Guest Blog Post: Kasvua Viennistä -hanke. Providing the Right Tools for Attending a Fair
KO-HO Industrial Design decided to take part in the Kasvua viennistä -hanke because we wanted to improve our overseas network. We are a small start-up company, and realised that we didn’t have the sales and marketing experience skills to find potential customers or develop an international network.
We have previously attended an overseas trade fair, but we didn’t do any preparation before. Our products generated interest, but the product was not ready and we did not have a clear understanding of our pricing.
Vientiin valmistautuminen training was a half-day training session with the five other companies in the Hanke. It was great to mix with different companies and of different sizes. There were a lot of group discussions, sharing ideas and experiences. We were able to network with these other local companies, connecting on LinkedIn, and some further introductions have followed. The biggest lesson we learned is that selling and marketing is hard work, requiring persistence to succeed – there are no shortcuts.
Export assessment showed us some gaps in our business – areas that we can improve and work on during the hanke. After we answered the questions online, Marko & Marja from Xport presented the results, which started a useful debate. We then made an Action Plan specifically for KO-HO, which focused on the tasks that we needed to do. The most useful was a 12-month calendar/planner for scheduling our workload over the months and the year. Not just customer work, but also our design and production activities.
We were looking to identify potential customers in Sweden, Denmark & UK. Xport identified the best route to market for our products to be included in new building developments and renovations. Early on in the research, Xport identified the correct type of targets: interior designers. They focused on collecting contacts among those companies. It can be quite difficult to find direct contact in some countries, but we now have a long list of contacts which will also be useful in future – whatever direction we take our company.
This training session was hosted by Tero Luoma at BSTR and was really useful for us. Tero didn’t tell us what to do, instead he asked lots of questions that made us think about how we want to represent our company. E.g. what are our company values? How to create a good first impression. And using Social Media for marketing. Again, all of the hanke companies were altogether, which made for colourful discussions among the group. After this session, we made a marketing plan for KO-HO, updated our website and started our SoMe marketing activities.
Sales Pitch Coaching
Before this training we thought we were OK at selling our products, but no. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t too happy at the idea of being filmed but was surprised that it was not too bad. This training day was perfect for us ahead of the trip to London Design Fair. We developed a structure for demonstrating our products, and we practised this while being video’d – I only watched it once but it was good to see myself ‘in action’! We now have a structure for pitching future products at future fairs. We will also do this in Finnish for domestic Fairs – knowing what you are going to say, makes it much easier! Everyone should do it.
Read the following post about KO-HO’s experiences at London Design Fair
Timo Hoisko, Owner/Designer KO-HO Industrial Design