February 17, 2017      wtcutah.com   Facebook Twitter   LinkedIn   Instagram

Helping Utah Companies Think, Act and Succeed Globally

CEO Derek Miller

President's Message
Derek B. Miller, World Trade Center Utah

When we talk about Utah's unique ecosystem for economic growth, we often point to the unprecedented partnerships between government, education, civic and business leaders that make Utah such fertile ground for business growth, job creation and economic prosperity.

At WTC Utah, we've enjoyed creating partnerships with many of the Chambers of Commerce across the state as we've taught business leaders to think, act and succeed globally. Last week we made a presentation at the Utah State Capitol to the State Chamber Coalition, which serves as a public policy voice for the state’s Chambers of Commerce. Presenting to business and civic organizations has become a great venue for us to share information about exporting and how companies can grow their markets. In the process, we have enjoyed surprising many leaders with data regarding how “global” Utah is as a state.

If you are involved in an organization that would be interested in learning more about Utah's global status or how local businesses can grow their markets internationally, we hope you will invite us to make a presentation.

Happy exporting!

International Women's Day Celebration

Join World Trade Center Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center for the International Women’s Day Celebration, Mar. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Salt Lake Chamber.

The event features networking opportunities, a panel discussion moderated by WTC Utah President and CEO Derek Miller that focuses on how you can take your products to international markets, delicious food and great company.

Panelists will include Liz Kennard Butcher, Butcher's Bunches; Colleen Loveless, Love-Less Ash Company; and Shelby Peterson, U.S. Commercial Service. Register here.

Going Global: Podium

When the need for something becomes imperative, you find a way to meet that need. In 2014, Eric Rea and Dennis Steele, friends and former classmates at Brigham Young University, founded a company in Lehi called "Podium" based on an unmet need of Eric's father and other small business owners like him.

As the owner of a tire shop, Eric's dad called him seeking advice regarding what to do about the tire shop's limited online reviews. After some research, Eric found that the only solution available was through email-based campaigns, which seemed arduous and not much of a solution.

Eric subsequently teamed up with Dennis to develop a software as a service (SaaS) platform to help Eric's father and other small business owners across the world manage their online reviews and drive consumer purchasing decisions. The result is Podium, a fully-mobile online review management platform that helps businesses collect and track reviews on sites like Google and Facebook.

Podium solutions are geared for the business-to-consumer market and allow businesses to perform tasks such as send review invitations by text or email, see and respond to reviews on a centralized dashboard and determine actionable insights. Benefits of using Podium include increasing customer feedback, brand trust and search engine optimization (SEO).

Customers can submit reviews from across the web – Google, Facebook and more – while Podium streamlines the process for businesses to view, respond and analyze those reviews via a single dashboard. By offering businesses an easy and efficient way to interact with clients, Podium customers can protect and improve their reputations while increasing traffic and SEO.

The company has been so successful it has seen explosive growth, expanding from 15 to 115 full-time employees in the past 12 months. The company's market has also expanded globally. While a large portion of its business is domestic, Podium is seeing small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) quickly migrate to this new mindset when it comes to marketing and customer experience.

In fact, rather than relying on traditional marketing channels, many businesses in countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are relying on online reviews as a differentiator and revenue driver. That new mindset has given Podium the opportunity to expand into those geographies. In Australia, Podium research shows that one in two consumers look at reviews at least once a week and 87 percent of Australians say online reviews impact their purchase making decisions.

Today, Podium serves more than 50,000 users across nearly 10,000 local businesses and is seeing significant demand in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico. The company continues to expand globally as SMBs and enterprises choose to pour additional resources into reviews, reputation management and digital marketing. Many small business owners are realizing that this form of digital marketing gives them an edge against local competition.

And because the company's solutions are uniquely tied to the growth of sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook, as these websites expand their global reach, so does Podium. Foreign and domestic small businesses and enterprises are rapidly beginning to take charge of their online reviews. For customers, an online presence isn't a mere piece of a company's story, it's the whole story.

