, who perceive new prospects to be older than they are, may use foot-in-mouth comments like “that’s just like my grandparents” or still bad “that’s just like my parents” to break the ice with these “older” people.

  • If prospects see the professionals as being of a similar age, the prospects may feel they have just been insulted.
  • If the prospects are older, the professionals may have lost credibility by pointing out the probably-irrelevant age difference.

How’s that rapport building coming along?

If you want to bring your thinking and communicating into the 21st Century, tackle ageist anchors which may hold you back, personally and professionally. When there is a difference in chronological age between you and your clients—in one direction or the other—you have opportunities to end ageist stereotypes and help clients appreciate themselves as individuals. Which ageist barriers stand in the way of your delivery of extreme service excellence?

Stereotypes represent bias and weakness in our knowledge and understanding. These mental shortcomings emerge as ageism, racism, sexism, and on the -isms go.

This disconnect is compounded by the fact that many of these perceived limitations and restrictions can be traced back to the 19th and 20th Centuries, if not before. Particularly shocking news if the 21st Century is the only one you’re worked or even lived in.

Consider ageism in yourself, your peers, your staff, and those who you answer to, including prospects and clients. Who believes the “too old” and “too young” labels? Remember, ageism is automatic and unconscious. Ramp up your powers of observation before you shrug this analysis off as unnecessary or start calling other people out before taking a long look at yourself.

Which effective communication strategies will achieve the greatest results with the maximum enrichment of relationships and workplace productivity? The key to improvement lies in appreciating individual uniqueness instead of repeating clichés and perpetuating prejudice in its most insidious form—humor. For instance, stop memory-lapse “jokes” like “I’m having a senior’s moment.” Become part of the solution.

How have you deliberately shed out-dated reactions and aligned your communication with 21st-Century realities about chronological age?

Inspiration Is Your Choice

How do you become inspired?

Do you associate inspiration with classic external influences like heroic deeds and nature with its spectacular sunsets and much more?

In reality, whatever your setting, environment, or context, inspiration starts within each of us.

Inspiration is a conscious awakening of creativity, problem-solving, or your special interest or thinking style to reveal otherwise overlooked or untapped potential.

Inspiration involves stimulation of mind and emotions in response to something or someone when we pay attention. Observe something, someone, or some event and react to it by opening your mind to wonder: “How can this experience be interpreted or applied in a different context or to solve a different problem?” Now you’re inspired!

Inspiration is always all around us and within us. An endless and often surprising array of things, activities, problems, or creativity abounds to act as stimulus for a wide range of inspiration.

Summits and conventions are a significant source of fast-forward inspiration for me and my clients. An invitation to attend the recent 109th Rotary International Convention held the added attraction of its theme: “Inspiration around every corner.” I joined 24,000 Rotary members from 175 countries—a mini-United Nations.

  • International big-name speakers and special projects like peacebuilding and end polio inspired many. The showcase of projects presented tradeshow-style as the House of Friendship was inspiration central for me and thousands more.
  • Large-scale events charged up many attendees, but there was inspiration all around us. A chance happening really touched me. A few hundred Nigerian Rotarians, most in native dress, spontaneously burst into their national anthem as the picture-only broadcast of a World Cup Soccer match featuring Nigeria began. Their obvious joy at singing together was only second to my amazement that they all knew all the words and sang them with gusto. Maybe helping people learn to sing their national anthem with obvious enthusiasm is a worthwhile project?
  • I learned a lot from the many Rotary members from around the world that I met. When I asked, “What inspires you about this Convention?,” they all exuberantly told me. The most common response revolved around meeting and re-meeting friends and colleagues they had worked with and stayed with around the world. The many other inspirations gave me food for thought and helped me see fresh opportunity around me and for my clients.

What I am reminded of time and again is that self-inspiration or training yourself to remain curious and to wonder about everything is a powerful and under-utilized skill.

Instead, of keeping your eyes on a screen where things—largely marketing—are fed to you, maintain curiosity and wonder as you move through the real world. Consciously, take this constructive stance at least part of each day and you may get hooked.

About Rotary: Rotary ( rotary.org ) brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. The 2019 the “Capture the Moment” Rotary International Convention will transform for Hamburg, Germany, from June 1 to 5.

