New Zealand businesses not loud enough for the US, says NZTE adviser

NZTE North American beachhead advisor Kelly Hoey says businesses should not think of the US as one market, but many ...
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NZTE North American beachhead advisor Kelly Hoey says businesses should not think of the US as one market, but many different markets.

New Zealand companies wanting to succeed in the United States need to be less humble and more arrogant, a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) business advisor says.

The Government's international business development agency connects companies with private sector advisors contracted as mentors to help businesses succeed overseas.

The advisors, known as beachheads, are in Australia, North America, South America, South East Asia, the Middle East, Japan, India, Europe and New Zealand.

North American beachhead Kelly Hoey is in New Zealand for the week meeting with businesses and entrepreneurs to share her tips on how to make it in the US.

A former lawyer, Hoey co-founded a startup accelerator focused on fast-tracking the growth of early-stage mobile technology companies with gender-diverse leaders.

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Originally from Canada but now living in New York City, Hoey helps entrepreneurs and early stage, high growth companies understand the networks and relationships they need to be tapping into to succeed in the US.

The first thing New Zealand companies needed to realise was that the US was not one big market, she said.

"Everyone says they want to enter the US market," Hoey said.

"There isn't a US market. There are many markets within the United States of America."

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Even within each sector in the US there were a multitude of markets, she said.

Another misconception amongst New Zealand companies was that there was an abundance of investor equity available in the US.

"Most companies are under the naive assumption that, particularly in the US, there's money growing on trees and investors are just writing cheques. Wrong."

In order to attract investment interest in the US New Zealand businesses needed to learn how to talk themselves up and stop being so reserved and humble, she said.

"Get your brag on.

"You need to take a brasher, bolder position with how you're talking about your company. Step up your arrogance."

Businesses should do their research to understand the norms, customs and language of markets they wanted to enter in order to communicate and operate effectively.

"Be as curious about the ecosystem your stepping into as the product you're developing."

New Zealand businesses and entrepreneurs should also be taking advantage of Government resources such as NZTE, she said.

"They want you to be successful and they know what is going on in those markets and each of them is unique and different."

 - Stuff

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