Learning from the PROs: Building Business on the Old Continent
Europe has proven itself a competitive and innovative place where business, purpose, and sustainable growth have coexisted for a long time, fighting off many obstacles and challenges along the way. Our business development manager Lily Makoied shared with us the ways to face challenges in various subindustries and how to measure the success of your project in Europe. What makes for a US manufacturing renaissance in Europe, find out below...
First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your experience.
Originally I come from Ukraine. I have lived in the Netherlands for more than seven years already, and I moved here initially to study. I finished my studies in International Business and I started working directly after university. At first, I worked in a company where I did market intelligence and strategy. What I was missing there a lot and why I eventually moved to EuroDev was the contact with people because we were always in the background supporting the commercial team.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in business management?
What I liked when I first started in inside sales and then eventually after I progresses to the project management position was the ability to be directly in front of the customer, both in the US and in Europe at the same time all day.
What are you most proud of from a professional perspective, and how did you achieve it?
I try to build things from zero, for example, my life in the Netherlands was built from zero as well. I'm pretty proud of where I am right now. I have a job that I enjoy very much. I have a nice house, I have my family around. I have a driving license and a car. I'm enjoying myself. For me, this is an achievement.
Speaking about growing the European market for North American mid-size manufacturers, what are the key factors for the success of the partnership?
I think understanding the industry that you are trying to work with is key. Every time we get a new project we have to educate ourselves almost from zero on something completely new. We have projects in industries all over the place, for example, in the Cannabis industry, one in Automotive, and one in Architecture, and all of them work completely differently. We are often responsible for the whole project from A to Z: supply chain, invoicing, sales, and business development. We have to understand how everything is done per industry. And to me, first of all, I need to know how compatible is the American product in the European industry that we're looking at. This is why I find it super important in the first three months or half a year to have all the conversations and get as much feedback as possible and try to learn how it works and join that stream. Often you have to learn on the flight, but I think we're pretty good here with being adaptable.
How do you measure the success rate of a project?
I measure it in profit. I measure it in sales. If I see that the product is selling, if we are getting good feedback from either distributors or end customers and if the market is accepting it, then I know it's going to go well. Sometimes we see the opposite. We see that it's not a match at all. Either there is a European manufacturer who gives the same quality but a much cheaper price. Then you look for other value that you will add or it's just not a match.
Moving to the different industries where you are active, which market niche do you find most compelling when it comes to industrial manufacturing in Europe?
Right now I'm having fun with all my projects, I really find them super interesting. It's also a really nice thing that you can support many conversations with a lot of different people. No matter whom you meet outside of work because you're kind of a little bit savvy on different topics at the same time. But right now, I work in one that is in the Cannabis industry, which I find very fun. It's a great industry, but also really challenging. I have one project in the Automotive Industry and two in Metalworking and the supply chain of Metalworking. Moreover, I have a client in Construction and Architecture, that really spark a lot of joy.
Finally, please tell us about the European industry trends you've noticed lately, what's the European market looking for and your recommendations.
The trends are automation and IT development, a lot of jobs will be simplified and robotized. People are looking for innovation intensively. Whenever you can provide something innovative that's already a big deal. We are starting to use ChatGPT because it is a big help for content writing. It saves time, so you can spend it doing something else.
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