International expansion of H2O International, Inc. has always been part of the business plan for President Guillermo Guzman. Guzman is a Civil Engineer who, prior to starting H2O in 1993, worked as a structural engineer for 10 years, where he was involved in several bridges and major interchange projects in South Florida.
H2O manufactures point of use and point of entry water filtration products for domestic use. In addition, Guzman developed a patented line of shower filters using KDF media for chlorine removal. Despite having some level of success with exporting to markets in South Africa and the United Kingdom, Guzman knew there would be a high demand for water filters and water purification equipment globally. Guzman believed there was unrealized potential, so he decided to refocus the company's efforts and make exporting a top priority for growing the company.
Guzman was very pleased to find out that the FSBDC Fort Lauderdale, through a grant-funded service with Enterprise Florida, could work with his company to develop an aggressive international growth strategy through the development of an Export Marketing Plan. After meeting with Parbatee Chang, FSBDC International Trade Specialist, planning commenced and, soon after, the Export Marketing Plan was delivered to Guzman. The plan provided the full gamut of necessary information for successful international market entry: a thorough export readiness assessment, an industry analysis, a market analysis with target market recommendations for the company's products, a review of overseas trade opportunities, and an action plan.
"It was a little more than a year ago that the FSBDC came to us, got to know our business, and provided an in-depth marketing plan," said Guzman. "Since that time, here at H2O, we have used a lot of that information to grow our sales."
As a result of the Export Marketing Plan, the H2O has been successful in penetrating markets in Chile, Colombia, and Peru. Export sales have increased by 22% equating to nearly half a million dollars.
"We plan to continue our efforts to work closely with the FSBDC, Enterprise Florida, and the U.S. Department of Commerce for additional growth in 2015," said Guzman.