When Andre Prassinos, Founder/CEO of Rotorua-based BioBrew started trawling the websites of government economic development agencies, chambers of commerce and industry groups for support, he found Kea’s World Class New Zealand network.
Andre candidly admits that the catalyst for reaching out to Kea was based more on a gut instinct than a need to put a fully formed idea about what help he needed or problem he wanted solved to network members. In fact, as it’s turned out that would have been little short sighted given the conversations he’s already had with World Class NZ network members. And as Andre evolves his understanding of the value of Kea’s World Class NZ network, he has no doubt that this is a tool his business needs to learn how to use during all business development milestones, not just the commercialisation phase.
Nurture inspiring connections to reap future value
Andre’s experience is that members of this network are people who can help the business owner crystallise ideas, define strategic milestones based on their global experience and provide valuable input into every stage of the business development roadmap. But Andre highlights the need for patience so assuming a mechanistic-type approach won’t work. “This is a human network and thus by nature unpredictable, connections can happen in a non-linear fashion so suddenly, all the dots join up as the members you had conversations with introduce you to other contacts within their personal networks. All these conversations help to further clarify what you’re trying to achieve and eventually, they will bear fruit.”
Andre emphasises the need to nurture contacts that you could have future conversations with. “It takes time to build a global network and Kea presents an opportunity to shorten or start that process by tapping into their existing World Class NZ network. Of course, there are certain sensibilities around connecting to people at this level.
“Public people have private lives so be sure not to waste anyone’s time. I have connected with people who at some future point in time, could become truly engaged with BioBrew’s business so I’ll continue to nurture those contacts.”
When Andre approached Kea about accessing the World Class NZ network he was looking for help preparing the company’s ‘live’, farm and animal health probiotics for the retail market but he didn’t really know who he might get introduced to. “Our products do ‘good’ for the planet with potentially global implications for unsustainable farming practices so people with that type of interest or passion would be ideal to talk to.”
Andre needed to talk to people who could help at an operational level but also at a thought leadership level and was subsequently connected to Kiwi Jacqui Macalister. Jacqui is responsible for embedding sustainability into the McDonald’s Europe supply chain and he’s had several conversations with her about how BioBrew’s product might fit into McDonald’s global strategy. He’s since approached the network a second time for similar help preparing BioBrew’s ‘live’ human probiotic product for global retail markets.
Embed World Class NZ into your global strategy
Andre has been delighted by the value of his network member connections which exceeds the cost of a network connection many times over. He’s certain that, “it’s the combination of the efforts of Kea staff and the people within this network that enables a richer introduction than you might achieve on your own via say LinkedIn, which is a hit and mostly miss strategy. The first step in the World Class NZ network access process is engaging the interest and expertise of Kea’s World Class NZ Relationship Managers in what your business is trying to achieve.
“For any business with global aspirations but only local networks, or no networks at all, making Kea’s World Class NZ network an integral part of a global strategy is a smart move. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ and a superior strategy to trying to organically grow a network by cold calling or randomly bumping into people.”
Click here to find out how the World Class New Zealand network can help you with your global aspirations.