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How to grow your revenue through expanding into new overseas market with Levent Yildizgoren – Episode 46


3 top tips from Levent Yildizgoren:

1. Develop a mindset that global trade is beneficial.

2. Think Global

3. Read my book – “Good business in any language” –

Visit Levent’s website:


Business, market, customers, product, book, UK, speaking, country, company, translation, language, called handshake, meeting, helping, understand, find, proud, working, wooden hangers

Debra Chantry-Taylor  0:12 

Welcome to another episode of Better Business Better Life. I’m your host, Debra Chantry-Taylor. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and their leadership teams get what they want out of business and life. On the show, I invite successful business owners and expert speakers to share their successes. They are open and honest about the highs and lows of business and also life as a business owner. We want to share those learnings with you to inspire you, but also to help you avoid some of the common mistakes. My hope is that you take something from each of these short episodes that you can put into action to help you get what you want, not only out of your business, but also your life. So good morning, and welcome to another episode of Better Business better life. This morning I am joined by Levent Yildizgoren, who is currently based over in Sussex in the UK but it was originally from Turkey and Levent has got a co founder of business called TTC We translate. But he’s also written a book called was it, great business in good business in any language? Is that right? Yes, that’s right. Welcome to the show. Love it. lovely to have you here.

Levent Yildizgoren  1:17 

Hello, great to be on your show.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  1:20 

Thank you very much. Hey, look, we’d love to hear a little bit about your story before we get to that, because don’t talk about international business and what businesses can do to expand it to different markets. But I’d love to hear a little about you first and your story how you got to where you are, would be a great start.

Levent Yildizgoren  1:34 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right, for this. Well, I came to the UK to study and I was 18 years old. So I lived longer in the UK that I lived in Turkey. And what, what interested me to get into the translation and localization business was the excitement that every time we crossed, be overcome some cultural and language barriers, there was a great satisfaction and helping business executives to do the same is realized that this is like a very satisfying thing to do. And be a co founder of our company TTC translated my wife. And it was it wasn’t the kind of a logical decision, it was more like emotional, and we very much want to control our future, my wife after our first child was born, didn’t want to go back to full time employment. So we set up this boutique transition company, mainly being English to Turkish translations. And around about 1995, we had an opportunity to acquire smaller business and also be had a kind of large project and realize that actually, this is the time to, for me to join the company. And so within two weeks, I resigned from my job that I was a director of a printing company. And within two weeks, we were, we found ourselves in our living room, trying to finish that project, while our children with a child minder sitting at the other side of the room with you know, we had like fresh doors in between. And I distinctly remember that my daughter coming to this sort of door and saying, Mommy, mommy, I want to sit on your lap, you know, and every time phone rang, we had to say to the children be quiet, you know, turn down the TV, we need to speak to the customers. And you know, so they must have gone some sort of traumatic experience as children, I’m pleased to say they are now you know, happy to have grown adults, you know, married and so they’re, they’re happy, but at the time, it must have been quite difficult. And for us as well, because now it the pandemic, pandemic, everyone is working remotely. And people are proud to say about my dog may come around, or my cat may jump on this screen. So please bear with us or my children may run around. At this time, it was like not that acceptable. And so we were feeling the pressure. And so yeah, it’s been kind of a long journey. But you know, we never look back. So that was the best the best part about it. So this is this is why I’m today as a result of those activities and love the fact that we can actually have a business executive overcome cultural and language barriers.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  4:48 

That’s all so I can see it’s your passion. So, in terms of we always ask our guests for professional and a personal best. So, what are the two things that you’re most proud of both from a personal sense of professional sense?

