Fri, April 21st, 2017
Britain gets set to expand into new markets
With Britain’s exit from the European Union looming large on the horizon, opportunities for UK companies to increase trade with the rest of the world are set to multiply.
This is both exciting and, for many, a little scary. Firms looking to break into new markets will be looking for help.
Step forward Geoffrey Barclay and his Liverpool-based business, Brain International.
Brain stands for Business Resource and Innovation Network and its focus is on helping companies realise their overseas ambitions from conception to implementation.
Drawing on decades of experience of global business markets, Brain will offer services such as training and translation and making sure their clients get to speak to the right people.
“The relationship we build with the client is a very intimate one,” said Geoffrey.
“You have a business with an idea and a loose plan to break into new markets overseas, but you may not have the plan totally nailed down.
“We get to know what the company does and how it operates and then we work with the key decision-makers to identify what the obstacles might be.
“There is an element of hand-holding - not just at the planning stage but on the ground in those overseas markets.
“I can sum up what we do in one word - internationalisation.”
The knowledge of cultures, customs and business norms across the world is an invaluable resource offered by Geoffrey and his team.
He added: “To give one example, if you go on a trade mission to France but you don’t have any marketing materials translated into French then they likely won’t even entertain you, no matter how good your offer.
“We will work with you to identify exactly what is needed in each case. It might even be that you have to offer a French language version of your website.”
Geoffrey trained as a lawyer before going on to work across Europe in countries such as Sweden and Italy in business training and development – and he has helped to set up a couple of companies too.
In 1992 he was one of a network of consultants across Europe who set up Brain International as a networking resource to coincide with the start of the EU single market.
In 2008 Geoffrey established Brain International as a limited company based in Liverpool.
It has a core team of four people and draws on the expertise of other professionals, such as translators, whenever they are needed.
Geoffrey’s relationship with Liverpool & Sefton Chamber stretches back more than 20 years and he says its help over that time has been invaluable.
He explained: “We have had financial support from the chamber for overseas trade missions and they have also facilitated delegations from other countries that we have organised.
“We have arranged for delegations from Russia and Italy to come to Liverpool and the chamber has assisted us in helping those visitors learn about the local economy.
“Over the years we have established a reciprocal relationship with the chamber.”
And Brain International has now done its own bit for inward investment by persuading another specialist consultancy to set up an operation here.
“It’s an Italian company called Interlinguae, which specialises in multi-lingual technical document services,” added Geoffrey.
“They came to the UK about four years ago and originally set up in London and Oxford and we have persuaded them of the opportunities in internationalisation that can come from setting up a base in Liverpool.”
Geoffrey is optimistic for the future of Brain International, identifying Brexit as a big opportunity.
He said: “Many of the decision-makers in companies looking to operate in new markets will be perplexed about what to do next.
“We have the know-how, expertise and experience to guide them through that process.”