What's more, many potential customers won't walk into a business – whether it's a cafe, a tire shop, or a dentist office – without first consulting Google or Yelp. By engaging with customer reviews, both positive and negative, there is an opportunity to increase customer trust and loyalty, and improve business operations, whether the business is in Sydney, Australia, or London, England.

For more information about Podium visit Podium.com, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or call 801-999-8216.

Complying with U.S. Export Controls

Join Salt Lake Community College, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the Utah District Export Council for a two-day, in-depth examination of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The program will cover what exporters need to know to comply with U.S. export control requirements, including:

  • What items and activities are subject to the EAR
  • Steps to determine the export licensing requirements for an item
  • How to determine export control classification numbers (ECCN)
  • When you can export or reexport without applying for a license
  • Export clearance procedures and record keeping requirements
  • Export Management Compliance Program (EMCP) concepts
  • Real life examples in applying this information

BIS presenters will conduct hands-on exercises to prepare participants to apply the regulations in their own export activities. The program is suited for those who need a comprehensive understanding of their obligations under the EAR.

The program takes place April 26 and 27 at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) Miller Campus, 9750 S. 300 West in Sandy. Registration and continental breakfast will be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.

The registration fee is $375 per person. Participants will receive a certificate of completion, continental breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch and complimentary parking at SLCC on both days as well as a binder of conference materials. Substitutions can be made at any time. For questions regarding registration please contact Shelby Peterson at 801-524-3091 or Shelby.Peterson@trade.gov. Online registration via credit card is available here.

A Diversified Approach: Spreading Economic Success
to All Utah Communities

This article was written by WTC Utah President and CEO Derek Miller and Communications Director Jessica Nield and first published in Utah Business magazine. It is reprinted here with permission.

Utah has been ranked No. 1 on the Forbes Best State for Business and Careers list six out of the last seven years. While it is true Utah is doing well overall economically, some rural areas like the Uintah Basin are struggling.

Many companies in the Uintah Basin are reliant on the energy sector, which is known for its cyclical booms and busts. The pleasure most Utah residents get from filling up their cars at the gas pump for less than $2.50 a gallon is a stark contrast to the stress these prices are putting on Uintah Basin residents. The unemployment rate in Uintah County is at 10.2 percent, more than double the 4 percent average unemployment rate in Utah.

So while the Wasatch Front is growing and Silicon Slopes is booming, some rural areas like the Uintah Basin are feeling left out. How can this problem be remedied? The first step is to diversify both what is produced in these areas and their customer base to prevent the economic success of the region from being tied to any one industry.

Changing the Mindset
World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), in conjunction with the Department of Workforce Services and the Vernal and Duchesne Chambers of Commerce, hosted the Business Innovation Summit of Eastern Utah on Nov. 3 to help companies in the area learn how to diversify and expand to international markets. The event focused on innovation and showcased companies that are revising strategies or pivoting to succeed in a global economy.

Education is key to helping these companies adapt and survive. This business innovation summit is just one of the ways WTC Utah is working to help buoy up the area. A lot of the small companies in the Uintah Basin have not even expanded to the Wasatch Front, so an international expansion can be daunting. The purpose of rural outreach efforts is to demystify the expansion process and connect companies to resources that can help them grow right now.

Innovation Focused
One of the rural companies WTC Utah has worked with is Superior Drilling Products, Inc. (SDPI). Troy Meier founded Superior Drilling Products in Vernal in 1993 as a drill bit repair company. Throughout the years, the company has undergone many changes and adjusted its strategy to meet demand. In 2014 SDPI purchased Hard Rock Solutions, Inc. and became a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Superior Drilling Products evolved to become more than just a repair company. Over time the owners began to design and manufacture new drill bits in house. Superior Drilling Products is known for its patented Drill-n-Ream tool, which conditions vertical and lateral well bores while drilling. The tool's dual operation of conditioning and drilling saves both time and money.

Superior Drilling Products is an important example because of its continued innovation and adaptability. One of its latest undertakings is to explore international expansion. The company is looking into opportunities to go global and, working with WTC Utah, will do so when the time is right.