Social Purpose: Falotico & Inner Balance

Social Purpose Drives Startups

Part 1. What’s Your Point? PODCAST

Launch Day Perspectives PODCAST

Entrepreneurs Lino Falotico and Alicia Zadravec of InnerBalanceWear.com candidly share thoughts on inner balance and on integrating social purpose into their business venture. Are you searching for social purpose to enrich your work, contribute to obvious local need, and reach out to new target groups? Listen in…

PODCAST Highlights: 18:53 minutes
00:48 Lino Falotico’s social purpose & inner balance
04:16 Epiphany…from caterer to designer
05:56 Lino: “I believe my product will…” invisible awareness
08:20 Lino: “20 seconds” next step after epiphany
09:49 Evolution of the business concept of Inner Balance
11:26 Alicia: “Why underwear…”
13:34 The practical side…manufacturing
16:39 7% of net proceeds to Mental Health Awareness…

Part 2. Article: “5 Tips for Successfully Pursuing Social Purpose

Before you plunge into a new social venture, consider our social-purpose example and these 5 Tips for Successful Pursuit which reveal the driving force of social purpose. This article adopts the perspective of real estate and related financial professionals to explore integration of social purpose into a practice. Simple extrapolation into other professions and business ventures requires only a pinch of imagination. Plus more on Startup InnerBalanceWear.com

Part 3. Where Does Humor Fit into Social Purpose?

Increasing numbers of professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners want to integrate social purpose into their business venture. Their reasons for doing so, range from personal involvement to client-based concern. In all cases, if social purpose is poorly or sloppily handled, it can setback the cause and undermine business relationships.

When social purpose is your intent, you’ll probably have to address sensitive topics and discuss subjects that can cause offense or upset. Language has evolved over this century to include more and more topics previously rarely spoken of. Have we improved our communication skills or vocabulary to be sure the point can be made clearly and sensitively?

Before you plunge into marketing and sales content and campaigns to spread the word about your social purpose, make sure you won’t get tripped by ignorance or blind-sided by overlooked perspectives. For instance, when considering your social purpose, invest time analyzing where humor comes in and where it definitely doesn’t fit:

  • Don’t assume your taste, experience, or education dictates what others think or react to. Consider the long list of social media “foot in mouth” incidents from the well-meaning.
  • Research the history of your social subject to clarify persistent misconceptions. Talk to those who really know about a subject and you’ll discover an amazing list of things the public misunderstand. Communicating your perspective will involve clarifying this confusion and make you a recognized expert.
  • Expand your understanding of related issues rather than investigating your social issue as if it exists in isolation. If you are already involved in the social issue, you may be too close to see the big picture. If you’ve only recently come across this issue, there may be a lot to learn.
  • Do you know enough about those who are directly and indirectly affected by this social issue? Assumptions are dangerous and often counter-productive.
  • Avoid impromptu responses, discussions, or interviews until professional communicators have helped you. They will clarify your social message, the match between this message and your business issues, and what you want to change about the current social situation. Start with clear simple messages and that will attract experts as well as those directly involved. These people will help build momentum for the cause that they also believe in.

Humor can add another element of complexity

If the social purpose involves changing views that included laughing at people or their behavior, then misunderstandings can complicate the situation. Remember that humor is an attitude. You’ll understand that changing the perspectives on your chosen subject will involve permanently shifting attitudes. How does that align with the client education that helps clients achieve the best results when they use your products or services?

Humor is not always about the punchline or a belly laugh. Often it revolves around every-day occurrences and involvements. When humor is properly applied, attention spans increase and learning increases:

  • Humor can bring people together quickly or widen the divide between them. What are the tensions associated with the social purpose you’re considering? Will humor reduce those tensions or could it inadvertently increase stress?
  • Humor can reveal common ground, common misconceptions, and the silly side of misunderstandings and miscommunication. Jokes and stories that make fun of others can build barriers and entrench resentment. What language, stereotypes, or misconception could build barriers?
  • If you want to use humor to raise morale, build teams, and enhance rapport to build awareness of the issues associated with your selected social purpose, you must understand the issues from all perspectives.
  • Humor may provide strong ways to offer coping mechanisms for those involved during the transition or in the new solutions you propose. People like working and volunteering in positive, optimistic workplaces, so humor will become an asset when intelligently and appropriately applied.

