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Chapter 45

  • Not only was the company developing new ideas, they were developing new markets, particularly in Europe. This had begun slowly with a trip that Wes and Tracey took, a one week trip for Wes to see a few potential customers that they knew about while Tracey would scout out more possibilities.
  • The travel was successful in two ways: they did bring back two new clients and they began a new love affair; a love of Europe, its history, architecture, culture, food and wine. This first foray took them to Germany and France where they already had a few contacts with manufacturing firms that were similar to their stateside customers. While there, Tracey was able to locate more potential clients, especially in Germany where the manufacturing industry was especially strong and advanced; it was a perfect place to expand their business.
  • Their week flew by, of course, but they did have some wonderful food and wine and even got a few hours of walking in cobbled squares seeing life going on in a different manner from what they were used to, especially against the background of languages they heard that, indeed, were foreign to them. It reinforced the fact that they were in a very different place that was similar in some ways but quite different in others. They were enchanted.
  • They were also impressed. Not just with the experience of visiting a foreign land but with the quality and technical sophistication of the prospects that they visited. Not only that, there were more small and medium-sized companies than they had thought. Europe, especially the manufacturing hubs of Europe, held an excellent prospect for expanding the business. But, it would need planning and investment.
  • When they got back, they had prepared a presentation to their key managers and about a week later held an afternoon meeting to detail their findings. Their people were already in touch with the two firms in Germany who expressed interest in their software and one was even talking about a trial run so things were already beginning to pay off.
  • At the meeting Wes went through the visits he had made, giving particular detail to the ones which he felt held the most near-term potential, then after a break, Tracey quickly outlined her work on identifying the markets and their size complete with a capsule view of each company that seemed like a worthwhile potential. She had also done some scouting around of who their competition was and it consisted mainly of two companies, one in France, one in Denmark, who were small and, truthfully, behind in their technology. The competitive software was simpler and had limitations that their own company had surpassed over two years earlier, adding new features to boost productivity and lower turnaround times, key cost and overhead factors.
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