Irish companies aiming high

Enterprise Ireland clients Gerry Mullins from pTools Software in Dublin and Paul McCarthy, Full Health Medical in Mayo have Europe, South Africa and UAE on their ambition list.

To learn more about Enterprise Ireland supports and for further information on our international office network click here

Achieve efficiencies in your business using Lean

Dr Richard Keegan, Manager at the Enterprise Ireland Competitiveness Department outlines procedures for achieving efficiencies in your business

Companies challenged by the UK’s vote to leave the EU should review their business models as one part of a strategy for coping with any depreciation in sterling and any loss of competitiveness arising from a UK departure from the Single Market.

With margins potentially squeezed, managers should consider ways of reducing their cost-base by reviewing processes and procedures.

At Enterprise Ireland, we work with clients to help them increase performance using what are called “Lean” tools and techniques.

Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind about developing a Lean business is that human resource capacity and capability is a thread that runs through the entire process.

Lean principles

Lean principles were first developed by Toyota in Japan in the 1950s to make production processes more time- and cost-efficient.

It is very much about technology and engineering but it is not confined to that. It runs through the whole value chain with the aim of outputting a better offering to the customer at a better price.

While first developed with manufacturing in mind, Lean is now used widely in services in both the private and public sectors. Management philosophy, workforce culture and human resource development are all part of the Lean approach.

Product development and design, purchasing, manufacturing, administration, logistics and sales all come under review with the aim of working more efficiently from the shop floor to the boardroom to the point of delivery and after-sales service.


Experience shows that human resources are central to successful Lean processes. That means being fair to staff. It also means being firm: once you decide how things should be done, everyone must stick with it. That also means being consistent with how you deal with people, problems and issues.

Much of people’s time in business is spent handling the “day job”, doing what needs to be done, or fighting fires. Lean techniques ask the question “What are we trying to achieve here?”. This helps the business see what is actually being done – the difference between the question and the answer is the gap to be bridged.

Managers should look closely at processes, go to the place where work is done, see what is happening. It will often be quite different to what you think. That means there is gap in your understanding.

You need to know the underlying principles that affect the outcome then think about how you can improve things. Can you “put out the fires” once and for all?


In carrying out this assessment be sure the following five questions can be answered: What are you doing?

How are you doing it? Why are you doing it? Who is going to improve it? When?

Having taken this approach, whatever you do, do something. You do not have to make it perfect, just better.

There are three key areas of focus in developing a Lean Business: time, money and effort. It is also necessary to benchmark against your competitors as an ongoing basis.

Time: Examine how long it takes to carry particular tasks such as: processing an order, dealing with a claim or providing a service.

Effort: Look at the elements involved in getting work done. Be sure you know the value and need for every step along way to fulfilling a particular task.

Money: Use it as a metric for identifying wastage and putting a value on issues, problems and delays.


Wastage is a key area for identifying savings. Declare war on waste. Taichi Ohno of Toyota is credited with identifying the “Seven Wastes”: Defective Service, Over Production, Inventory, Motion, Processing, Transportation and Waiting. Today we recognise a significant eighth waste, people, ie not utilising their capabilities to improve the business.

There are many more wastes than the core eight and there is some variation between manufacturing and service businesses, but these are a good starting point on a Lean journey to competitiveness.

When implementing Lean processes, it is important to identify a problem or issue that is both challenging and achievable. It needs to be challenging enough to allow people to feel that they have contributed to its solution and also needs to be achievable within a reasonable timescale. If the problem or issue is too big or too difficult, then the team may fail, with ongoing negative repercussions on future improvement activities.

Enterprise Ireland provides clients with access to the best SME benchmarking systems and data in the world through our Lean Service Benchmarking tool, which gives an objective view of the competition and the client’s strengths and weaknesses.

We also have checklists and other tools for the type of work-practice audit that could make the difference between remaining competitive in the UK and being priced out of the market.

In fact, many exporters are already employing Lean techniques to address the threat to the bottom line caused by currency fluctuation.

Enterprise Ireland Lean programmes have helped companies in sectors such as agri-business, manufacturing, engineering and services to improve their competitive position.

