“Exporting is something new and exciting for us,” says Han Brunnekreeft, director of Brunelco, a company developing electronics and software. “But we want to grow and we’ve decided to look beyond the national borders.” The company is now exploring the Mexican market. “Totally unknown territory. Luckily the Starters International Business coaching scheme, provided by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), makes this adventure a little more accessible for us.”
You have been around since 1986. So why begin exporting now?
“Our focus has always been on the Netherlands, partly because we have to consult with our customers quite a lot regarding product development. That’s clearly more difficult in a foreign language. But the Netherlands doesn’t offer us many growth possibilities right now and our turnover is below expectations. That’s why we decided to push back our boundaries.”
How are you going about this?
“We first researched to see which products and countries were interesting, and saw potential for our irrigation computer in South America. In order to prepare better for this move we registered for the Starters International Business coaching programme, which is supplied by Syntens. After that we began a Tailored Intelligence process. We ourselves were thinking about Brazil but the advisers pointed out to us that this country consists of federal states, with many local rules. A scan showed that Mexico offers good opportunities.”
How are you gaining a foothold in Mexico?
“We really don’t know much about this country. But luckily the Netherlands Enterprise Agency put us in contact with the Dutch Agriculture Council and the Dutch consulate in Mexico. That lowers the threshold for entering this market. Among other things the advisers carried out a Business Partner scan that introduced us to interesting business partners in this country. Equipped with this knowledge we will soon be heading to an important trade fair in Mexico.”
What obstacles do you need to overcome?
“Exporting is something new for us. There are many things that you don’t initially think of. The experienced advisers tell us about the right channels and local ways of doing things. And about import levies and surcharges: that’s important for determining your competitive position. All this advice helps you to arrive at quick and well-founded choices. They also pointed out things like the different mains voltage. That may seem like a small detail, but it’s important for our products.”
What do you expect for the future?
“With all the advice we have now received, we can go in search of a suitable distributor who has technical knowledge of our product. When we find them, this will open up the path to a much bigger sales territory, because Mexico might later serve as a starting point for supplying to other countries in the region, too. But we’re taking it one step at a time: after all, good preparation gives you the best chance of success.”
Brunelco was founded in 1986 and employs around 15 people. Based in the town of Haaksbergen in the east of the Netherlands, the company develops a wide spectrum of products relating to electronics and embedded software. These range from power supply for rowing simulators to hydraulic control equipment. More information: www.brunelco.nl.