Monday, 21 May 2012
John and Sarah Soulsby.
Unblocking International Success
John Soulsby, Managing Director of 4fx Healthcare Leaving their corporate careers behind them and remortgaging their house, husband and wife team, John and Sarah Soulsby, created 4fx Healthcare Ltd in 2005 to bring an ingenious new product to market. Called Baby Nose Clear, this remarkably simple device clears a baby’s nose of congestion so the baby can breathe properly, feed properly and sleep better.
With the UK market performing well and all the major retail stockists on board, the entrepreneurial pair decided the time was right to move into export.
John Soulsby, Managing Director of 4fx Healthcare explains, “We knew from enquiries generated from our website that there was international demand. At that time we knew nothing about export and recognised we needed some help.” John got in touch with UK Trade & Investment and was soon exploring international sales in Ireland. At a major exhibition in Dublin, contacts were made, a distributor was found and with a concerted marketing effort, sales followed.
With a seasonal bias to the product range it made sense for 4fx to look at markets in the Southern Hemisphere next and so a plan was developed for New Zealand
John started by having several meetings with UKTI commercial officers from New Zealand and Australia. The Business Development Visits (BDVs) were hosted by Medilink East Midlands and were an opportunity for John to meet international trade officers with both a healthcare specialism and local knowledge of his target markets face to face.
“The commercial officer from the British consulate in Auckland took a sample away and after doing some initial research was convinced there was a big opportunity for us in New Zealand.” John continues, “He recommended we did an OMIS report, which lets you use the services of the trade teams based in Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates around the world to better understand the potential in New Zealand.”
Once John had absorbed the results of the OMIS he was able to access support for a research visit to Auckland through UKTI’s Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS), which helps businesses use marketing research to develop effective strategies to enter new overseas markets. The results confirmed that New Zealand would indeed be a good market for Baby Nose Clear. A distributor was soon found and Baby Nose Clear was launched at the British Consulate in Auckland.
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