Often, companies develop simplified and standardised ways of working that are not just more efficient but easier for implementation, training and monitoring. For case studies, see: www.enterprise-ireland/lean

This article originally appeared in the guide Exporting to the UK? Read the full version here

Linesight’s top tips for entering eurozone markets

Linesight has extended its reach as a provider of professional services to the construction industry into mainland Europe and beyond in reaction to the downturn in the domestic market in 2008. Here, director Paul Butler shares some pointers on how to gain a foothold in key eurozone markets:

When working with multinationals in particular, first and foremost you have to be flexible. You have to adapt to the client’s needs in local markets. This means being willing to travel and being available at whatever time the client needs to deal with you. Our senior people travel over and back regularly to meet clients in eurozone markets.

In order to be really successful in eurozone markets, it is vital that you also have a presence on the ground, whether that is a subsidiary company, an office or a dedicated team based in the market. In the Netherlands, we have a dedicated team of 30 people, 95% of whom are based there full-time and integrated into the local community and tax system. There are generous tax incentives for people working in the Netherlands with professional accreditation, such as chartered surveyors or engineers.

It is important to gain a good understanding of local regulations and codes of practice for the industry you are operating in. This is best achieved by becoming part of the local environment with your on-the-ground presence.

The Irish mentality of “getting the job done” is key to success in mainland Europe. Irish companies are used to dealing with multinationals and working 10 to 12-hour days if necessary to make sure a job is completed on schedule. Clients really appreciate this. You need to be mindful that there are work-life balance issues in certain markets, particularly in construction – in the Netherlands for example, workers will walk off site at 3.30pm or 4pm and take their holidays at certain times. You will need to work around the fact that workers will down tools.

Enterprise Ireland companies with Global Ambition

Attendees at Enterprise Ireland‘s International Markets Week heard from established Irish companies successfully selling globally and had the opportunity for meetings with Market Advisors, available to provide expertise on exporting to new markets.

If you are attending IMW please consider the following:

  • In which markets are you successful and how have you achieved this success?
  • What is your business/value proposition?
  • Why have you decided to target this new market?
  • What market validation have you carried out and what evidence do you have for a demand for your product / service?

Contact the International Markets team at International Markets Week for further information.

Don’t Be Put Off by Chinese Whispers – Demand is Unmet in Many Sectors

You could be forgiven for thinking China’s economy is running into trouble, if you believed some of what you read.

But a recent World Bank report paints a more accurate picture. It points to growth of over 6pc this year and next, a healthy inflation rate of over 2pc and employment market capacity. China is establishing, “a gradual shift to slower, more sustainable growth”, the Bank says.

So Irish businesses thinking of entering the world’s second largest economy should not be put off by Chinese whispers. There’s business to be done here, provided you are geared up for the challenges.

More than 300 million people have increasing purchasing power in China and a taste for western goods and services. And Chinese businesses have a growing appetite for technology, systems and infrastructure that cannot be satisfied domestically.

Food is Ireland’s major export to China but for the last few years, prospects have been developing for Irish businesses in: aviation, education, ICT, healthcare, industrial, financial services, clean technologies and agritech. Companies like Movidius, Arralis, Cubic Telecom and Aerogen have broken through in recent years and our educational institutions are also active in China.

Of course, that’s not to say that businesses outside those sectors cannot also succeed. A company with strong innovative technology addressing a real gap can do well.

Advice for Irish companies exporting to China

Generally, the Chinese have limited knowledge of Ireland. Nevertheless, the Irish Embassy and State agencies have been developing awareness of our capability across key sectors. Already, we are known for our high-quality food and dairy and are developing our reputation across the aforementioned sectors.

To avail of these opportunities, the wise business needs to prepare carefully and be patient in more ways than one. There are still a few hurdles to overcome.

For some sectors, ensuring compatibility or obtaining necessary licences can be slow – which is the way with many aspects of business here. Getting the first sale therefore takes time and can be resource consuming. Frequent visits – or better still, staff on the ground – are a must. That means having the finance to make a sustained commitment.

But if Irish companies offer something the Chinese cannot yet provide, they will be welcomed.

China’s private sector is more open with regard to the origin of a product or service. But the Chinese government tends to prefer local services in some sectors, notably pharmaceutical engineering, which requires foreign companies to partner with a local design firm.

The Chinese concern when considering smaller, foreign partners is responsiveness, flexibility and smoothness of communication compared to their Chinese counterparts. If you can assure your potential customer that these are not barriers, you will have a better chance of winning contracts.