Just because you can get a laugh or tell jokes well, does not mean you understand how to professionally communicate with humor.

The unpracticed speaker often repeats catchphrases and cliché which perpetuate ageism, sexism, and other prejudices. Some people will tell you directly that you have made a serious misstatement, but social media is driven by those who’ll tell others, with much embellishment, about your misstep.

How helpful can you be to your social cause if you cannot communicate the point of your social purpose clearly in every medium, on all platforms your targets frequent?

For more on Forward Thinking, visit these posts:



For more on PJ’s work as The Catalyst, visit www.TheCatalyst.com

Marketing Involves Distraction, Good & Bad

Businesses and professionals, with good or bad intentions, create distraction.

Marketing, advertising, and promotion intentionally distract targets—consumers or business-to-business decision makers, depending on the business.

These self-serving communication approaches refocus prospect and client attention on the company (its products or services) which pays for the marketing and promoting.

In this highly-distracting world, do your target prospects and clients see genuine value in the additional distractions you subject them to?

  • Your marketing and promotion distract target prospects and clients in an attempt to shift their focus toward your service or products. You consider this interference “good distraction.” Would your target prospects and clients agree?
  • Competitors’ marketing and promotion distracts your target prospects and clients away from your company and toward competitors’ products or services. Would you consider this interference “bad distraction”? Would your prospects and clients agree with you?

I am someone’s target prospect. So are you.

This means we are regularly distracted and interfered with in the name of marketing, advertising, and promotion, whether we want to be or not.

Are you always caught by a marketing or promotion message at the best possible time to make a buying decision for that product or service?

Even if you’re interested, don’t these messages often catch you in the middle of something that is as, or more important, to you than spending your money in response to someone else’s distracting marketing or promotion message? How do you feel about the value of these marketing, advertising, promotional, and other self-serving messages in view of the time they cost you?

Emails and online advertising are honed and data-manipulated to attract select prospects and clients, but these intrusive sales pitches can miss their mark when timing is off—distraction plus.

When the sender—that’s the marketer or promoter—decides what’s the “best” timing for them, not targets. When targets find the messages unnecessary or untimely, the resulting distraction can be a nuisance, an annoyance, an interruption, or a major turn-off.

How are you sure that your marketing and promotion messages carry value in their own right? Is the timing ideal for targets or is the message just a waste of time? Do your selected prospects and clients respond to your marketing, advertising, and promotion? Would your targets label your messages “good distractions”?

From The Target’s Perspective

Targets can be distracted by the cloud of marketing, promotion, and advertising you, your competition, and your industry surround them with, online and off. These distractions can keep target prospects and clients from making clear, confident buying or selling decisions which are in their own best interest.

What is your full intent when marketing?

Most of us are consumers of real estate and its related services in our personal or business lives. This means you may relate to the following example of how one aspect of distraction affects real estate buyers. Prospects and buyers can be diverted from clear thinking and decision making by real estate marketing, promotion, and other deliberate marketing distractions.

Take a look at “Seven Essentials for Buying a Safe Home:”

“In dazzling summer sunshine, everything in a home looks great. But…and it’s a big but! Buyers can be distracted by strategic staging, clever decor, and time pressures.
They benefit from stepping back to determine whether the home they’re considering will require expensive additions or overhauls to keep everyone safe—not just this summer, but every day of the year. As well as any safety concerns specific to your family, there are seven main safety issues that should be top of mind for buyers of houses, townhomes, or condominiums. How long is your safety list when home shopping?Continue reading…

Are you aware how your marketing, advertising, and other communication distractions could intentionally or unintentionally undermine targets’ decision making?

Is distraction an intended or an unintended consequence of your determined outreach to prospects and clients?

For more on effective client communication and for client retention insight:

Roots of Resistance to Change

Roots of Resistance to change—yours and clients’—can cause problems and distractions.

Reactions to change, whatever they are based on, are most disruptive when they arise between professionals and their prospects and clients, especially when a transaction is involved. Resistance to change is usually grounded in frustration, vulnerability, past experience, or miscommunication, not in change itself:

  • Resistance can arise when the interests of one individual or group seem to be, or are, ignored, misinterpreted, or disadvantaged by others.
  • Entrenched roots of stereotypes and prejudice in one group may lead to other individuals or groups being labeled “resistant to new ideas or procedures” before they actually reveal their true reactions.

