To keep what we have inside, you have to go outside
Josu Ugarte Arregui . Director of International Operations, Mondragon Corporation.
Internationalization adventure sounds. A exotic places - so little frequented - and exploits implicit - the effort required. Sounds like a future reserved for the few and capabilities beyond the reach of most. The epic seems to be part of the word.
And if we add the point that the media, companies, people are definitely talking about their experiences and their desires to reach distant markets of our battered dollars, merely a halo of myth built around the word.
Colombia is the country chosen in our case and we are from September 2012 with a team led by a chief resident in Bogota. How to epic quest entails? How is the club of companies that come out of Spain? Take your time, you deserve reading ;)
Since 1995 we have been working for the tourism sector for countries seeking promotion in Spain. It was one of the first possibilities opened to have made the jump overseas, but we did not because it was not time for us as a company.
But the stage that started in 2009 , in which we are experiencing growth above economic times, has given us two of the first elements to satisfy our desire: service capacity and financial resources. Increased billing and resource themselves have enabled us to devote efforts to make possible go outside of Spain.
There are formulas in the market to make things easier in terms of money: aid, private organizations, information, etc. Although we prefer to do it the old fashioned way, one that says you put more interest in what you do if what is at stake is your money. And by the way, do not live the illusion of money that has no owner. It always has and it claims with interest.
With these raw under his arm began the search for the "where." Brazil was the subject of two trips to know the reality of a country that everyone talks about, but you have to live there to understand what real possibilities exist. In those two trips we found that we had clear chances. The regulatory framework, fierce, and the realization that we were late by more desire and determination that could put us away from considering viable.
By the way Peru knocked on our door to the possibility of working with a local agency, to which I had the opportunity to meet on a trip last year. And this gave rise to the "how". Addition to a country, a culture which try to sell services, we had to decide major issues: own company? Franchised company??
We advanced the model "franchise" to explore in Peru, where the journey to Colombia from one of my partners, Salvador Suarez , changed everything. He knew the person who has become the country manager of creative territory there, for being fellow IESE. Salvador's visit served to know the reality of the country and offer Manuel Márquez become the driver of Tc in Colombia. Manuel said "yes".
As a result we had responded to the first two questions, "where" and "how": Colombia and company itself. But we had only just begun. Since September we have faced the reality of the internationalization of a service business: knowledge is in the womb. And the matrix is in Spain. Had to respond to new questions: how to transfer the necessary knowledge to the team in Colombia to meet customers?
Soon we realized that "internationalization" is closer to "start from scratch" than anything else. No matter how famous you are in your country of origin, the destination you're nobody. Well, as soon as one is aware of this point, before working on the right strategy. Began a work to be able to transfer knowledge to the people who make the team in Colombia.
Connect and power equipment, linking people in short, is the most requested art these days. Creating workplaces in different cities is the litmus test to see if we can link them or not. And success will be achieved. Connecting to tecerianos of Madrid, Barcelona and Bogotá has become learning consumed part of our efforts. And the reason is that everything we learn becomes part of our responsiveness to our customers. It's simple: if you can do it with your team, teams learn to do it with your clients.
Speaking of travel, what is the best way to organize them? Resources are own, but scarce. So you have to try to get the most out of each movement. New decisions: of all the people who can provide leadership and who must travel more frequently in the beginning? Formula that currently is giving us the best game, is that it is always the same person who travels.
The Colombian people are naturally suspicious, after years in which the country's situation has been very difficult. Although it is now very different, their natural tendency is to not take it for good to the first comer. And that makes it important to be the same party which relate to them at least in the early stages, the mostly commercial . Thus, we have organized a schedule of presence that keeps business contacts and allow those already made progress.
The first client has already made an appearance and dynamics that we launched a few months ago begins to bear fruit, still far from the word "success" can be pronounced. But learning these months is priceless, not because there is money to pay for it because you can only produce living experience. Dura on paper, but so rewarding that it should be part of what they teach from children in schools.
What is the biggest change we have experienced? Moving from talk of internationalization in the gatherings of bar, part of that can help with your real experience to others.
And be happy to mention to our experience, if you are at the point of decision. The leave was to maintain what we have inside.