Based in Longueuil, Quebec, D-BOX Technologies Inc.’s motion system technology makes seats shake and shimmy to enhance automobile-and pilot training systems, and add thrills to moviegoers’ cinematic experiences.
D-Box CEO Claude Mc Master talks about D-BOX’s export strategy and the realities of doing business in different countries.
When and why did you first start thinking about exporting as part of your business?
Our first sale was in the U.S. in 2009, followed shortly afterwards by Japan. We didn’t make our first theatrical sale in Canada until 2010. You need to be where the market is, so that was our strategy.
What was your export journey like to get to where you are today?
It you respect people and have an open mind, it’s not difficult. You need to adapt to other ways of doing business. At the end of the day, a human being is a human being everywhere in the world. We just work a bit differently from country to country.
What is the biggest difference between selling in Canada and selling in another country?
When you negotiate contract, it’s not interpreted the same way, depending on which country you’re doing business in. An important clause in one country may be less important in another one. Also, in some countries, contracts can take a long longer to finalize, while in others it can happen very fast. You have to be prepared for any scenario. In some countries, developing a relationship is more important than the contract itself.
EDC resources to help you export
Can you share the best lesson learned from a bad exporting experience?
You can’t really rely on someone until you’ve done business with them for a while. I won’t say where exactly this happened, but a few years back we shipped our product to a country in Asia and it disappeared. You need to do your due diligence and put all of the processes in place, because you never know what will happen. It was an expensive lesson for us, but we learned from it. We are doing business in that country again, the right way. Now we have our own people working with people over there, making sure it won’t happen again.
When it comes to exports, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Exporting can be very complicated. Managing different currencies is a challenge. There are also different regulations to be aware of, as well as duties and other requirements. It’s also expensive, everything from travelling back and forth to different countries hiring the right talent. You won’t generate revenue tomorrow morning.
What is the one characteristic that you believe every exporter should possess?
An open mind and perseverance. If you don’t have those, don’t go in the export direction. You always need to push. You can’t accept no as a no. You need to find a way to convince people that what you have is what they need. It’s about finding the right market and never giving up.