Roots: Resistance to change is not always the wrong reaction, nor is it always negative.
Continue reading

Outsourcing: Knowledge Attracts Knowledge

Professionals know what’s next

Professionals who employ their depth of knowledge to service clients, appreciate genuine expertise in others.

In delivering consistently high-quality services, professionals often have to outsource some or all of the work.

The challenge lies in locating complimentary services and products sold by professionals who also possess deep commitment to honing their expertise.

Tradeshows and conventions are terrific environments for discovering outstanding skills, products, and expertise without the hollow ring of “showing off” that marketing and advertising content can introduce.

For example, the annual IDS—Interior Design Show—is a professional-on-professional trade show that also invites end users to enjoy the mix of innovation and sustainability. If you’d like to observe professional communication in action, this is a great place to start.

Ask IDS Exhibitor Michael Pourvakil of Weavers Art about his business creating “the world’s most beautiful rugs” and it’s not long before he is extolling the value of professional interior designers.

Pourvakil explained, “The best products and best services are shown to advantage by interior designer expertise.”

The value of Weavers Art products and services is embodied in the “rugaholics”—Pourvakil and his staff—who curate the extensive and continually changing, internationally-sourced inventory.

They know that their expertise is amplified by the expertise of interior designers. At Weavers Art, they understand that this dictates their job is doing all they can to ensure working with Weavers Art is the best decision each designer makes.

Pourvakil stressed they do not sell on price since handmade rugs do not come down in price in a world where labor costs are increasing. The focus is peace of mind for all concerned which makes clear, accurate communication essential in every stage from design and creation to installation of the finished custom rug.

  • Does the process of servicing your clients involve the exacting delivery of products or service by other professionals? If so, how do you identify genuine talent and commitment when outsourcing? Or is price/cost the main focus?
  • How do you ensure you understand the specific value—from your point of view and your clients’—of outsourced professional expertise?
  • What steps do you take to guarantee respect for expertise—therefore, communication—works both ways and always benefits your clients?

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Social Media As Defined By Your Target

target WHO

Who’s your target WHO?

The social media that drove your business and defined your target through start-up, may not be the social media that fosters equally amazing future growth.
That’s a reality to consider before you assume it’s full steam ahead with the social media platform you built the business around. Or before something happens to the platform—it’s snapped up by a giant, algorithms are changed, or your defined target market is swept on to the next new thing.

You may be comfortable moving forward along the same social media path that has gotten you this far, but prolonged status quo rarely works in any aspect of business. For instance, the skills and knowledge that enabled you to grow your businesses through start up, are not the abilities and capabilities that facilitate mature business growth.

The choice of which social media to build services and products around should probably not have been yours in the first place. Ideally, you began by identifying the target or preferred client group or groups that would would place the highest value on what you offer, whether it is a product, software, skill training, or any other B2B or B2C product or service. Target social media preferences and usage patterns dictated yours and defined your social media.

(If you were first drawn to a new or emerging platform and then to key groups using it, you’ll still find, over time, user tastes and needs shift and changes to the platform may not favor your business.)

Which of the two classic client service patterns represents your high priority target clients?

1. “Temporary” Clients/Niche Specific:
Your product or service is valued at a specific stage, for an identifiable niche, or for short-term use. Your business is designed to continually cultivate new “waves” of clients at that same high-usage stage. Acquiring new clients is high priority. For instance, clients may only need your products or services during start-up mode for businesses or during university years for individuals. These clients remain loyal during this time and then their need or interest in the product or service ends and they move on.

2. “Permanent” Clients/Across Niches:
Your product or service is valued over each client’s lifetime or for long-term use. Your business is designed to “permanently” retain and maintain existing clients over years or decades, if not forever. Retaining existing clients is high priority. For instance, your business takes clients through a lifetime or all the growth stages of a business. Clients remain loyal “forever.”

The social media used by “temporary” client types may be different from that which attracts “permanent” client types. At least, how they use and engage will differ even within the same platform. The difference may also lie in which combinations of social media and technology targets use.

