Celebrating Women’s History Month: Client Profile
Learn more about events, tools, and resources to help women entrepreneurs and executives accelerate their exporting journey by visiting our Women’s Global Trade Empowerment webpage. For more information about any of the services mentioned below, or to get help exporting your product or service, contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office!
Louise M. Kern
Location: Chicago, Illinois
About GloBIS: GloBIS provides B2B trade-related due diligence investigations of companies and individuals worldwide, and international market intelligence research.
As a women-owned or women-led business, what unique challenges has your company encountered with exporting?
“The year I gave birth to our son I went from having United Global Services invitation only elite frequent flyer status to zero frequent flyer status anywhere, while maintaining my workload and company income. To pivot so dramatically, I rapidly expanded our boots on the ground network overseas and delegated projects to amazing colleagues with local area expertise and industry knowledge, simultaneously chopping the travel reimbursement costs for our clients. This was a win from all angles – I was able to stay at home, engage more talented team members around the world, and our clients were able to save money on our special investigative projects.”
How has the U.S. Commercial Service helped you overcome exporting challenges?
“I am confident the U.S. Commercial Service offices would be a tremendous help to me regardless of my gender; that being said, the Chicago office really looks out for all relevant programs and platforms to help me succeed in my business and has brought several new ITA initiatives to my attention which particularly target Women in Exporting. It is clear they are advocating for me, promoting my development and keeping me apprised of relevant opportunities to maximize my potential. I am blown away by their support and I am so grateful to have them constantly and competently advocating for me and my company.”
What is your favorite thing about being a woman exporter?
“Every time a client returns to vet more partners worldwide through us it’s validation GloBIS is providing them a valuable service in a generally male-oriented industry. Historically, I had never highlighted the fact that GloBIS was a Women Owned / Run Business. It actually wasn’t until last year that I decided to formally have GloBIS certified as one and put the information on our Website, because I saw so many of our larger clients were making an effort to diversify their suppliers and I wanted to make it official that if this was important to them, GloBIS qualified as one.”
What advice would you give other women-owned or led businesses looking to expand their international sales?
“If you have a great product, someone somewhere is going to want to copy it. The ITA has a fabulous resource called https://www.stopfakes.gov/ which should be everyone’s first stop before selling internationally. Even if you never plan on entering a market, spend the money to protect your IP internationally because it’s far less expensive to take preventive than corrective measures. Due diligence is in the same vein – ensuring you have a partner who is not going to copy your product, usurp your brand or stiff you is literally just a few hundred dollars away; digging yourself out of that mess if you didn’t bother to vet your partners is certainly more expensive, if not impossible.”
What would you consider your greatest export success?
“In retrospect, I think GloBIS has probably been equally successful at saving clients money and US Government fines by steering them away from bad actors as we have been at making them more money by letting them know they could offer better credit terms to make a larger sale. But I think it’s really the latter that stands out: EXIM Bank referred a Midwestern company to us with what they thought was a one-time export opportunity – a business in China wanted to buy their products and the client was looking for EXIM insurance on the deal. That Chinese buyer looked so good in our report, EXIM backed the deal, the client made a huge sale, and things took off from there. Over the next several years that company’s exports surged, largely due to the confidence they had through our reports whether buyers were worthy of credit, or should be advance payment only.”