With California exports on the rise in 2017, it's clear that California companies are increasing the volume of products and services they sell abroad. At the same time, if you search out news on foreign business travel trends, you'll invariably read about the "geopolitical uncertainty" brought about by the Trump administration. What challenges will face California businesses as they continue to pursue growth in global markets given our current political climate?
Whether you're traveling abroad as the founder of your own business like our Italian client, or representing a larger company, there are excellent resources available to California businesses that you should know about. The California State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) subsidizes expenses for marketing, translation, and other costs of doing business abroad. STEP also assists with business matching and export assistance. Next month, for example, STEP is offering assistance to small and medium sized companies interested in going to Italy for 4 days of B2B meetings with some of the most prominent buyers from the wholesale, retail, food service, and food manufacturing sectors at the TuttoFood Expo in Milan, Italy. Exciting, right?
If an uncertain U.S. travel landscape becomes a concern for your international partners, you may be expected to make more trips abroad to negotiate deals, solidify terms, and scout new market opportunities. We propose making the most out of your trip by planning ahead, sharing costs, and accessing resources for furthering your global business.
One of our business planning and marketing clients is taking our advice. He's an Italian stone craftsman and importer who started his business here in the U.S. in 2012. Now pursuing new avenues for growth, he's exploring a partnership with a larger U.S.-based company, and together they are making a trip to Italy to forge new supplier relationships (an example of cost sharing). In their whirlwind 5-day trip this month, they will meet with 3 to 4 suppliers per day (requiring extensive planning ahead) and attend Fuorisalone Milan Design Week, the world's premier expo for design.
Finally, you might consider investing in your cultural intelligence through free webinars or interactive courses. There are tons of resources out there. If you need help navigating your options, let us know and we'll point you in the right direction. In the meantime, we suggest reading this short article from Professional Passport that describes the growing importance of cultural intelligence in your global business.
Enjoy, and happy travels!