Tips for improving your chances in the US Markets

17 May 2016

What are we doing well when it comes to promoting Kiwi companies and improving our chances in North American markets? And, what could we be doing better? We chat with NZTE North American Beachheads Advisor Kelly Hoey in the third of a series of three articles about doing business in the North American market

In today’s connected world the tyranny of distance is no longer such an obstacle for New Zealand exporters – particularly tech startups who can licence, sell and distribute their product via the cloud.  NZTE North America Beachheads Advisor, Kelly Hoey says we have a lot going for us, but there’s always room for improvement.

Distance, quality and authenticity

Our first advantage, is the fact that our entrepreneurs are already operating within geographical and size constraints, and succeeding.

“That kind of creativity and resilience is a very attractive one for investors like myself,” she says. “You’re already thinking bigger, knowing that you have to expand beyond your local market.”

Linked to this is the belief that anything out of New Zealand may not necessarily be large in volume but it’s always big on quality.

“As a smaller market, you’ve always had to be better at things. Because of free trade, Canada had to up its game. You guys have always had your game up. On a global level, you just don’t associate New Zealand with poor quality; and that’s absolutely huge.”

You have a country that is non GMO and predominantly organic – that’s something profoundly valuable, and that will only grow in value. You need to protect that ferociously.

Taking this a step further, one of our most obvious strengths is the quality of life we enjoy, particularly in terms of our approach to the food chain and the environment. This makes New Zealand an incredibly strong brand and unique brand that’s associated with our quality output, food traceability and environmental awareness. Just as the Apple or Coca Cola brands translate into a balance sheet value, so too does New Zealand’s brand, she says.

“You have a country that is non GMO and predominantly organic – that’s something profoundly valuable, and that will only grow in value. You need to protect that ferociously. Your entrepreneurs like Trilogy, the Eco Store and Annabel Langbein, they have a massive brand to build off.

"For me, what’s so strong about these non-tech companies is something that’s very powerful, it’s authentic and sets you apart. It’s how we live versus how we’re trying to course-correct from bad actions.”

Celebrate your successes

For tech companies, in particular, Hoey believes New Zealand is underselling its success stories in this industry.

“We need to know and understand more about the tech companies coming out of New Zealand.

"How much of the world knows that Xero is from New Zealand? It’s a great tech company. I met Area 360’s Chris Smith yesterday. Why isn’t he a household name everywhere?! He is a spectacular individual and a phenomenal entrepreneur. The world needs to hear about these people.”