Learn how to develop and launch the right products for the right customer—with the right methods!
The four days of the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show will be packed with events and activities, as well as educational sessions. To help you plan your time at the Show, we’ll give you a preview of the presentations that will take place in the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center. Today we are speaking with David Spann of the U.S. Export Assistance Center about finding the right international business partners for your operations.
Due Diligence: Strategies for Protecting Intellectual Property and Avoiding Fraud
Date: Sunday, March 16 3:30 – 4:20 pm
Location: Innovation Theater, Lakeside Center, E350
Since 1985, David Spann has worked for the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, assisting small and medium-sized companies in their efforts to develop exporting as a significant portion of their business. Starting his career in Little Rock, Ark., for the U.S. Commercial Service, he has subsequently managed and directed operations in New Orleans, Seattle and, now, Memphis.
Spann is a licensed attorney and has taught courses in international trade for Webster University and Crichton College. He has written articles on the benefits and practical limits of international business contracts and topics such as factors to be considered when negotiating a representative relationship with a foreign partner, assessing a company’s readiness to export, the role of “due diligence” in international trade, issues in trading with China and the distinction between “Made in the USA” and U.S. origin.
David, what inspires your passion in your work?
There are so many things that make me passionate about my work. I get to help real people address real challenges and overcome those challenges. I work primarily with small and medium- sized companies to help them export their products to foreign markets. Many of these companies simply don’t know how to begin. I have helped numerous companies avoid disastrous decisions in their export development efforts. International trade is an ever-evolving area of business, which makes it an intriguing field because there is always something new happening and always something new to learn. It is constantly simulating. I have been doing this for 28 years and I still get up every day looking forward to work.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
I have participated in the Show for the past two years with the U. S. & Foreign Commercial Service, a branch of the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. We have over 100 offices in the U.S. and in 85 countries. We assist U.S. companies in their efforts to increase their export sales. We provide export counseling, advice and programs that support the export effort. My experiences at the Show demonstrated to me that many participants enter into international trade arrangements somewhat naively. Many are inexperienced in this area of business and do not fully appreciate the need for due diligence or even the options available to them for effective due diligence.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
I will be speaking about conducting due diligence and how to effectively incorporate it into business processes to avoid fraud and qualify business partners.
This is your first time presenting at our Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
I enjoy public speaking and I believe the topic I will be addressing will be very engaging to the audience. I hope to make them aware of their options with regards to due diligence and resources available (many of them free).
What kind of impact can the speakers of the Innovation Theater make at the Show?
I believe we can educate attendees on key aspects of business allowing them to work smarter and more profitably and helping them to avoid many pitfalls.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
That the product is safe and reliable and that it truly made by the original manufacturer and is not a knock-off.
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals face in the housewares market?
I believe there is no more pressing issue than the preservation of intellectual property. Too often companies invest limited resources into the next generation product only to see their valuable work illegally copied and produced.
What advice could you give someone trying to get into your area of expertise?
When I was nine years old I learned about stamp collecting. Stamp collecting introduced me to the world beyond my small southern town and helped me develop a broad world view. In the 50 years since I have had an ever- growing interest in peoples, customs, habits and culture. I have discovered that business involves more than just business. Business is about relationships and investing not in just the work to be done but also the people that you work with. So while my legal and business training and experience have been very useful in my work, coming to understand and appreciate people has been critical to my success.
Thank you, David, for telling us about your work. I’m sure your presentation will offer valuable insights to our Show audiences.
Contact David for more information about how you can grow your international business.
Director, Memphis U.S. Export Assistance Center
22 N. Front St., Suite 200
Memphis, TN 38103
Be sure to make time in your Show schedule for FREE executive-level seminars that will help build your business—at the Innovation Theater, located in Room E350, near the entry to the Level 3 Lobby—the gateway to the Lakeside exhibit hall. You are sure to find valuable information here at the 20 educational programs, every hour beginning Saturday morning and ending Tuesday morning. Check www.housewares.org regularly for updates on the schedule of Show events.