Two other companies that are evolving to combat economic difficulties are Shamrock Mines, the recipient of the Vanguard in International Business Award at the Eastern Business Innovation Summit, and Duchesne based Three P/O, Inc.

Located in Hanna, Utah, Shamrock Mining produces a unique honeycomb-onyx stone that is exported to Taiwan, China, Canada, Mexico and Italy. Similar to marble and travertine in strength, honeycomb onyx is a versatile stone used for counter tops, wall tiles and other architectural applications. Shamrock Mining LLC's exports grew to represent an impressive 35 percent of the total business in 2016.

Preparation and timing are important components in taking products to international markets. Three P/O, Inc., a creator of safety and performance enhancing products for boat propellers, met with the WTC Utah trade services team a little over a year ago to discuss international expansion opportunities. Around the same time discussions were taking place in Germany about passing legislation requiring boats to have a propeller guard on them. WTC Utah advised Three P/O to utilize this new regulation as an opportunity to get into the European market early and position itself as an industry leader. The company has since ramped up its trade show presence and is garnering international attention.

The Future
It is important to celebrate the accolades and recognition Utah is receiving for its economic success, but it is also important to remember there is still work to be done to ensure the whole state benefits. Partnered with the Vernal Chamber, Duchesne County Chamber of Commerce, county commissioners, elected official and economic development agencies, World Trade Center Utah hopes to make a positive impact to rural economies by helping them expand globally.

While many companies around the state may be struggling, Superior Drilling Products, Shamrock Mines and Three P/O Inc. show that being innovative and adaptable can help businesses survive in difficult circumstances. Opportunities exist; companies just need to look beyond state or U.S. borders to find them.

Go Global: International Business Seminar

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and World Trade Center Utah will cohost the "Go Global: International Business Seminar" Mar. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus, Miller Free Enterprise Center, room 203, 9750 S. 300 West, in Sandy.

WTC Utah President and CEO Derek Miller will provide keynote remarks on the state of trade in Utah. Following Millers remarks, a panel of Sandy-located businesses will share best practices for expanding into new international markets. Attendees will also learn how exporting can help a business grow and expand its customer base. For more information or to register click here.

Toolbox: Doing Business in Thailand

In 2016, World Trade Center Utah launched its "Doing Business In" newsletter article series. These articles highlight one of Utah's top export destinations and help companies navigate the opportunities and challenges the market presents.

Thailand was Utah's fifth largest export partner in December 2016, the most recent month for which data is available. Of the $1 billion worth of Utah goods exported worldwide in December, eight percent was shipped to Thailand. In 2016, Utah exported $129 million worth of goods to Thailand.

Many sectors in Thailand face high tariffs, creating obstacles to market access. The highest of these tariffs are on imports that would compete with locally produced goods, such as beef, pork, textiles, apparel, motorcycles, automotive parts, wine, beer, tea and tobacco.

U.S. companies may also encounter corruption and lack of transparency in government procurements. Bids may be accepted or rejected at any time. Government agents may also modify the technical requirements of a bid at any time, with little room to challenge procedures, according to export.gov.

The Thai government has pledged to spend $50.2 billion on infrastructure by 2018. Thailand's economic growth has created opportunities in renewable energy, electrical power and telecommunications.

The U.S. Commercial Service lists the best prospects for U.S. exports as aviation, cotton, defense and security, education services, electrical power systems, environmental technology equipment, fresh fruit, health care, medical devices, personal care and beauty products, safety and security, seafood, soybeans, telecommunications and wheat.

Market Entry Strategy
To enter the market, the U.S. Commercial Services offers a few pieces of advice in its Country Commercial Guide. The market in general is price conscious and served by low price imports or local suppliers. If your product/service is competitive for reasons other than price, you are advised to work with a local partner to develop a market entry strategy. Partnering with a local agent or distributor can accelerate network building as well as navigate relationships with government officials and key business partners.

For more information, or for any other help with your international expansion efforts, please contact the WTC Utah Trade Services Team at exportassistance@wtcutah.com.

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