Have a question about Global Expansion? Ask an expert.
We'll email you when the anonymized answer is posted.
You have left field empty. Please fill that out.
We have been manufacturing barber and beauty tools for more than 30 years and have been addressing only the demand in our own country. But now we are looking forward to exporting our products and brand in the global market as well. Currently we are looking for distributors of barber tools starting in the UK and then expanding to other countries. What is the most effective approach to take in order to find the best distributors for our products?
It will take some research and activity on your part to find the right distributors for your products. You don’t simply want to find distributors, you want to find those that will promote and support your product, have a good relationship with your mutual customers, and will also have a positive relationship with you. Based on the kinds of products you would like to sell and the distributor relationships you seek, you can build the right business associations for your company.
Here are some of the steps that will help you get started in finding high quality distributors who are a good fit for your company. These steps work for finding distributors in other countries besides the UK, in case you decide to consider other expansion options.
1. Identify the important industry organizations for your products in the UK. Through these organizations, you can build relationships, get information, find referrals, and identify distributors who are aligned with your products and the way you do business. As you do your online search for good distributors, use the kinds of keywords in your search criteria that will bring you the best results: UK salon supplies, London salon supplies, United Kingdom barber supply distributors, UK beauty supply trade shows, barber supply associations. You will know best how to represent your business in these searches.
2. Look for related products you’d like to be associated with that are at a similar quality level and focus on the distributors who carry those item. This will help you narrow your search.
3. Contact the related associations and let them know you would like them to help you. They are promoting and supporting the industry, so should be able to give you assistance.
4. Get introductions from organizations and associations to distributors. The more targeted you can be in your specific request, the easier it will be for them to help you. If done correctly, this activity is beneficial to everyone, so the organizations and associations are interested in promoting business.
5. Once you have identified distributors with whom you’d like to do business, get a list of client references from them so you can vet them with their customers. Make sure they have the same level of customer support that you do so that they will represent your brand as you wish.
6. In order to make this process as effective as possible, attend shows, get to know the market, meet distributor candidates, and look for those who will support and promote your product along with the others that they sell.
Good luck with your global expansion!More
As a general rule, you are only required to accept a return if the item is faulty, not as described, or unfit for its purpose.* However, it is common practice to offer a more extensive return, refund, or exchange policy. Most retailers offer their customers a policy that allows them to return non-faulty items with a few stipulations. Those stipulations vary depending on the retailer, but commonly require that the item be unused, in undamaged and original packaging, accompanied by a receipt, and be returned/exchanged within a specific amount of time. Some common items that most retailers will not accept returns and exchanges for are DVDs, CDs, computer software, perishables, and items made-to-order.
Most retailers will prominently display their return policy in store, on receipts, and their website. Keep in mind, if you do offer a more extensive return/refund policy, you are required to follow your policy.
* There are specific exceptions to this rule, including exceptions for online and phone purchases and for purchases of digital content. Those exceptions are explained in more detail in Globig’s Billing Regulations subsection of Product Localization in the UK Knowledge Base.More
Lawyer is a general term used to describe anyone who practices law, including barristers and solicitors. In the United States the terms lawyer and attorney are the most common, and they are used interchangeably, as they are synonyms. However, historically, many countries have had a split legal system whereby lawyers have two distinct professional tracks, that of either a solicitor or a barrister. The most basic difference between a barrister and a solicitor is that barristers traditionally represented and defended clients in court, while solicitors performed out of court legal work i.e., transactional work, and worked more directly with clients.
Over the years, the two have fused together, and in many countries today the distinction has disappeared. In many countries, a person can hold the qualification of both a barrister and a solicitor. Today, many countries that still carry on this distinction allow solicitors to appear in lower courts and some in all courts.
In countries that have kept the distinction, if you are looking for or working with a lawyer to help with taxes, trademark, business regulations, etc., you are likely looking for or working with a solicitor. Solicitors generally represent a wide variety of client types, including individuals, companies, government entities, etc. In the event of a lawsuit reaching the courts, the solicitor is likely to hire a barrister to represent you in court. In countries that have abolished the distinction, you will be working with a lawyer who can either represent you in court or hire a lawyer who specializes in litigation.
Keep in mind, the legal system functions differently in each country, so you will need to understand the system specific to the country in which you are doing business.More
We would recommend you work closely with your legal counsel and international tax advisor before you decide on a path. Many companies choose to work with a sales representative, distributor or professional agent with an existing customer base to test out their product and get assistance in developing out the market prior to opening up an office or bringing in employees. Typically if you work through a company that already has a business in the UK, you should be protected from paying taxes in the UK in addition to paying taxes in the US. There are pros and cons for using sales representatives, distributors, and agencies as we outline in detail in the Ways To Do Business in UK section of the Globig Knowledge Base. Some of the pros include: -Agents have existing customers and relationships to get your product in the door -You can minimize your costs of doing business because the agents have an established business you are piggy backing -This is a low cost way to test a market Some of the cons include: -You will have to find the right agents to represent your product well -You have less control of your brand and how it's marketed -You don't own the customer, the agent does -You won't have the full focus if the agent has other products they represent -You may not get enough feedback from the agent to help you shape your product and marketing It can be a good option to test the market by working with established agents/agencies before investing in employees, office space, local business entities, and extensive local marketing. The key to a good relationship with an agent is selecting the right one from the beginning, setting clear expectations, having well defined agreements in place, communicating and staying close to the agents throughout the process.More
While the primary language for both the US and the UK is English, there are differences that you'll want to consider for your website and marketing communications content. First, there are spelling differences for common words such as 'theater' and 'theatre'. Second, there are some notable differences in the words used for the same thing. Good examples of this are 'pants' vs. 'trousers' and 'French fries' vs. 'chips'. If your strategy is to proclaim your American brand, then keeping the US spellings is appropriate. On the other hand, if you want your product or service to feel local, then you will want to review your content and copy to ensure you've made the necessary updates. It never hurts to have locals help you with this process. They will be able to find not only words that differ, but phrasing and references that may not make sense to your British audience.More
London is the top startup city in the entire EU and thus the overwhelming leader in the UK. Some other cities that have over 2,000 new startups each year include Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol, and Liverpool. The UK is a hotbed of startup activity and a great place to start a new company.More
Unlike in the US and the UK, Germans tend to get right down to business in meetings and spend very little time on introductory small talk. Meetings generally have agendas which are strictly adhered to and are expected to result in decisions and outcomes, not just be a forum for discussion. While people in some countries are more apt to gently ease into the meeting content - and in fact are potentially uncomfortable with jumping right into the subject matter - Germans will waste little time on what they would consider superfluous chit chat. For your meetings in Germany, be prepared to quickly start business and don't attempt to open with idle conversation unrelated to the task at hand.More