RG 087 – Creating a Truly International Business Ecosystem: Go Beyond the Borders with Stephen Petith

About Stephen

  • Stephen used to be in the Australian Navy
  • Stephen is an internationalisation architect
  • His worst mistake was getting into $1million of debt aged 22

Nuts and Bolts

Stephen is an internationalisation architect which means he creates international lives and businesses for his clients and runs business’ around the world. He has also been a campaign manager for elections in the past and was elected as a senior officer and so he has a good inside knowledge of politics. When Stephen was 15 he joined the Australian Navy and after 2 years he left and worked in the family business. The business was making construction materials, so he traveled to Asia to talk to factories about manufacturing the materials in bulk and breaking into the Asian market. The family business broke into many markets around the world and was then sold before the financial crash. After this he went into property and made further connections around the world.

An internationalisation architect is someone that looks at business on a global scale, Stephen has created a set of blue prints and tactics that can be used by any business owner to go global. Globalisation is here to stay so Stephen encourages people to get involved as business is only going to move further in this direction. His advice is to look for complimentary ideas and not to be direct competition to the large multinational companies. Stephen is focused on the goods and services market where the biggest growth in the future will be in the developing world in places not yet considered. Stephen’s big advice for taking a company global is that it can’t be done behind a desk, you need to get out and travel and visit the countries with whom you want to work. His current clients are bringing products into the market that aren’t necessarily exciting but are very good sellers, for example door hinges and poly piping.

Stephen explains how to start by using the example of a plumber looking to sell poly piping. This plumber would start by looking at the US import customs documents (which are free to view) and finding the contact details of the factory or supplying agent. The plumber should then jump on a plane and visit the factory, this isn’t something that can be done over the phone as you need to develop a proper relationship. When this step is missed you can end up getting treated badly or miss-sold by suppliers as they don’t care about you. In this case the example plumber probably has a network of plumbers he can sell to and then expand from here.

This supply chain can also be used in real estate investment when rehabbing a property. You can organise suppliers for refitting apartments and have an agreement with a factory for various “package deals” which cover all the fittings eg sink, cupboard, worktops. These can be bought in bulk and fitted throughout the year. They can be warehoused in China which is cheaper and shipped when the apartments are actually ready which means that you don’t have to pay all the customs fees up front and can pay when you actually have the money.

Top tips

  • Most important habit – Always be reading something
  • Most influential person – His father
  • Most important tool – His notepad
  • Most important failure – Getting into $1 million debt ages 22 because he didn’t have the relationships to shift the stock
  • Contact – stephenpetith.com

Listen to Podcast