Partnership can bring a number of crucial advantages; for instance, tapping into established networks, access to resources that can be critical in winning sales, or even enabling bidding for projects that are closed to foreign companies.

For example, the partnership between small Irish cleantech company MicroGen Biotech and a subsidiary of the largest cleantech conglomerate in China, CECEP Dadi, enabled the Irish firm apply their technology to (otherwise unreachable) state-funded contracts.

But just as a good partnership opens doors, bad ones close them. Do your due diligence. Before you commit to any partnership, be certain it matches your long-term objectives.

So my advice to anyone thinking China for export, is prepare then commit – you cannot flip-flop your way to success in China. Ensure you are adequately resourced, willing to invest time to get a return, and finally, be open to the cultural differences. The Chinese are quite an indirect people and remember that in business, relationships are often more important than words on a page.

David Byrne is Enterprise Ireland director for Greater China, and is based in Shanghai

This article originally appeared in the Sunday Independent

Strong Supply Chain Propels Irish Aerospace and Aviation Industry

Sean Long, Senior UK Market Adviser for Engineering & Electronics at Enterprise Ireland, describes current trends and opportunities for Irish exporters in the aerospace and aviation sector.

Worth over €4.1bn to the Irish economy, Ireland’s aerospace and aviation industry is soaring to new heights. Irish lessors manage €80 billion in assets worldwide and today there are more than 250 companies actively involved in the aerospace, aviation and space sectors in Ireland, providing employment for approximately 42,000 full-time workers.

That number is set to grow further, as Dublin Aerospace, Ireland’s largest independent aircraft maintenance provider, announced that it will create 150 new jobs over the next three years. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, the expansion of Dublin Aerospace’s workforce is part of the company’s strategy to double its turnover by 2023.

With over 50% of the industry’s global spend managed by aircraft leasing companies headquartered in Ireland, which is also home to 30 international leasing operations, Ireland is uniquely positioned to help drive the industry’s innovation forward.

Sean Phelan, Director at QCD Solutions, a global sourcing supply chain and Lean consulting company, describes the scale of the opportunity facing Irish exporters: “The world fleet of commercial aircraft is forecast to nearly double to 40,000 aircraft by 2036, with a projected value of $5.5 trillion. There is additional demand for 35,000 aircraft over the next twenty years, to replace existing aircraft and support new aircraft requirements. That creates significant opportunities for Irish aerospace supply chain companies to secure long-term contracts on the aircraft programs that will meet this demand. As of September, the aerospace industry has a backlog of firm orders for 6991 Airbus Aircraft and 5659 Boeing Aircraft already placed. Bombardier’s potential deal with Airbus also promises additional opportunities to the Irish aerospace supply chain.”

Ireland has approximately 115 active Enterprise Ireland-backed companies within the sector, including CAE Parc Aviation, The Botany Weaving Mill, Ohshima, Eirtech Aviation Services, Inflight Audio, Takumi Precision Engineering, Dawnlough, DPF and Eirecomposites, paving the way for other start-ups to consider Ireland as a location to conduct business. Speaking at the Dublin Aerospace announcement, the then Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald TD, affirmed the national importance of the sector, “The aerospace and aviation sector is extremely important for Ireland, contributing more than €4 billion to the economy.”

Ireland has a growing reputation for innovation and service excellence within the aerospace and aviation industry which is itself experiencing rapid growth. Its established supply chain includes both prime and tier 1 companies, including Bombardier, Rockwell Collins, and Thales. The growth of the aviation and aerospace sector has been driven by the unique strengths Irish companies offer these partners, including a continuous investment in developing the skills of a highly-educated and adaptable workforce, and a focus on research, development and innovation, which strengthens their competitiveness in the sector. These strengths are central to what Enterprise Ireland defines as the Irish Advantage and help companies within the sector to achieve business wins across the world.

David Quin, Supply Chain Director at Rockwell Collins, echoes the advantages of working with companies in Ireland, “At Rockwell Collins in Kilkeel, we procure over €20 million from our Irish supply base. This success is based on a responsive and collaborative approach to our supply chain solutions and the reliable delivery of high quality parts.”

