The World is Flat #2: How HM Risk Group Went Global
How does one “go global?” Thomas Friedman’s book The World Is Flat showed us how our businesses are becoming global. The top 10 factors leading to globalization Friedman’s book, as well as an entrepreneur “going global” profile were included in our first post of this series. This second post continues our Q&A with entrepreneurs who have made the jump and ”gone global.” Today we feature Ashley Hunter of HM Risk Group.
Q: Explain how you “went global” with your business? Discuss major steps and the benefit to you and your customers.
I actually just decided that I couldn’t make the money in the US because I was working in a field where men dominated the industry, so I decided one night that I would take the next flight overseas and never looked back. The first major step was booking the ticket with Delta then making appointments with several government agencies and businesses. The next step was landing my first client in the Middle East. Landing my first client overseas was a little odd. I found the client through “cold emails” after I flew to meet with the client and his officers they introduced me to the central bank in the county. I actually thought that the trip was a complete waste of time but, after two hours of drinking tea and talking about absolutely nothing they asked if I could assist them with insurance on a hotel that they owned in Algeria!! I was completely stoked! They were actually testing me to see if I was just there for the money or interested in the project and the people in the company!! I think the major benefit that I have to offer is the fact that I really think that customer service is the key… I totally rely on that motto.
Q: Were you intimidated to go global? What did you have to learn? How did you have to adapt?
No.. I was not intimidated at all! I learned that I could do anything if I just take a chance! I had to learn that I needed to step back and listen and not take the business approach that I take here in the states… Aggressive woman! I needed to learn to be aggressive with a subtle touch!
It is really hard to be a women entrepreneur in the Middle East you have to learn how to take charge with out over stepping your bounds as being a woman in a world where women take a back seat to everything! I spend most of my time walking a fine line of having to stand my ground, not offending the men that I work with as well as trying to stroke their big fat egos! I have cultivated the art of being a smart business woman that they need to work with while making sure that they believe that I needed them in order to succeed!
Q: How has going global changed your business?
I get some much more respect over in the US now that I have done business overseas. It gave me more credibility here in the states.
Q: Is there anything we missed?I want to emphasize the importance of customer service in ANY nation. I spend a lot of time getting to know my customers I become their resource, their friend, their confidant. It is really lots of work trying to develop a relationship where my clients feel comfortable enough with me to not only give me their personal financial information but indulge me in conversation that has very little to do with business at all. When it comes to customer service I believe that it takes more than making the customer feel comfortable with writing you a check, they also have to feel comfortable talking to you about the weather as well.
See recommended “going global” discussion questions at the bottom of our first post.
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