Getting the best out of OMIS

By: Matt Stocker

If you’ve read our earlier article, Introducing OMIS—your global research network, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the ways in which OMIS (Overseas Market Introduction Service) can help you as your business expands overseas.

To enable you to maximise the value you obtain from this service and to help you create a great partnership between yourselves, your International Trade Advisor (ITA) and your OMIS team, we’ve pulled together our top tips for getting the best out of OMIS.

Top-level strategy

Before diving headlong into internationalisation, it is imperative to develop a strategy. Whilst you may not need to document your strategy in a lengthy tome, you should at the very minium have some form of strategic framework—we certainly wouldn’t recommend playing pin the tail on the country!

Online research

It’s pointless paying someone else to find out basic information that a couple of hours or a morning spent on Google could give you, so don’t be lazy! You’ll spend as much time explaining what you want to a market specialist as it will take you to complete a quick, broad sweep of the landscape yourself.

Choosing your OMIS package

Having completed your own online research, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how OMIS can help you and will be able to strategically tailor your OMIS package to meet your needs. It’s likely that the closer you are to entering your chosen market, the more practical the services you need will be.

Creating a clear brief

A good brief is vital to maximising the value you receive from OMIS—when requesting OMIS services, you’ll be asked to complete a standard UKTI form, which should provide you with the structure you need. Remember, you’re engaging the services of someone who doesn’t yet know your business, who doesn’t know you and who certainly can’t read your mind, so the more information you can give them about your company and what you are looking for, the better.

Ongoing engagement with OMIS staff

Whilst written communications are great, verbal communication can’t be beaten. Ensure that you maintain contact with both your ITA and OMIS in the same way as you would to get the best out of your own staff and suppliers. Misunderstandings can happen, especially across international borders, and you’ll save a lot of time and hassle if you make sure that everyone is on the same page from the outset.

Final sign off on market research

Once you’ve received a completed OMIS report, check through it to ensure that it meets your stated brief—don’t just leave it in your inbox gathering dust! If anything is missing or does not meet your expectations, contact your market specialist as soon as possible—they will quickly move on to their next project and it will be easier for them to revise your report whilst it’s still fresh in their mind.

Using OMIS to conduct a market visit

If you’ve correctly specified your OMIS report, you should now have a strong list of potential customers and partners who you may wish to meet with. Before you dash out on the next plane however, it’s vital to ensure that you’re thoroughly prepared and that you’re making the most of the support that OMIS can give you.

Turning OMIS into action

It’s now your turn to act! The key to unlocking the value of OMIS services is to be a proactive partner throughout your internationalisation journey. Whilst OMIS can help you to lay all the right foundations, at the end of the day it’s up to you to promote your business, to make a great impression with the people you meet, to build lasting relationships and to follow-up effectively. OMIS can generate huge return on investment if you effectively play your part.

Article by:

Matt Stocker

Matt is founder and director of Stocker Partnership, a strategy and innovation consultancy. As a strategist, designer, innovator and geek, he's known for his creative thinking. Matt thrives in challenging environments and loves to push the boundaries of possibility. He's a big picture, visual thinker who is always running 5 to 10 years ahead. Find out more

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