Boasting a competitive and innovative aviation and aerospace sector, there is significant potential for Irish exporters to further build ambitious and successful partnerships in key international markets. Enterprise Ireland supports that work with presences at the world-renowned Farnborough, Dubai and Paris Air Shows, including a dedicated Aviation Aerospace Ireland pavilion. To support the development of Irish aerospace supply chain programmes, Irish companies are encouraged to expand their quality processes, procedures and management styles in line with established international aerospace standards such as SC21 and AS9100, endorsed by mentoring programmes from key prime and tier 1 companies, such as Bombardier and Rockwell Collins.


This article was originally published in the Sunday Independent

Top 10 Tips for Exporting to Asia

Asia is one of the fastest growing markets for Enterprise Ireland clients with companies such as Corvil, Fexco, Cubic Telecom, Dublin Aerospace and Arralis succeeding in areas such as Fintech, ICT and Aerospace. It may be the biggest and most populous continent in the world, with the strongest emerging markets, but its scale can be addressed by choosing the right base to diversify into other markets.


Preparation: Possibly the most important tip before entering Asian markets. Being well informed on the different rules and policies of the investment destination is vital. For example, doing business in mainland China can sometimes be complicated and bureaucratic, with vaguely written regulations interpreted differently by different bureaus. Exporters should be aware that setting up a company takes several months and requires a 12-month office lease to be secured at the initial stages. Companies should prepare for the cost involved. Singapore and Hong Kong are comparatively easier. A company can be set up within a few days or weeks. However, these regions have their own obstacles so research and seeking local advice is recommended.


Local Practices: Business practices in Asia are vastly different from Ireland. In most regions, especially China and India, relationships are key. Deals with locals are usually determined by how well you know the counterparty. Many smaller local businesses (eg suppliers) might be uncomfortable dealing with a foreign business and change their prices accordingly. Knowledge of local languages and practices is key. Having trusted local employees certainly smooths things over when dealing with suppliers and clients.


Recruitment and Labour Law: Recruitment of local staff requires care. Online platforms and agencies can help but always check the background of candidates. Be aware that labour law in China is biased towards the worker so ensure an employment contract in Chinese is signed by all staff, with strict internal rules backed up by a staff handbook. Also, ensure Income Tax and Social Insurance are withheld and paid by all employees.


Don’t assume operating to be easy: This is especially true for China, India and Vietnam, with the latter two becoming increasingly popular. Despite the high level of risk that has always been perceived by foreign investors in India, recent policies aimed at improving ease of doing business could represent an attractive change. The recently liberalised FDI caps, the presence of a skilled and low-cost labour force and high English literacy in the country are advantages for foreign investors.

Nevertheless, particular attention must still be paid to the Indian environment. Opening companies in the country can be lengthy and complicated and assistance could be needed. The choice of the location is fundamental due to the numerous regional differences in terms of business licences, overhead costs and consumer behaviours.

Vietnam represents an attractive business environment for foreign investors when compared to other Asian countries. They have a relatively stable government; increasing consumer confidence and domestic consumption; extremely cheap labour force and facilities; and abundant natural resources. However, Vietnam often ranks low in ease of doing business. The complexity of legal processes and the presence of several state-owned enterprises should alert investors to look for professional assistance whenever entering the market.

The country is becoming one of the biggest manufacturing hubs in the world and many investors are still unaware of the great potential of the local consumer market, with one of the fastest growing middle classes in South East Asia.


Corporate responsibility: When doing business in China, make sure you choose a reliable and trustworthy legal representative. They will have full access to the company, cash and capital; and can enter into contracts on behalf of the company.


Banking: Ensure the chosen bank has experience dealing with foreign companies and handles matters such as currency exchange and profit remittance regularly. In Hong Kong, many banks have implemented a ‘know-your-client’ scheme in which it is no longer possible to set up a corporate account remotely or with a proxy. Therefore all directors/shareholders must be present in the bank at time of opening an account.


Address/Capital/Scope/Name: The four core pieces of registered information for a Chinese company are business name, address, scope and registered capital. Each should be thought out thoroughly prior to investment as changes are time-consuming, costly and would almost certainly interrupt business operations.


Offshore status: Apply for Offshore Status, if applicable. A company in Hong Kong can be established without substance, that is, with no office or staff, and can be operated remotely. Currently, if all the income is sourced from abroad then a Hong Kong company may not liable for local tax.


Taxes: Be aware of taxes due. Despite recent reforms, China’s tax system is very convoluted and rates are quite high. Corporate Tax is 25% and VAT rates vary. Hong Kong’s Corporate Tax rate 16.5% and Singapore’s are 8.5% and 17%.


