Since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and its ripple effect in the fall of other banks in the global financial system, the world has been suffering the effects of a crisis that has blown up businesses, and has forced entrepreneurs, almost by the same mechanisms of natural selection, to invent new properties that could prevent their businesses from foundering, drowning and disappearing.
In Spain, the global crisis joined the collapse of the housing bubble. The country plunged into one of the most difficult periods in its history. The consequences have been the highest rate of unemployment in the country's history and the highest mortality rate of small businesses and companies that neither banks injections, nor left money from other countries or tax increases have helped to reverse.
Among the possible options for SMEs to remain without sinking, there are two first steps to consider: Going out to find someone who still has money to buy your products, or innovate and improve the range of the products and services you sell, or both, simultaneously. These two outputs are common to those entrepreneurs who participated on Tuesday November 4, 2014 in the conference "The Penedès exports," a symposium meeting where representatives of companies that have survived to the crisis through export strategies explained its experience of success.
The event, organized by the Association of Entrepreneurs of Garraf, Alt and Baix Penedès, ADEG, had the objective to show those entrepreneurs that are starting or are seeking advice in this association, the casuistry of exportation through actual cases of that part of the Catalan geography, known primarily for its fruit production and for its wines and cavas. It was not surprising that the companies represented produced food or goods and services to support agricultural and livestock activities.
Among the companies attending the event, only two were born with the export gene in their DNA. Manufacturers of paper bags as Bolcar, chocolate makers as Cudié, winemakers as Covides, pastry manufacturers as Especialitats Masdeu, or equipment manufacturers of Steel for the wine industry as InVia, thought to go out to sell as a matter of survival to the crisis. Only Futureco Bioscience, dedicated to R&D, manufacture and distribution of agrobiological inputs for plant nutrition and protection, and Tigsa, manufacturer of installations and machinery for intensive livestock and feed production, had noted in its initial business plan that the world was the market.
Previous to the exposure of the business managers presenting its experiences, the ICEX, the Chamber of Commerce and ACC1Ó reported some of their services and aid to support export and internationalization of companies both in Catalonia and in Spain. Businessmen then recorded that every case was different and there are no magic formulas or rules to succeed despite the help of these organizations, and all you need is to work hard, go ahead, and take in account some tips, such as choosing specific markets to focus in, persevere and not declare victory until a trade deal does not close, a process that uses to be quite longlasting, invest in being seen in exhibitions and congresses, and the Internet.
Rafael Juncosa CEO of Futureco Bioscience, who started its adventure more than twenty years ago, foresaw that zero waste products for plant protection and plant nutrition would suppose a global demand. Today the company operates in 22 countries and has recently opened technical subsidiaries in 8 countries of America. Actually, Futureco Bioscience is planning to open more subsidiaries in the near future. The advice given to all the attendees was to focus not just on selling more, but in the customer, in the relationship with him and the adaptation to its culture, rhythms and demands in the market you're trying to get a place in. The center is the customer, not just the company's business. This leads to adapt and understand the idiosyncrasies of each market, to incorporate multicultural staff in the company that can act as interlocutor between other cultures and the company's culture of origin, or dispose of all the information needed as well as in the web, making the information available in all the languages of your client, such as the web of Futureco Bioscience, in 13 languages.