Jim Cloar is the chief commercial officer of Synaptive Medical – a Toronto based company that develops medical equipment and applications for neurosurgery.
What was your first export sale?
Our first export sale was also our first sale. It was the delivery of our BrightMatter Plan product to two hospitals in Florida on the same day.
How did that first export opportunity arise?
We had worked with neurosurgeons in the U.S. during the development of our products. As a result, a number of hospitals were eager to do business with us when the products became available.
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
The breadth and depth of the sales and service team needed to turn opportunities into sales, and to provide excellent customer service once the sale is complete. As a four year-old company that had its initial sale just over a year ago, we continue to learn a lot about regulatory requirements, selling and buying practices, hiring and taxes as we look to expand into other countries.
How has the trading world changed since you started in business?
One is the increasing focus by governments on reducing health care costs. That requires us to have a clear understanding of health care economics in the countries where we plan to sell, and how our solution will provide benefits from an economic as well as a clinical perspective. The other is the breadth of regulatory and compliance requirements, which often vary by country. Their scope continues to grow.
What is the #1 thing new small and mid-sized companies need to know about export and trade?
It’s a big investment to enter new markets and win new customers, and you want to do it right. You need to have experienced people who have entered and worked in the market, whether they be employees, advisors or partners.