Due Diligence: No matter what part of the region you are investing in, if a major deal is being made with a local company, or equity is being purchased for a merger, always perform a full corporate health check and due diligence to ensure no liabilities are assumed. Hiring a professional consultant is crucial and can help avoid bad debt or tax liabilities being unknowingly transferred. Any company that refuses an investigation should not be dealt with.

Burnside Autocyl’s Relationship with Enterprise Ireland Ever-evolving

With supports ranging from grant assistance to identifying potential customers and training, Enterprise Ireland has travelled with Burnside Autocyl on its German journey.

Enterprise Ireland has been instrumental in Burnside Autocyl’s success in Germany since 1990 – when it was known as Córas Tráchtala – according to the Co Carlow-based engineering company’s sales director Caroline Kelly.

“Grant assistance from Enterprise Ireland was important in the early days but the support ran much deeper than that,” she says. “Market advisers walked the beat with us, helped to get us appointments with the right people and made introductions for us. When our German wasn’t that good, they interpreted buyers’ needs for us and stayed involved after we had secured business.”

One of the most important pieces of advice Enterprise Ireland gave Burnside Autocyl about Germany was not to go into the market unless a product or service was robust and tried and tested.

“We learned not to bring anything to the market that wasn’t well proven or that we weren’t fully satisfied with,” says Kelly. “It was also crucial to be clear about who our customers should be before approaching any prospects.”

Beyond that, facilitating Burnside Autocyl to attend trade fairs has been hugely helpful, Kelly adds, as well as how Enterprise Ireland encouraged the management team to embrace training to improve their skills and knowhow.

“Nobody ever knows enough about the industry they’re in and business is evolving and changing all the time,” she says.

“Our relationship with Enterprise Ireland today is less about grant support and more about marketing and training support.”

Igloo Glass

Are ice-cubes facing a watery grave? Seven engineers from five countries have worked together to create the new patented invention “Igloo Glass” which made an appearance at Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week 2016.

To learn more about Enterprise Ireland supports and for further information on patents click here

Top 10 Tips for Exporting to The Middle East

Over 300 Irish companies are exporting to the Middle East in sectors such as Healthcare, Education, Digital Technologies, Aviation, Food, Tourism and Construction

With a population of 205 million growing at one of the fastest rates in the world, and significant public spending planned despite the current reduced oil price, Enterprise Ireland offices in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar can help exporters open and develop markets in the region.


In the Gulf, Islamic principles and social customs are widely observed, with some divergence in religious observance and customs between the different states. Irish businesspeople should approach the Middle East market with respect for that culture, and a clear understanding that it is differs from the West.


Acquaint yourself with the basic principles of Sharia Law because it influences the conduct of business. For instance, while parties are generally free to negotiate their own contracts, any deal unfair to one side or involving deception will be void. Also, deals envisaging the future consummation of an agreement or obligation may be unenforceable; while a contract involving speculation on a future outcome will generally not be permitted. Finally, contracts that feature interest payments are not normally enforceable.


Arabs will not expect first-time visitors to understand all their cultural nuances. Respect and patience will take you far, and in many ways the Arab style of doing business is closer to Ireland than you may think. Establishing personal rapport and relationships is a key part of doing business.


The pace of business is appreciably slower than you may be used to, so it is important to set expectations with this in mind. You may also have to deal with several layers of an organisation before reaching the decision maker. Patience is definitely a virtue.

Innovative or unique products will often help to fast-track the sales process but, as a rule, decision-making tends to take time. Eight to ten months of business development is standard, and in some sectors – the public sector in particular – it is not uncommon for it to take longer still before many meetings finally conclude in a deal.


Family is very important in the region. Many successful big businesses are family-owned and various members can have roles in subsidiaries. It is normal in the Arab world that you may be asked about your family. They want to know who you are first, then they will ask about your business in time.


In many business sectors around the Gulf States, you are likely to encounter expatriates in key positions. In Qatar and the UAE, for example, they outnumber nationals by more than three to one. Such people are likely to be accustomed to Western business styles, and consequently meetings are held and decisions made in a manner more familiar to the Irish approach.


Negotiating is where the fun begins. Haggling is a traditional part of the culture dating back to ancient Bedouin culture. An Arab enjoys negotiating and will always look to get the best deal for themselves.

