New potential business opportunities are popping up in areas of the world that were once off limits. Our company, Mechtronix Systems of Montreal, has made successful inroads into countries like China, Estonia, and Hungary where the local markets were once hard to enter because of embargos and government policies.
One of the lessons that we’ve learned from our experiences abroad is just how important it is for small-business owners to find a great point person. No matter how much you might prepare ahead of time, there is only so much you can learn about a country on your own without obtaining a degree or living there. That’s why it’s essential to obtain a representative from the region. This person is known as an agent or point man—someone who knows the industry, culture, food, and language, and has connections with your potential customer—and can help you do the same.
If you go to a business dinner without an agent, most companies will respond politely and talk to you out of respect, but will not take you seriously.
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