5 Lessons On Business In New York From Shaaz Nasir

Last Wednesday, Global Affairs Canada joined us in hosting a session with Shaaz Nasir at the Venn Centre. Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Consulate in New York, Mr. Nasir delivered real advice for companies looking to expand into the New York market.

If you’re looking to grow your business, NYC is an exciting option. Shaaz shared valuable insights to ensure that companies prepare themselves for success.

1. Be Direct.

The business community in New York is very direct. Companies who understand that time is money will have more success in getting, and keeping, attention. Always begin by showing the other party how you will solve their problem. Relationships can be built later, only after an initial interest in your solution is established. 

2. Leverage Your Network.  

Cold calling can pay off however, it’s no match for a warm intro. Before deciding to expand into the New York market, dig into your network and see who’s done it before you. Also, be sure to look for connections who are located in NYC. Beyond your first degree connections, find second degree connections that could be helpful and ask your network for a warm intro.

Visits to NYC will be much more productive and effective if you can set up meetings in advance.

3. Hire a Marketing & Communications Strategist.

Many start-ups don’t place enough value in the ability to tell their story properly. Shaaz believes that a marketing & communications resource is essential to your team to ensure that your messaging is relevant and strategic. If you’re struggling with budget, consider an intern as a cost-effective option.

4. Reach out to the Trade Commissioner.

There are many grants & programs available through the Trade Commissioner - reach out!  Just one example is the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA), which offers 4 months’ free office space & custom programming to help you localize. The CTA features 6 mentors, 3 trade commissioners, live demo events and more.

5. Be Humble.

When meeting companies that have achieved success in Toronto, Vancouver or other Canadian markets, Shaaz asks why they want to do business in New York. Success in your home market does not guarantee success in larger scale markets like New York. It’s important that your expectations align with the possibilities available to your company. He advised that companies remain humble in order to grow. Be open to feedback, be coachable and practice your pitch.

If you’re looking to do business in NYC, be sure to reach out to the Trade Commissioner’s Service (after you’ve taken their advice above, of course). You can find out more  at http://ctaconnects.com/cta-digital-nyc/ or https://twitter.com/CTA_NYC.

Or, you can drop a direct line to Shaaz Nasir at Shaaz.nasir@international.gc.ca .