It is not uncommon to see some theatrical behaviour as advantage is sought in price or service. Play along with the banter but do not overstep the mark. Do not be too pushy. ‘I need this or the deal is finished’ is considered highly rude and may stop your progress.

Price is not your only bargaining tool. If your counterpart insists on a lower discount than you had in mind, politely and respectfully suggest alternatives such as different features or support terms. If it appears your offer is being refused, always remain respectful and be careful not to cause offence. Politely suggest ways any obstacles might be overcome.

Tailor your strategy in case you have yet to speak with the key decision maker. If this happens, their input (which may only be at the conclusion of a deal) will probably involve you having to give an additional discount or offer some other concession. This is sometimes known as the ‘chairman’s share’. In Arab culture, the man who obtains better terms on a deal gains respect among his peers.


In markets like the Gulf States where a high proportion of products are imported and competition is strong, gaining good competitive intelligence is essential. Unless a company is selling direct from Ireland, some form of partnership will likely be entered into in the Gulf.


Thorough due diligence is essential before working with a new partner in the market. You will meet many potential partners in the early stages and you should conduct background checks in parallel with forming the relationships. Ask the hard questions before doing a deal. There is no equivalent to the CRO in the Gulf to allow you to carry out background checks.

Enterprise Ireland can connect you with potential partners in your sector or advise you about people you may have met, or projects which may be of interest. It’s also advisable to check with local law firms to do background checks on possible partners. Another option is to consult with members of Irish business networks in the region who may be able to guide you.


Do not sign agreements with anybody until you are sure they are trustworthy. Extricating yourself from a contract can be difficult and expensive. Also, do not give exclusive rights for all business activity on an ongoing basis, instead try short trial periods with measurable outcomes to test the working relationship.

By Joe Breslin, Regional Director, SEMEA & India for Enterprise Ireland

Medtech star Aerogen supported from the start by Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland’s support of Aerogen began with feasibility funding in 1997, when John Power founded the company in Galway, and has been consistent ever since.

Having started in Galway in 1997, Aerogen has grown to the point where its innovative aerosol drug delivery solution has reached 75 markets around the world.

In every international market Aerogen is active in, Enterprise Ireland was its first port of call in terms of learning about those markets and accessing key contacts, according to CEO John Power.

Most recently, it worked closely with Enterprise Ireland’s overseas office in Dubai where Aerogen is setting up its own office to serve the Middle East.

“We worked with Enterprise Ireland’s people on the ground in Germany, France and the Nordic countries for years and we still use its overseas offices all over the world”

“We have found in every market that you will not get a better national industrial support group for exporting than we have with Enterprise Ireland. The people on the ground always go the extra mile and are contactable day and night.”

As a company, Aerogen is heavily focused on research and development (R&D). Supports from Enterprise Ireland have allowed the company to continue to innovate and develop new clinical products – which would probably have been too risky to undertake alone, notes Power.

“Our aerosol drug delivery solution made its name in intensive care units around the world. While this continues to be a strong focus, we have since developed products for use in emergency departments and are working on products designed for operating theatres.”

The agency has also been hugely supportive when it comes to attendance at trade shows, adds Power – for example Aerogen is just back from the Arab Health event, where it shared a booth with Enterprise Ireland and other Irish companies.

Aerogen’s top tips for entering European markets

Aerosol drug delivery system provider Aerogen has been active in European markets since 2000, and the region now makes up about 30% of its total sales.

Aerogen CEO, John Power

Here, CEO John Power shares his key pieces of advice to Irish companies contemplating exports beyond the UK.

The real key to success in European markets is having something special that they want. If you have a ‘me too’ product the purchasing decision will be based on price. You need to be offering a solution to a need in the market that is superior to what these markets have themselves.

A smaller company starting to sell abroad should go with a narrow focus and build from there. If you try to generate sales in several European markets at the same time you won’t have the bandwidth to service them. And if you don’t service them right, that will be detrimental. You’re far better off to procure one distributor in one market, get that off the ground and operating properly and then replicate this in other markets.

Don’t rush into selecting a distributor. Work long and hard on getting the right one for you in each market, as if you get this decision wrong it could work against you. Look for recommendations from other companies using distributors of products in your sector in the relevant markets.

If you really want to develop a market and distribution model in a European market, nothing beats having your own people on the ground to make sure a distributor gets the maximum amount of sales for your business.