Would your prime target client group be considered “temporary” or “permanent?”
How does their social media usage reflect this pattern?
What’s next for your clients?

Defining your target client includes knowing how to anticipate their social media needs.

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Panel How-tos: Chronic Pain Forum

Panel discussion whole greater

Panel discussion = whole greater than sum

With panel discussions, the whole is not always greater than the sum of the parts.

An amazing group of expert panelists needs an amazing communicator and analyst as the moderator and more time than the event is usually assigned. The most important ingredient for an amazing panel discussion is a clearly-stated topic which has the breadth to showcase panelist expertise and allow them to drill down into the subject for inspired insight. If the panel topic tries to cover “everything you every wanted to know about…” the discussion can be superficial or just ordinary.

My work and research make me a frequent and enthusiastic conference and meeting attendee. I admit that I am drawn to panel discussions because communication and the lack of it are what fascinates me. Panel-fan that I am, many panels leave me wondering more about what wasn’t said than what was.

The Best Advice for Panel Design

When you plan a panel discussion for your conference, client-appreciation event, or professional-development meeting, my advice as a panel-fan is to always apply the best advice for successful travel. Why “travel”? When panels catch fire and generate transporting edu-tainment (education combined with entertainment) for their specific audience, the experience is “mind travel” to a new exciting, even surprising place.

My advice for a transporting panel discussion is the same I give for travel: Take half as many clothes and twice as much money.

  • For your panel discussion, the “half as many clothes” will be half as many topics, subjects, and perspectives. Just as novice travelers don’t travel light, panel planners can get carried away with the brain power at their disposal and pack in every subject possible. Ready for all occurrences, just in case, can mean missing the point of the panel discussion in the conference’s context.
  • The panel discussion’s “twice as much money” does not refer to paying panelists more (usually there is little or no payment for these experts). Instead, the “money” refers to how the panel’s value—knowledge, experience, humor, and insight—materializes for the audience. When designing a panel discussion, ramp up the value to audiences. “Twice as much” is just the beginning. At business events, audiences expect to make money from what they learn and who they meet during the conference or meeting. Concentrate on how audience members can take their exposure to the panel discussion “to the bank.”

Example: Chronic Pain Forum

This Panel Discussion, presented by The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, jointly with The Huffington Post, is deliberately tackling a big subject head-on to ramp-up attention to The Chronic Pain Epidemic—attention that is long overdue.

The expertise of Forum meeting planners, panelists, and audiences will make this event matter. I’m suggesting you take a look at this event to see how subsequent panel discussions within this umbrella topic could “take half as many clothes and twice as much money” to further ramp-up attention to the issues here.
(The Epidemic’s impact on business is a topic for another post.)

Forum advance notices state:

Panelists are open to exploring relevant pain care policies, including prescription monitoring program regulations, drug development, funding for research, and a variety of pain management options, including marijuana and mindfulness meditation.

With only one hour for the panel and diverse audiences invited, how will this talented panel rise to create value for audiences?

The Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Forums

THE CHRONIC PAIN EPIDEMIC: What’s to Be Done?

Presented by The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health jointly with The Huffington Post

Thursday, November 10, 2016
11am ET — a brief pre-event Q&A with panelist Vaughan Rees and moderator David Freeman. Post your questions during the Q&A on Facebook.
12:30-1:30pm ET — During the one-hour panel discussion, panelists will examine how clinicians can best serve their patients, highlighting the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recent National Pain Strategy.

  • Watch the webcast: ForumHSPH.org
    You do not need to register to watch Forum webcasts online.
  • In association with Harvard Health Publications
    You can also watch the live stream on Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/Forumhsph/
  • The Forum video will be on demand after the event.
  • Join the live chat on The Forum’s Chronic Pain Epidemic web page.
  • Tweet @ForumHSPH #chronicpain

The Panel of Experts

Josephine Briggs, Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH

Anne Louise Oaklander, Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, and an attending neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Vaughan Rees, addiction specialist and Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, U.S. Pain Foundation; Member, Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, NIH; and Policy Council Chair, Massachusetts Pain Initiative

Moderator David Freeman is the managing editor of Impact & Innovation at The Huffington Post. He is also host of the weekly NPR radio program Science Insider.

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Clients Demand: Pay Attention To Earn TRUST

Pay attention duck legs unseen

Pay attention: What’s below the water with clients?