Levent Yildizgoren  5:00 

Well, professional stance, I’m really proud of our company. It’s been going for this is our 30th year, and it’s been going and is growing is helping. We have charities and we support United Nations global growth. And, you know, we try to give back to the language industry help build an ecosystem. And the second one is really, that be created a competition transition competition, having noticed the gap between university transition students and the commercial reality, we created that competition transition competition nine years ago, with University of Essex, where we take one of our customers, real project real life project to the university customer explains to students what they want to achieve what they need translations for, and be facilitated translation. So, everyone wins. Because these students get to real experience of a real project, our customers get exposure being associated with a large education establishment. And also, they get translations that they can use, of course, it’s been checked and checked again, to make sure that this is fit for purpose. This has been going for nine years, next year, it will be returned to you. And I’m really proud of that, because as a result of that competition, students are getting interested in working in the translation industry. And some of them are really finding good jobs, likes of Apple, Facebook, Google, and it is really making me proud. And it is one of the longest serving initiatives at University of Essex. So that’s, that’s really great.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  6:50 

That’s great. So the 10 first coming up, that’s pretty exciting.

Levent Yildizgoren  6:54 

It is very, very exciting. Because when we started, he thought, Okay, let’s give this a try and see what happens. And then the second year is the same third, and now, you know, we being the ninth year, so, so it’s feeling and there are two universities want to join the competition. So, it’s kind of the leaves are spreading. And I wish more transition companies do the same because for us, it’s fun. Okay, it requires resources time. But it is so rewarding. Seeing that there are students, they’re getting inspired by that competition to join our industry. So there’s really

Debra Chantry-Taylor  7:35 

Fantastic, well done.

Levent Yildizgoren  7:36 

I think on the personal level, I think it’s, my biggest what I feel most proud about my children. They’re grown up adults with their, you know, their families, and seeing them happy and hopping around and everything that’s makes me really, really proud.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  7:57 

Thanks. And you were saying when we were talking earlier that the kids used to get involved in the translation business and do the photocopying and help out with the admin and stuff. Have either of them decided to go into their own business?

Levent Yildizgoren  8:09 

Well, my son is been running multiple businesses. And now he’s working with his wife being Google paid search, and doing really well. Yeah, I think also my daughter’s working, is in sales in sales and development in a law firm, global law firm. And they are telling me that the experience they had, you know, getting immersed into the, into the business in a way that nothing, nobody was forcing them, they just wanted to do it themselves. And then what they did at the time, from the age of like, 1213, they really doubt they realize that they are benefiting so much from that because they’ve they’re saying that they can adapt to changing circumstances very quickly. And nothing’s too I saw before that so they are grateful that they have taken part, which makes me really proud.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  9:07 

That’s fantastic. Pleased to hear it. Okay, so we’re going to talk a little bit now about your international business and I and I guess you know, it’s your it’s your area of expertise, but your book that’s, you know, good business in any, any language. Tell me a little about what it is you actually do with companies. So you’ve talked about working with companies and helping them Yeah, helping them find where they could what market segment into but what does that look like?

Levent Yildizgoren  9:31 

Well, thank you, thank you for asking that. This great question. Now as a business owner myself. You know, it is so easy to get immersed into profit and loss account and try to cut the cost and control the costs. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t be sure because, you know, it’s we’re working hard for our cash, but to grow the company. Controlling the cost isn’t enough. In fact, It takes, it takes the mindset to err to a wrong place, I believe, and looking at global brands and successful companies, to ones that really grow healthily and steadily, and they sustain it by taking their products or services to international markets, because that gives them they have they’ve taken, they must have spent us to develop this service or product is fine tuned, they have a, you know, product and service, and they just take it to a new market. Is it straightforward? Is it easy? No, it’s not, but the rewards are so high. And we’ve seen this example, in large companies 2009, Apple said, they’re taking iPhone to China. Now, everyone knew, iPhone, by then it was a successful product, it was working really well had a loyal customer base. And the moment they said that their share price goes up even more, because stock market knew that by taking you know having a different end of the channel, they will grow considering China is such a huge market, you know, that was no-brainer. But same applies to small to medium sized companies, you know, by going to new market, they just have, they just, you know, domestic market may come to a saturation point, the competition may get higher, you know, so, by just going to, another reach into another market, who hasn’t tested that product or service they have gets so much more opportunities. I’ve seen this many, many times over working with dozens of customers over the years. And okay, that transformation, we realize that we can help that transformation, mainly by helping them overcome cultural and language barriers. But then seeing the mistakes that keep coming, coming by me by some companies, or many companies do similar mistakes over and over again. Then I realized that actually, the ones who are successful are following a strict methodology. And I said, what can we do? From our experience? What can we do? How can we guide them, you know, with methodology? So as a result, I developed a methodology called lingo is that it is a five simple step methodology to go global. It can be applicable to any business, whether product base or service base. And it’s not rocket science, it is just following those steps to achieve that result, so this part we do for our customers, we help them to get, reach those target customers, adapting the messages, adapting their user guides so far, or interfaces to make sure that the target audience actually makes sense of what they’re hearing from those companies.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  13:30 

