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Last Update: Tuesday December 12, 2017

Key Idea: Sell To The World

Hattie says that Glenn and Wanda prove that American products sell globally especially if they taste good.  Think Coca-Cola --  the world's more recognized brand.

Key Question:

A: 

Try going global.

Q: How are Wanda and Glen marketing to the world?

A: Their first International sale was made to a Canadian company in 1978 then sales came in from South Africa, Australia, England and Finland. These all came because somebody ate an American corn dog and wanted to bring them to their countries.

When Wanda felt the American market for their one and only machine was too unreliable, she looked for ways to sell internationally. After some very disappointing experiences with people she didn't know, she participated in a U.S. Department of Commerce sponsored pavilion at a trade fair in Poland. This was the best idea. She met the person who is now their central distributor for all of Europe. He then finds country specific distributors who work under him. He speaks English and German while Wanda speaks English, French and Spanish.

The U.S. Department of Commerce creates a cost-effective way to exhibit and to meet the right people. They have a "Gold Key" service which can help you do background checks, set up appointments for you to meet people in the country where you want to do business, help you with translators and more.

We found great information at the U.S. Department of Commerce web site, doc.gov,  the SBA's Online Business Advisor and the Bureau of Export Administration's site, bxa.doc.gov.

Our friend Abby Shapiro runs exporthotline.com which provides good information as well. There are Small Business Development Centers all over the country and many have export classes. There is no shortage of information out there.

Q: Has Wanda made mistakes in trying to go global?

A: Yes. She told me to never extend credit to a stranger and get everything in writing. We can all be charmed or wooed by people who want to be entrepreneurs and use our products to start or grow a business. But, Wanda said you must get money on the table before you ship your products.

Also, she gets lots of inquiries from people who want to sell her machines. She has requirements which must be satisfied before she progresses in discussions with anyone.

Here they are...
1. Experience in the food processing industry; established professional company structure and bank references plus a marketing plan.
2. Mechanical/technical ability.
3. Proven ability in capturing specific target machetes within the food processing industries.
4. Willingness to establish markets with demonstration systems/minimum
initial systems purchases.
5. Willingness to sell Automated Food Systems sticks and batter in conjunction
with corn dog machines.

Q: Does it sound like she's playing hard to get?

A: Yes, and that's good. Wanda has served on the North Texas Export Council for 10 years. There are 55 of these councils nationwide and while the members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, they are accessible and want to help small business owners go global.

Call your local Chamber of Commerce to find out about the Export Council nearest you then establish a relationship with someone who serves on that group. Also, most chambers do export education and may even take members on trade trips.

Wanda also says you should learn a few phrases in the language of the people you are trying to work with. Their whole attitude will shift in your favor because you are putting forth a special effort.

Think about it

Do you think there could be a market for your products or services in another country? Have you explored the possibilities?

Clip from: Automated Food Systems

He invented a machine, then created, then captured his market.

Duncanville, Texas: This is the story of a nightmare that turns into  the American dream.  It's a classic story of a small business owner.  Glenn Walser was fired from his job. Not for goofing off,  he was fired for demanding too much.  He is a man of principle.

Getting fired on principle -- I had an argument with the boss -- has a long tradition in the USA. Many of us just have to work for ourselves. Small business owners often say, "I'm unemployable! "   It is not that it is has to be my way, but if it can be a better --  faster and/or cheaper with higher quality -- then, let's do it!  Many of us started our business to vindicate that belief; we needed to prove to ourselves that we were right. 

So, meet Glenn Walser.  He had an idea for a machine to automate labor-intense processes, but most people just  laughed at him.  

In 1976 Glenn started this business on a dream and a prayer, created a new industry, and then became the world's leader within it.  With one investor who believed he could do it, he went about developing the first automated corndog system. Now, the Walsers have moved out of the passing lane to enjoy a little more of life as it is given while their nephew runs the company day-to-day.

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Automated Foods, Incorporated

Glenn Walser, founder

1000 E. Lofland Drive
Waxahachie, TX 75165

Visit our web site: http://afstexas.com

Office:

Business Classification:
Food processing, Manufacturing

Year Founded: 1976

Sell To The World

WANDA:  All around the world, the US Department of Commerce has, at various large trade fairs, a US pavilion.

And we went in to our stand in the US pavilion, along with several other American companies who wanted to try this venue but who didn't want to spend a lot of money on it. It was quite economical.

HATTIE: Right. So you shared space.

WANDA: We shared space. Very well done. They've done an excellent job with the trade fairs around the world.

HATTIE: The Department of Commerce.

WANDA: The Department of Commerce, the American pavilion and these great trade fairs. So that was our very first foreign trade fair. And it was in Poznan, Poland, which is the largest agricultural fair--or was at that time--in Europe. And so we had, at one point, in our little stand in Poznan, a line from the machine all the way out around the building, people waiting to get a taste of this food.

GLENN: If you create a product that other people just absolutely cannot do without, that's the secret to success. And I've always looked at what we have done, and what we really did is, we did something that no one else could do or had done before and we did it better than anybody else could do it.

And we still are doing that today.

HATTIE: The corn dog machine is a niche, and Wanda and Glenn have stayed in it without veering off course for over 20 years. There may be a future for other food-on-a-stick items, but these two have built a strong business by being nearly the only company in the world building machines, large and small, that automate the corn dog-making process. Total commitment to this one thing is the reason Wanda and Glenn are prosperous today. They say, `Find your niche and stick to it.'

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