To engage and hold the attention of a prospect or client, professionals must first PAY ATTENTION.

The media and marketing are committed to distraction, interruption, and redirection to achieve their goals, not your client’s. The more information, phone time, and social media noise distracting a prospect or client, the less of their attention there is to apply to the client problem you expect to solve. Ignore this attention-diverting context, and you won’t be prepared for success with clients who are distracted from making decisions and commitments.

To ramp up your “attention paying” and attention receiving:

1. Tailor to Earn Trust: Your approach, delivery, and service design may have worked before smartphones took over. Now, changes may be necessary to counterbalance the level of information overload your client is operating under or coping with each day. For instance, you may prefer one phone call or meeting to cover everything that you need said, concluding with the client signing on-the-dotted-line and buying your product or service. What’s the client’s preference? Today, many clients need more time and different methods of information delivery to become confident enough to buy. Others may want to take themselves through the sales process online with opportunity to search out details, alternatives, and reviews as they go. What learning tools do your target clients prefer: video, audio, experiential?

2. Concentrate to Earn Trust: It’s not only paying attention to your client that matters, but demonstrating that you’re concentrating. Reduce your level of distraction to elevate concentration. Put down your phone. Eye contact matters. Ask for details; listen constructively to client answers by taking notes; think about the points they make; analyze what’s missing; ask for details to clarify needs and gaps that your product or service is designed to fill. Every time the client has to repeat something to you or remind you that their earlier answer dictates their response to subsequent questions, you’re not earning trust and you may be losing accumulated trust.

3. Prepare to Earn Trust: Take-away content in print, audio, video, digital, or email form may give the prospect or client confidence in your sincerity. During a meeting, give them time alone to review the details and decisions involved. This focused attention may be all they need to sign up. Prepare a client-centric sales or consulting process that incorporates follow up, product/service customizing, client satisfaction, and above-average results for the client. This may mean tweeking your pre-smartphone sales or consulting system or completely overhauling your existing process so it’s smartphone-friendly.

The smartphone changed everything. How have you changed the way you do business to accommodate this communication revolution?

More: An example of how distraction and multitasking can undermine client decision making during a common buying process…”Multitasking vs A Real Estate Frame of Mind

Pay attention: What’s below the water with clients?

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Expansion Demands Preparation

Q: How do you reach out globally to evaluate the potential of a country you want to target for expansion before investing heavily?

A: Find a global conference or think tank that features speakers and business experts knowledgeable about your chosen international market.

When “global” is the big issue, conference organizers will include embassy, trade, banking, and other dignitaries. This means a two- or three-day conference can place you in face-to-face contact with highly-knowledgeable, well-connected experts who are knowledgeable about the market you value for expansion.

This combined “been there, done that” expertise can save you from expensive dead-end inquires and false-starts. I known entrepreneurs who used this type of contact-rich investigation opportunity and discovered their business was not the exact match that they expected. I’ve known even more entrepreneurs who found that attending a global summit opened was like an advance screening and opened doors for them that they never knew existed. Contacts made during the conference may lead to introductions for the first country visit that amplify progress.

Intellectually-stimulating global conferences and forums allow engagement with business people who know from experience. For instance, discussions concerning the relevance of North American best practices can save a lot of time and help avoid offending cultural norms when visiting the target country. This is networking at its best—if you are prepared!

Merely showing up with a fist full of business cards or a snazzy web presence is not enough.

Preparation for global expansion involves investigating the target country, so you can articulate why this country is your best expansion choice. This preparation will enable intelligent exchanges with those who know what you do not and will help you learn how to make the right expansion match:

  • Details of population, culture, traditions, and geography are as important as legal and financial frameworks and economic policies.
  • Where politics are dramatically different, issues regarding civil rights, rule of law, and foreign (that’s you) requirements will define your project. This is where professional expertise will be essential.
  • Don’t expect others to do the thinking for you. Know what you need to know from your business’ perspective. Understand which types of professionals to search out when at the conference. Aim to discover where your thinking and knowledge may be off and how to avoid mistakes obvious to decision makers in your target country.

The more prepared you are to make your point, that is, communicate the advantages of doing business with you and your company, the luckier you’ll be.

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur

More

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