Stephan Spencer Interviewed on Business and Finance News of Newtzel News

December 16th, 2005

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Stephan and Richard Scott discuss having a presence in both New Zealand and the United States. Check out the full transcript below!

NEWZTEL NEWS: RNZ “BUSINESS & FINANCE NEWS” TUESDAY 13 DEC 2005
(6.45 AM) (BFN F)
PRESENTER (RICHARD SCOTT): It’s time for our weekly look at a small business and this week it’s Netconcepts, an Auckland based on-line marketing and web development company specialising in improving firms’ websites to get the maximum number of hits when people use search engines. It makes most of its money overseas with 70 percent of its clients in the United States though Vodafone, House of Travel and Westpac are among its local clients. The US focus isn’t surprising given that its founder, Stephen Spencer, started the business in Wisconsin in 1995 before relocating here after falling in love with the country on a family holiday. He says moving here in 1999 was relatively smooth.

STEPHEN SPENCER (FOUNDER, NETCONCEPTS): Actually we found that we were able to do much, much more with our New Zealand staff than we had in the past with just a US staff base so I found that kiwis are very much early adopters, seem to love the new technologies, very just kind of cutting edge really and we were able to do some really amazing work once we had production set up in New Zealand.

PRESENTER: After a few lean years initially Stephen Spencer says revenues are set to double as the US recovers. Its US clients include the Home Shopping Network and REI, a billion dollar equivalent to Kathmandu. He says the recent US Thanksgiving Holiday proved an unexpected boom for Netconcepts and it underlines the importance of the Internet’s reach.

SPENCER: We were expecting Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving, to be absolutely huge as far as on-line shopping with our clients and we were all ready for huge revenues and traffic coming into our web servers and we got that. What surprised us even more though was the fact that the following Monday was actually bigger so the following Monday, that Friday right after Thanksgiving everyone has off in the US so shopping is huge. People line up to go shopping at Wal-Mart, for example, at 5 am, it opens at 5 am on Black Friday, but the Monday after they’re calling it Cyber Monday, people come into their offices or, you know, they’re shopping from the comfort of their home in front of their laptop, whatever, that day was even bigger.

PRESENTER: Stephen Spencer also has advice for budding exporters to the US market.

SPENCER: Put on a face to your customers or prospects that you really are an American company with a back end that is Kiwi or New Zealand based. For example have your headquarters, not head office but headquarters, see the terminology is really important to things like using the word limited after your company name or having the term head office instead of headquarters, those are dead giveaways to American businesses that they’re not dealing with another American business. Make sure that you have some sales people and account managers that speak the American accent. It’s a very ethnocentric culture in the US so you just have to adjust to that.

PRESENTER: That’s Netconcepts founder and managing director Stephen Spencer.

ENDS <3:00>