How you can harness Government to grow your business
January 9, 2015
By Helen Knap
There is an important lesson that many start-up small business entrepreneurs must learn particularly if they intend to export –and that is to align yourself with your Government offshore trade and tourism office. Why? Because often what happens is these organisations have one objective in mind – to grow the nation’s brand and, by default, the economy.
There is no better country world at running such a campaign than the New Zealanders where they align business, trade and enterprise with tourism and investment attraction under the guise of a brand campaign. Called 100% Pure New Zealand the campaign was launched in 1999 and continues today. It uses images a of a clean and green country with metaphors about the ease of doing business and, of course, living. During the first five years of the campaign (1999 – 2004) visitor numbers to New Zealand grew at an average of 7%. In 2002 New Zealand welcomed 2 million visitors for the first time. To put that in economic context and impacts on business the figures over the current life of the campaign is in the billions with tens of thousands of jobs created across large and small business.
In actual fact, if you were a tourism or hospitality business then you would have been a big winner. But, the campaign did something more than just create a brand in terms of the country and its scenery – it also formed partnerships with industry sectors where real growth could be achieved. This extended the ability of business (many small and medium sized) to look at developing new markets farther afield in places such as North America and Asia. The strategy also leveraged off New Zealand hosting major events such as the Rugby World Cup and, of course, the award winning Lord of the Rings movie franchise (a more recent campaign would actually rename New Zealand Middle Earth).
So, we now that these sorts of campaigns work so how can small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs leverage them? Here are some quick tips:
Seek out your local government agency responsible for trade, tourism or promotion and ask the question – how can you support me to export?
Identify potential partners in your own industry who may have already engaged in the export sector and ask if they can spend some time with you just walking through their journey from the positives to the pitfalls
Before you sit down with your local trade and tourism make sure you know what you want and ensure you have your expectations set about how others can help you. Identify what markets you want to step into and why, outline what ground work you may already have done and list what you will invest into the partnership – keep in mind, never expect someone to do all the work for you even if you have to invest either financial or material resources.
Outline your timeline for when you would like to see some sort of result – remember, things never happen overnight unless the hard yards have been done first!
Take a look at the full New Zealand 100% campaign outcomes here
About the Author: Helen is an EntreHub correspondent focussed on small business and export growth. She has more than 30 years experience in the business and employment sectors. Follow Helen on Twitter
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