Yeah. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because as you said, it’s certainly not an easy process, but it has huge rewards for the company. What I mean, I’m sure some of my listeners have probably tried it before or thinking about going into a new market, what were the biggest sort of common mistakes or pitfalls so the business would make when trying to enter into a new market?

Levent Yildizgoren  13:49 

Great, great question. Thank you for asking this. The one that I come across most is that assuming what worked in the domestic market will work anywhere? I think that is the biggest mistake that requires, you know, reaching to a different target audience in any country requires is it different mindset. The cultural and language barriers are a lot higher than be given credit for. I think there’s a big misconception that everyone speaks English. That’s partly true. You know, this, this, this, a lot of people speak English understand English, but they don’t make purchasing decisions on their second language. It is, it is it is their native language that they immerse the information, get a more emotional connection with the product or service, then it leads them to make that that purchasing decision.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  14:53 

It’s funny, because my mom was actually German, and so and she’d lived in the UK since she was 19 years old. So, she was very much British, however, whenever she counted, she counted in German. She’d rent in German. So, despite English being in her natural kind of first language after many, many years, it’s still always reverted back to Germany for dreaming and counting.

Levent Yildizgoren  15:15 

Yes, I’m calling call to culture and languages is like, what makes us in a way, isn’t it? Yes, you know, so it’s very natural. What you described is very, very interesting. But it’s, I find it very natural.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  15:29 

Yeah. Okay. So they just, they revert back to their sort of, we revert back to a sort of natural language to start engaging with the product to do our research and whatnot. And so what does that if you haven’t done your homework, what can go wrong?

Levent Yildizgoren  15:46 

A lot, it looks cool. Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong. If a business executive doesn’t do that, you know, the rights research, or doesn’t go deeper into the market to understand certain barriers. And so I’ve got fun example, and very great company producing industrial solvent, good product, they sell very well. And a distributor persuades them to take the product into Polish market. And so the minimum that they can take is 5000 units. So the packaging, the labeling, and everything has to be done in that many units and the transport logistics. And when I spoke to them, they said Bob will never do international trade again, because that was a disaster, you know. And once we continued speaking, then I realized it, they acted on what they heard. So they didn’t do any due diligence. And as a result, they say never again. So this is a great shame, because they’re kind of creating a barrier themselves, not to the anymore international trade, whereas they have a great product. Maybe Poland wasn’t the right the market for that. But it’s, it is possible that the next door to Poland, maybe a market or, or Germany, which is a big country, in industrially, you know, developed and everything, maybe Germany is a, is a great could be a great market, it’s just a matter of doing this initial research, to make sure that there is a demand for the product. And often, this research can be done by our competitors, using Google research, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, those are free tools that help us to gauge that, that volume of searches. And it gives an idea because they’re already selling that product in their home country. So they can see actually, they can compare the searches and and gauge, Is it viable today to take that product or service to that country? So

