Photo

Hello, I am

Clive
Drake

US Export Consultant to British Companies

About

A little about me

Hi. My name is Clive Drake.

This information website is designed to give existing and potential UK exporters to the US, details of my profile and experience in this challenging market. I offer a consultancy service to companies new to the market or looking to refresh and redefine existing export strategies. I am completely flexible and can be engaged for a specific one off project, or alternatively short, medium even long term consultancy with specific objectives.

I make no secret of the fact I enjoy travelling to the US and doing business – over the pond! I like Americans, the country as a whole, and enjoy the variety of cultures within the business environment.

SKILLS

What I love to do

My primary skills centre around two principles; Value and Relationships.

My main focus is to build value in everything I do, as a business owner or consultant. I have a simple philosophy; build value and profits routinely follow. Relationships, in my view, are key areas of business management. Firstly, relationship with customers. Secondly with staff and colleagues. Thirdly with suppliers – an area often neglected. My secondary skills is to engage all three within a business consultancy, management and commercial strategy.

Forging Key Business Relationships

100%

Commercial Strategy

100%

Leadership

100%

Project Planning & Execution

100%

Strategic Team Building

100%

Solid Communication Skills

100%

Expertise

What I can bring to table

Business Relationships

When I built my telecoms business, the route into the US market was commercial partnerships. Essentially to piggy back on their brand. I targeted strong brands in telecoms and travel. At that time there was not a universal cell phone product available for Americans travelling outside the USA. I proposed a "turnkey" solutions to my partners in the US. To establish confidence with companies that eventually became convinced to engage with my company – required time, patience and establishing relationship with key decision makers.

Project Planning

I would anticipate with any client, a project plan being a critical part of the business strategy. I look to keep this as simple as possible. If your firm is completely new to the market, this would likely be a three year project plan. If you have a foothold then this will be shorter. The project plan will cover time, resources and cost; travel time, number of trips, geographical areas, sampling, trade fairs (if appropriate), IT and so on. The project plan budget must anticipate 2-3 years of minimal return on the investment needed. I will not undertake a project or product that I do not feel 100% confidence in.

Leadership

I can provide the leadership required – delivering to your firm a turnkey solution with alternative options to the strategy, as well as budgets, timelines and projections. It's also about communication and language. A general misconception is as we all speak English – we will be fine. Not so. I will be able to provide the right guidance in communicating a product(s) using the right expressions and terminology.

Team Building

The objective is of course to build and establish a strong foothold into the market. As the business grows so will the commitment required to underpin future growth. I still have several contacts in the US that may be able to help, perhaps establishing a US office, a distribution centre either in-house or a third party vendor. The first step will be to appoint a dedicated individual (s) in the UK with a strong business background in marketing.

Commercial Strategy

The strategy would depend on the product – and the complexity. It is not impossible to open a company in the US, establish a retail premises or warehouse with a web based strategy. The issue is both cost and reaching the consumer. I would recommend, first time around at least, a commercial partner with a retailer(s) or specialised distributor to a specific industry.

Communication Skills

I speak American to Americans. I use expressions, verbiage, they are familiar with and approach the market in the same way an exporter would in Hong Kong, Singapore, Argentina or any country where there is cultural and communication difference. For example "multi frequency – broad band sound" means nothing in the US. They say "White Noise" or "White Sound." Simple and to the point.

Experience

What I've done
July 7th, 2005

Sold the business to Vodafone UK

Director, Sole Shareholder

I sold the business to Vodafone at the right time. Technology now allows for USA travellers to Europe. Before it did not and with 23,000 phones on Vodafone airtime what we did in the USA was a perfect fit for their relationship with Verizon Wireless (VF was a major shareholder). We had a state of the art IT system integrated with US toll free numbers, a 24/7 call centre and an excellent reputation with first class managers and employees. Six months afterwards they told me my company was the least problem free to buy at that time. As the expression goes; "we did what it says on the tin". Vodafone for me was a great company to work with.

2004

Solidified major relationships

Solidified major relationships with the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, US Airforce and Army.

2002 / 2003

Invested over £1,000,000 into major IT upgrades

Recruited in-house IT team, developed custom billing platforms and CRMs, bought servers/IT services in-house.

December 2000

24/7 Call Centre

Established a 24/7, 365 days a year call centre to support international clients – a unique feature and one of just three ISPs in the UK providing this service.

October 2000

Integrated US cellular phones with int'l GSM capabilities

A unique facility for a seamless roaming product, the first of its kind in the USA, began in October 2000. This allowed a Verizon Wireless customer to interface his/her US registered mobile with our UK registered GSM cellphone. This grew from a handful of US toll free numbers to over 15,000 by 2005. A US customer, travelling anywhere in the world, was contactable via there own US registered cellphone number - a seamless service.

September 2000

Incorporated Japanese mobile phones

Expanded product range to include PDC phone rental to inbound Japanese travellers.

June 2000

Introduced US$ billing into IT systems

In the beginning we invoiced all our US customers in sterling. It soon became apparent this was not viable in the long term. We changed our billing into to US $ at the same time changing our billing increment structure to be consistent with US style for telecom billing. We sourced US credit card companies, such as American Express, to charge our US customers in US$ to allow a seamless communication process from responding to our marcoms to receiving the final bill.

Dec 1999

ISP to Vodafone and O2

Appointed Independent Service Provider (ISP) to both Vodafone Plc and 02

July 1999

Changed name to WorldRoam Ltd

Rebranded the company to appeal to broader global markets.

March 1995

Incorporated Rent-a-Phone Ltd

Targeted car hire companies at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester to provide mobile phone rental. Closed long term contracts with: Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar and British Hotel Reservations

Testimonials

What clients, colleagues and business partners say about me
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Awards

Business achievements
Award

2002

Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100

In 2002 WorldRoam finished in the top 100 fastest growing companies as seen here

Award

2004

Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100

In 2004 WorldRoam finished in the top 100 fastest growing companies as seen here

Partnerships

Companies I have built international strategic business relationships with