Monday, March 28, 2005

The White Rhino Report Reader Profile - Tony Lorizio

As promised, here is the first of a series of Profiles on interesting readers of this Blog.

A few months ago, my friend, Bob Allard, CEO of Retention Engine, told me that I needed to meet Tony Lorizio - fellow Renaissance Man and uber networker! Bob is never wrong about these things, so I was pleased when Tony and I were able to share some delicious pasta and some fascinating conversation at Papa Razzi in Wellesley.

I found Tony to be the prototypical "self-made man." As a non-traditional student at the Harvard University Extension School, he quickly became the nexus for many communitiy events and activities, and was chosen as his class's commencement speaker. He followed his Harvard experience with a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University, where his thesis was on: "Examination of the U.S. Trade Deficit and Trade Economics."

Tony is a "Deal Flow" guru, with a consulting practice that focuses on helping companies to open up foreign markets for their products and services. Since many of the issues he helps companies to address were new to me, I have felt in recent weeks like I have been drinking from a fire hose as Tony has educated me about many of the issues within his sphere of specialization. In a recent conversation, I asked Tony the following question: "If I owned a company that was not yet doing business overseas, what are some of the issues I should be aware of?"

Tony: The value of the dollar and the fact that English is the business language today should assuage the biggest barrier to doing business abroad: American business's fear of the unknown. That anxiety - and the fact that the US markets are so deep and broad - meant that in the past, most companies did not choose to involve themselves in international trade. In the new world of Globalization we must be aware that 80% of American companies are subject to competition, on US soil, from companies from abroad. They are here eating up market share.

Market research is another means to reduce the anxiety. Between commercial data and the data provided by government agencies, a company president can identify opportunities with minimal effort. The need for an EXPORT Business Plan does exist. An additional approach that can make a CEO more comfortable is to look at what multinationals are doing in those targeted countries. If they compete with a division of a multinational in the US they can usually do it abroad.

ALC: "Tony, it seems to me from our conversations that you have a specializaiton in helping companies to establish markets overseas in Central and Eastern Europe. Tell about about doing business in that part of the world and where there are opportunities to expand."

Tony: The US Commerce Department states that in Central Europe the best areas for American Business to exploit are:

Computers and Computer Peripheral Equipment
Pharmaceutical and medicinal Products
Automotive Parts and supplies
Energy Sector Equipment
Pollution Control
Architectural/Construction/ Engineering Services
Measuring, Testing, Scientific Equipment
Medical Equipment and healthcare technology
Security Equipment and Services

The European Union has double the population of the U.S. Hence, there is market.

ALC: "I have heard you refer to yourself both as a "Deal Flow Expeditor" and as an "International Trade Intermediary." Please tell me about that role:

Tony: An International Trade Intermediary is a necessary addition to a company's analysis process. This is someone who will help to analyze the data (even collect it), create the Export BP and deliver the contacts in the MARKET where transactions actually take place. This role is similar to that played by a Trading Company in that this is where the PERSONAL contacts come from - where sales can actually happen. At the end of the game it is one person who will sign a check. The Intermediary helps the client company to get there. I am that intermediary! That is the role that I play as a consultant to my clients.

If you know of anyone who would like to explore entering international markets for the first time, I would be pleased to introduce them to Tony.


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