Kay’s Top Six Tips to Building an International Brand and Leveraging it for Growth.
- People do business with people they know, like and trust. Be that person.
- Remove the boundaries
- Build Relationships that support success and collaboration
- Keep current. Keep in touch
- Celebrate our ‘International Region’
Welcome, EWI Detroit-Windsor Chapter members and our distinguished guests. How wonderful to be sharing this evening with you at St. Clair College and with a view that truly showcases the amazing International Region we share!
Tonight I will share with you a little of my story and how being a member of EWI was pivotal in our Detroit-Windsor advantage, DMG Windsor-Detroit and how the knowledge, friendships, and affiliations that were developed with EWI have had a direct impact on our company’s bigger picture thinking, growth, and development. Today we have offices in Windsor, Detroit, and Niagara and have developed strategies for our clients that bridge relationships internationally.”
EWI sees no boundaries and when we remove the thinking associated with boundaries, we open the door to opportunities beyond individual thinking.
Let me share how that story started for me.
I owned a business and was a single mother wanting a bigger world. I worked hard to expand relationships, create co-opportunities for clients and saw Detroit as a market that would allow for international outreach and much larger client potential than would be possible in Windsor.
My friend, Marilyn Stubberfield, invited me to an EWI dinner meeting where Paula Blanchard Stone, ex-wife of former Michigan Gov. James J. Blanchard, was the guest speaker. That EWI meeting was, for me, a catalyst for growth. I was impressed with what Paula had to say, so a few days later I called to invite her to lunch. From that lunch, we became friends and business associates. Paula is retired now, but we remain friends.
I became an active EWI member and met wonderfully successful women, many of whom became dear friends. One such friend is Madeleine Phillips. When I was looking for an office in Detroit, Madeleine suggested using a spare office at PVS Chemicals, a member firm of EWI. Being alone in Detroit, Madeleine was there to provide support and a smiling face.
Today Detroit’s renaissance is a shining example of what is possible with a dream, dedication, people working together, innovation and determination.
The world and business has continued to change, industries evaporate, businesses innovate, invention and automation progress, development continues to build on every front. There is a lot that looks different today.
The one element that remains a key driver in development, growth and business is relationships. People doing business with other people they know, like and trust.
Technology will continue to advance at the speed of change. However, this does not alter the importance of a handshake, a telephone call, a lunch together, a presentation or the reaching out beyond where we sit to where another human being sits to find how, where, and what we can give each other to strengthen our positions as people, businesses, organizations or institutions.
Technology is a wonderful thing when used to advance the development of relationships that link people together, allows for international connectivity and advancement in manufacturing, product development, innovation, education, healthcare, and tourism to name a few.
How does this apply to an international strategy?
We take down boundaries when we build relationships that work. Relationships that allow for the showcasing of our international advantage of the largest trading relationship and busiest border in North America and link people, products, promotion and partnerships that support a win – win philosophy.
Getting involved in associations and organizations like EWI, the Regional Chambers, CUSBA, Great Lakes Angel Network and for the Women Owned Business here, certification in WEConnect International, WBE and links to WBNEC provide an outreach to a larger network that expands not only opportunity but resources in the members and their networks.
How can this work for you?
Get involved. Become an active participant, develop international outreach as a core part of your strategy that can include an advisory board, linking to like-minded companies with complementary services, become a resource to other progressive business owners to share best practices, mentor or move the needle on showcasing our region, Detroit Windsor, as the “International Gateway” we are with an advantage of an international perspectives that will broaden ours.
Reach. Grow. Refine a strategy that has the unlimited resource of relationship-based business as your core.
At the end of my lunch with Paula, I said I would not have asked her to lunch had I known who she was. And she said, “Bingo,” you would have seen boundaries and you would have had them.
Move forward seeing no boundaries and the world will open wide for you. If there was one piece of advice that has influenced my career it would be this statement as it freed my thinking to never again think there was a boundary between me and another person in business, regardless of their level. I have made great relationships and great friendships that started with hearing Paula keynote for my first EWI meeting.
I am here today as a corporate member of EWI, a past president and a grateful member whose involvement with this group was the catalyst for our US-Canadian Advantage for me personally, and for my business, and many others.