'There was every reason to consider doing business with Russia. It is an up and coming market with money that it is keen to invest in the fire market, so this was an obvious step for us.'Victoria McLaren, Managing Director of Solo Thermal Imaging
Darlington based Solo Thermal Imaging Ltd is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of thermal imaging, and is at the forefront of fire-fighting, search and rescue and surveillance operations. The company manufactures everything onsite and to its own specifications. 80 percent of its sales are international, exporting to countries including China, the USA, Australia, South East Asia and most recently Russia.
Its international customer base is incredibly diverse, including clients such as The White House, The SAS, NASA, The Chinese Fire Brigade, The Bulgarian Navy and a number of international cruise liners, having just recently supplied fire safety products to The Royal Princess Ship.
Victoria McLaren, Managing Director of Solo Thermal Imaging, said: “There was every reason to consider doing business with Russia. It is an up and coming market with money that it is keen to invest in the fire market, so this was an obvious step for us.
“We were originally introduced to the Russian market by an Estonian agent who had the initial connections needed to get things off the ground, helping us considerably with the language barrier.
“Our USP is that we can manufacture completely bespoke, made to order products, which our buyers can fix their own branding to. We invited the interested parties over from Russia to give them on-site training. From here they could take the product back with them and completely re-brand it as Russian. This is something we are able to do on small orders too, which is a key selling point for us in this market.
Victoria continues: “Our initial perception was that the Russians would be very difficult to deal with. In our experience, it quickly became apparent that this was complete hearsay. Sure, they strike a hard bargain but they are highly professional and simply want to ensure cost efficiency.”
Solo Thermal Imaging is continuing to build its links with Russia and is currently planning an expansion of its product range into the market.
Solo Thermal Engineering’s top tips for doing business in Russia?
Get a translator; this is exceptionally important for understanding the culture.
Be patient and prepared to invest time and energy in the business process; the Russian companies we have dealt with like to build up a trusting relationship over time.
Hierarchy is important ; they like to understand the structure and ethos of the business and know who they are going to be dealing with. Again, this comes back to trust.
Go and visit the country; this shows interested parties that you are committed about working with them and are interested in their country.