About us - as we were .....
Oatencourt, Inc., was formed in 1985 as a Michigan Corporation with the objective of providing export sales and marketing support to small specialist U.S. businesses. The founder, Anthony Bernard, was a member of the Michigan District Export Council from 1985 to 1995, and a frequent speaker on export promotion having held various International Business positions with U.S. corporations and before that in England.
Oatencourt Ltd, registered in England in 1982, carried out sales, marketing and distribution activities throughout Europe in support of clients' businesses.
Anthony Bernard, founder of Oatencourt, has a degree in Physics from Cambridge and a background in Medical Imaging, as well as 35 years in International Business with particular experience in East Asia and Western Europe.
update 2010, Anthony now has 45 years in international business, but is winding down, concentrating on consultancy for US companies marketing in Europe and spending more time on local ecumenical Christian activities.
Exporting is no more than participating in someone else's domestic market. The main differences are in communications, logistics and sometimes products. Customers feel the USA is a long way off, shipments must clear Customs, product preferences can differ. Most of the functions that an exporter might want its European office to organise or to do can be performed by Oatencourt Ltd.
Distributors give customers local support; Oatencourt Ltd selects and manages distributors in many European countries. These are chosen to suit the sector and manufacturer, we do not have a fixed portfolio of partner companies. In support of distributors, Oatencourt imports and holds demonstration product which can move within the E.U. free of Customs restrictions. Distributors are the eyes and ears of the manufacturer and can give feedback on what their market really wants; being in close contact with them through regular visiting is important
Communications are key. No-one knows more about what the customer really needs than he does; no-one know more about the product capability than the manufacturer. Ensuring that both questions and answers are understood and communicated promptly is vital to success. While English is often the common language, usage and phrasing vary greatly and local contact provides an essential facilitation.
International Market and Management Consultancy
Strategic Planning, whether formal or informal, is they key to a successful International Market Development program. Resources need to be focussed in areas most likely to bring positive results. This is true for all businesses, but especially true for the small exporter.
Oatencourt policy is not to make any charge for our export services until we ourselves can see a likely profitable outcome for the manufacturer as well as ourselves. The obvious consequence is that we do undertake an initial market evaluation free of charge to the point where an outline plan can be produced for discussion.
Management Consultancy is often no more than fulfilling the role of European Manager within the management team, but sometimes more formal strategic planning or other consultancy has a part to play and we also do that.