Vitalina Darnopykh, Director, Lviv branch of Taurus Quadra, spoke about the major challenges for the Ukrainian IT-businesses in the Canadian market
The Canadian market is rather conservative, until recently, not so many companies have been seeking partners for outsourcing services. However, the situation is changing now. Canadian businesses develop rapidly and the need for qualified professionals and quality services is growing faster than the domestic market potential. Therefore, a growing number of companies are now ready to strengthen their business by engaging an outside pool of talented and experienced people through outsourcing. Canada and Ukraine have good relations in the political sphere, besides Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora. This may play into the hands of Ukrainian hi-tech industry opening good opportunities for it.
Meanwhile, operating in the Canadian market also holds a number of challenges.
Ukrainian companies often have to overcome a stereotypical view of Ukraine as a third world country. Businesses have to prove that, despite the corruption of the government machine, they can become reliable partners.
Also, we have to prove that tomorrow we will not disappear as a company due to a hostile business environment, including external aggression, legislative novelties or changing political course.
Building trust is the most important thing in cooperation with Canadian partners. And this cannot be accomplished at one meeting. The main thing is to identify your role and place in the Canadian market and understand the needs and expectations of Canadian companies. It is also of utmost importance to rationally evaluate your own capabilities and offer potential partners what is important to them and what they need.
Don’t be afraid to offer your services if you are confident in their quality and market demand for them. It would be helpful to demonstrate that your company not only wants to take something from the Canadian market, but is ready to strengthen the Canadian partner with its own experience and professional level of its specialists, and contribute to developing customer portfolio.
Experience in the US market would also be a significant advantage. At the same time, you shouldn’t forget that the Canadian market is not the American market. If your product has been designed for the American market, it will not necessarily be in demand in the more conservative Canadian market.
This year, our company, Taurus Quadra, has become a member of the ICT mission to Canada organized by the CUTIS project. We received invaluable support and a wealth of new information: from specific tips on developing a marketing strategy and articulating your competitive advantages to actual advice on how to behave and communicate with potential partners.
During the mission, we learnt that much more attention needs to be paid to the formal signs of success, i.e. certifying experts, describing and publishing completed projects, etc.
We need to build a system of relationships with partners, who will be able to trust us because we gained other people’s trust.
Huge assistance on the part of consultants was the arrangement of B2B meetings with companies that could potentially become our partners in Canada. It would be extremely difficult to do it on our own, without a project supported by the Government of Canada.
It is important that we’ve acquired a set of new tools for carrying out market research, developing an export plan, and searching for potential customers and a target segment. Consultants’ tips for providing content for our corporate website and formulating key messages targeted at potential customers were particularly useful.
Such a systematic approach helped us focus on the most important issues and develop a future action plan within a short span of time.