Grant & Leng is a Chinese business services company. We provide startups and small businesses in the UK & Ireland the services need to do business in China. The services we provide range from translation and localisation of documents, software applications, sourcing and selling products in china, setting up a business in China, investment sourcing, visas, market research, marketing, language and cultural training.
The benefits we bring to customers is an easy, hassle free way of doing business in China and engaging with a 500 million consumer market (same population as the EU). The main barrier we find is the language and culture. So we provide custom training to organisations to help in this area as well as using market research to help our clients on the ground in China find out if their business is viable there. We target startups and SMEs as we provide competitive prices that will not break the bank.
Why did we start it
We started up as within the UK & Ireland the governments in all regions are pushing businesses towards China. China is seen as the next big economy after the US. Most products we use today are made in China and the economy there is moving from a manufacturing to services economy. This may take 10 years but now is a good time for foreign companies to adapt to the Chinese way of doing business.
We also have in our strategy to help adapt markets such as the tourism industry in UK & Ireland towards Chinese tourists. The Chinese government themselves estimate there will be around 500-600 million Chinese tourists globally per year by 2017. We therefore need our hotels, tourist attractions and restaurants to adapt to this market and attract them. Simple things such as website and leaflets translated into Chinese would make tourists more likely to visit. The UK & Irish governments have helped in this manner by agreeing a joint visa scheme to allow Chinese tourists to get one visa and visit each others countries.
Where do we see it going
We see our business developing and expanding through the UK & Ireland. We have setup in Belfast to access the Northern Ireland market but also have obtained clients in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. Our position in Northern Ireland allows for this flexibility. We see ourselves opening offices in the future in Dublin and possibly London.
We are continuously partnering with Chinese companies that help startups and do work in IT and manufcaturing. We hope for this to increase so we have a wide range of contacts in China to help all types of business expand there or source products there.
How to grow
To grow we need to change attitudes. Talking to businesses there is an attitude that China is too far away to do business there and its too corrupt. In today’s global world no where is too far away. Businesses tend to focus more on the EU and US market as they are safe in their view in relation to culture and language in most cases. We want to break this attitude. With the required help from our company we can take the language and cultural elements out of the equation and get the businesses right in and working with China. Being there to support our clients we hope they will change their mindset towards doing business there.
What have we learnt
As we started the business we learned that the new methods always mentioned in the media such as facebook, twitter etc maybe a good way to advertise your business and get clients. But having events and talking face to face with potential clients is still the best way. You need to be seen to get your name known, just sitting putting tweets out and creating facebook profiles will not show the true business.
Tips for other businesspeople starting out
Make sure and have your business planned out. Don’t be starting your business then make up what your doing along the way. As when your talking to potential clients in meetings they will get the feeling you haven’t thought your business through very well. Always have a clear aim and stick to it, read it through in your head everyday to keep that aim a priority. When you reach that aim you will know you have succeeded.