Looking for new markets to grow your business in is a process that can be as daunting as it is exciting. It’s not only about navigating through customs and border agencies, but also about understanding foreign currencies and exchange rates. To help you out, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and EncoreFX are holding a free webinar called : Currency Basics for Importer/Exporters on November 30th, 2016. This webinar, a must attend for small business owners who are new to the import/export game, brought to mind the CFIB members who also might be in a position to offer valuable advice. I reached out to Dilip Pai, owner of Vintech Ltd., a business established in Ontario and a member of CFIB for three years. I was excited to connect with Dilip to provide you valuable insight through his own experiences that can help you as you consider doing business abroad.
Tell us a little bit of Vintech Ltd.:
Vintech Ltd. was established in 1995 and has since been providing products and services to clients around the world in the mining, oil & gas, water and energy sectors. We are an ISO 9001:2008 certified company with a proven track record of consistently satisfying our clients and providing fast, flexible service with highly competitive pricing. We have customers in Canada, USA, Chile, Peru, Italy, Germany, Kuwait, UAE, Mauritania, South Africa & India.
Some of the products & services that Vintech provides:
- Process Valves
- Heavy Equipment Parts
- Mineral Processing
- Fibre Optics
- Engineering Services
- Procurement Services
- Technical Staffing Services
Why did you choose this particular stream of business?
I chose this line of business based on my educational qualifications, starting with my engineering degree and my professional experience, including extensive work across Asia and Europe.
From the many countries you provide a service to, let’s take Chile and Peru for example – how did you select where to conduct business?
Initially we started trading with Chile and Peru because of their potential client base – with the huge amount of mineral deposits in the region, there are many large-scale mining operations there. After developing a strong relationship with our first customers in these two countries, we have greatly improved our knowledge of local industry, helping keep our new and existing clients’ operations running as smoothly as possible.
What has been your greatest challenge in operating your business?
Supplying products with credit terms and maintaining stable cash flow was our biggest challenge initially. As we began serving customers in different parts of the world, we learned a great deal in overcoming challenges stemming from trade regulations, language and cultural barriers.
Do you often travel to maintain relationships?
Despite the abundance of phone and video communication services, nothing compares to meeting someone in person and being able to talk with them on a level that simply isn’t possible over a digital medium.
What can we learn from Dilip, here are five key takeaways:
- Know what you’re selling: It serves to your advantage and credibility when you have an educational or experience background in the product or service you intend to trade.
- Do your homework: research the country that you are hoping to target and understand their economic, technological, political and cultural climate.
- Grow your network: Once you have connected with a client, identify if there are any referrals they can provide to further establish your company.
- Intend to travel: Having a relationship with your client is key. In order to travel, ensure you have a team that operates well without your presence, having clear roles will make this easier.
- Get the right help: Have you ever heard of a Trade Commissioner? Trade Commissioners are key individuals that can help you navigate the barriers that you face to conduct business in different international markets.
Not quite sure about getting your feet wet? Well perhaps our webinar is for you. This free webinar will cover a lot of bases in terms of importing, exporting and currency fluctuation, with the goal of helping you identify risk exposure to currency markets, and then evaluating what can be done, and for what price. Register today: Currency Basics for Importers/Exporters.
Cesar Gomez-Garcia has been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for six years. His current role at the CFIB is helping members with their questions on compliance. These questions can range from employment standards to health and safety, as well as complicated red tape situations that small businesses face. His passion is reading and writing about entrepreneurship. Learn more about Cesar via LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @josuegomezg.