“SHIFTING DIRECTIONS: Challenges of Managing Growth Driven by the International Customer"
It’s not often that you get to listen to the CEO of a NASDAQ-traded company give pointers on how to successfully engage in international business.
How lucky were we then to hear Mr. Ermanno P. Santilli, CEO of MagneGas this past Thursday at TBOWIT’s March luncheon. I won’t pretend to understand the process behind MagneGas’ product except that I know it’s called –Plasma Arc Flow.
Their technology gasifies or sterilizes hazardous liquid wastes and produces a fuel which they have called MagneGas. This gas and process is at the forefront of green technology. MagneGas fuel has the lowest green house emissions of any fuel out there on the market today. And it’s cost competitive to boot.
How then do you take this marvelous product and sell it overseas while safeguarding your proprietary rights?
Ermanno gave a lot of pointers and here are a few.
One, Recognize that you can’t do it alone–you need trusted and responsible individuals on the ground overseas who know the local taxes, customs, and etc. Two, from the very start make it clear that you follow the FCPA guidelines (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act). Three, Pay attention to red flags such as high commissions, a different payment address from a legal address, or someone not wanting to meet at the company location. Four, Follow up, insist on meeting the client at their place of work, get their business card, and then after the meeting call both their office number and the main office number to speak to the individual. Five, Be on the offensive when it comes to protecting your international patents - have overlapping IP protections to keep copy cats away, service your own products, know who your client is, and keep your negotiations on the down low. It wouldn’t surprise me if one day Mr. Santilli writes a book because he had a lot of good information to share.
What a great opportunity we had to listen and ask questions of this successful CEO!
By Christyna Doege