If you are involved with trade and businesses outside our geographic boundaries during the past decade working with entities representing various government interests, the easy first step has been sending/receiving high profile speakers telling you “how the pasture is greener on the other side.” Most of the speakers have brought with them years of experiences.

Their job is to provide a convincing message to the audience. Many of them did an excellent job sharing their success stories. Most audience will leave the meeting or dinner on a high note. Most of the time, the bus stops here just with a good feeling.

It is usually difficult for the attendees to follow up with an out of town speakers. Getting additional information from the local sponsors can be very difficult in time.

Have you attended one of the meetings described above in the past?

If you are interested to expand your business outside of Hawaii, what is the value to you attending a presentation by an expert for example in China trade showing you the opportunities to take advantage of the trade worth billions of dollar? If your interest is to increase knowledge of general trade and business, most of you will probably satisfy with the information provided.

For many of us wanting to take the newly acquired knowledge to the next level to implement what we learnt into practice, you will find major obstacles.

Where are some of the obstacles?

*Sponsoring organizations may not have extensive knowledge on the subject matter presented.

*Event use as mean for public relations only

*Unable to obtain additional information and follow ups

A recent meeting with one of the Federal agency, the retired Director said the major challenge is their advisors inability to provide complete and satisfy answers to businesses wanting to expand their business overseas. Information is presented in piece meal and seldom complete. People try to obtain information find themselves going around in circle.

What to look for if you are really interested to expand your business overseas?

*Seek out local entities focus on promoting and actually doing business locally and internationally

*Look beyond the name — it could be misleading

*Get connected with the local Chamber of Commerce in the region of your interest

*For Americans, get connected with the local American Chamber of Commerce Call the organization you have in mind, find out how much do their Officers and Directors know anything about business overseas (if that is your target market) — the number of trade missions attended is not an accurate gauge for experiences as many are paid for by government as a mean to reward loyalty. It has nothing to do with trade.

*Who are their collaboration partners?

Once you have located a credible entity to work with you. You are required also to do your homework.

*Find out if there is a market for your products and/or services

*Consider working with a reputable partner

*Observe local rules and customs

*Invest some money and time

*Do not lose your focus — it is so often when you hear business executives came back from a foreign trip impressed, if you look closer, they were impressed by things other than business and for the wrong reasons.

Like marriage, a lasting relationship takes time to know each others before taking the dive. The wine and dine during courting are fun things. But it is by no mean a measurement for successful relation.

”’Johnson W K Choi, MBA, RFC. is president and executive director of the Hong Kong China Hawaii Chamber of Commerce (HKCHcc); president and managing director of the Global Estate & Tax Consultant, Johnson Choi Consulting Group & Carson Booking Keeping & Tax Services; and executive vice president and COO of ProjectOnNet.com See:”’ http://www.hkchcc.org/ http://www.johnsonchoi.com/ ”’or call 808-222-8183 or fax at 808-524-8063”’

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