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Trade Routes: Navigating International Business

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: September 5, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 4

Because distributors need your exact quantitative formula, best practices include having a signed contract with them before you give them that information—or, at the very least, a signed letter of confidentiality. Sometimes, you get a request from a distributor for the formula so they can have the ingredients checked to see if they can import the product. Give them the formula without the percentages, and have them sign a letter of confidentiality.

So far, so good. I have no bad outcome to report with having my product formulas knocked off.

GCI: Any other documents readers should know about?

Jeri Ross: You may need what’s called a Certificate of Free Sale for some countries. I found that countries outside the EU require this document—including Russia, Turkey and countries in South America. What I didn’t know was that it takes around four to six weeks to get one and that they cost approximately $200 each. You can order them directly through ICMAD, or in some cases, your lab can order them for you.

Lesson Learned: Find out if you need a Certificate of Free Sale in advance so you don’t hold up the process.

GCI: Any final recommendations?

Jeri Ross: I have definitely learned some lessons the hard way. So you can see why I included being patient in my introduction. For me, the direction for doing international business has never been one of should I or shouldn’t I. It has been one of my visions since I started product development.

Regarding the benefits and highlights of international business, I could go on and on about stories where I literally jumped up and down for joy with good news of deals cut and projected expansion into more countries I’ve never been but want to go to. I’m not a pragmatic CEO; thus the bumpy road. But I am a determined one who rises to the challenges, and the enjoyment of always looking for the next exciting event in the unknown dimensions of going global.