Debra Chantry-Taylor  17:59 

Yeah, it’s also it’s about thinking about how No, English is a language, which you say is widely used, but it can mean so many different things in different ways, or use different words. So I work with an American based company who’s based all around the world. But you know, you talk to somebody from Europe, or somebody from the UK, or somebody from us, or from Australia or New Zealand. And we actually use different words for the same. I mean, I’m wearing a pair of flip flops at the moment on my feet, because I’m sitting in my in my own studio, but over here, they’re called jandals. And in the Australia, they’re called thongs, and I’m not quite sure what they called so and so it’s really interesting that even something of the same language can actually have quite different meanings. Yeah,

Levent Yildizgoren  18:44 

Absolutely. Like, like confectionery in the USA is known as candy. Yes, but candy would make any sense here, you know. And so, I mean, you’re originally from UK, so you will know this. It took me years to understand it, that my English friends said, I quite like this. That’s really cool. Actually. They didn’t like they’re just being polite. So you know, but there is an American say, I quite like it. They like it, they like it very much. So you know? Yes. Even with the same language could be, you know, the meanings could be, could be very different.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  19:24 

Yeah. So you’re speaking my language, because market validation is something that I actually trained in. And I that’s No, it’s really important. I’d never considered it for you know, overseas markets, because I only work generally in the local area, but how does it sort of define how you can do some things online? And I think I heard you say that the customer had listened to what they’d been told. But it’s they’ve only spoken to one person is that right? Well, they’ve spoken to a couple of people and built up a whole business plan based on speaking to a couple of people rather than really delving deeper. Is that what you’re saying?

Levent Yildizgoren  19:57 

Very much Is it, is it Luckily, doing this market research in a way that to gauge the customer demand so that they can actually when they’ve taken that step, there’s no surprises. And one of my customers they said, handles it all across Europe. And what they notice that it is, the customers head itself differ when it comes to using hangers, some use wooden hangers some

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:33 

Wardrobe. Okay, yep. aircraft hangars I’m thinking of.

Levent Yildizgoren  20:39 

I should have made it clear.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  20:42 

The hangers Yeah, so some use plastic, some use wood some years, whatever. Yep.

Levent Yildizgoren  20:44 

Yeah. And there’s so many different types of hangers, you know, there’s hangers for skirts, and trousers and jackets and T shirts. And just making sure that which one is in demand in that country? Yeah, if they say that, okay, the wooden hangers in the UK selling very well. So yeah, come on, we’ll just ship so many 1000s to this market. Whereas, you know, just understanding the habits of this target audience, which type of hangers they prefer. And once they start asking those questions, I think they get the right results. Because it’s like, understanding not, it’s not what I like, is what my customer may like, and I need to find out what that is. And also in even in Europe, there are differences in regards to holidays, you know, if the product, product requires Logistics is important, and requires to get the customers on certain times, then, for instance, Easter is coming. But Easter holidays are different. In the UK, and other European countries, even. Even in Germany, there are different regional holidays. So these are small details, but can have a big impact on logistics. And so is there so is it fine, I think the curiosity that needs to be a curiosity, that needs to be a sort of really methodology to follow. Okay, what are the habits in this country? What is the languages? What are the cultural habits? Is it Facebook country, Google AdWords? Will it work or we need something else? You know, what’s the chats they use? How do they make payment? In China they use, you know, they don’t even use credit cards anymore. They use mobile payer, you know, Ali pay, I think something called even street traders, they accept the payment. So understanding all this changes, helps them succeed. You know, it’s, so it’s really not rocket science. It’s just requires a mindset to be curious and find out exactly what is. So I say very much like, a good project management skills can help a lot.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  23:20 

Yeah. And I think in your flyer that I saw about, you know, talking about what you talk about, you said that there’s things like you know, even just things like silence can mean different things culturally in different countries and a handshake. You know, we was always taught to a very firm handshake, but it’s certainly the case. Could you share a little bit of a couple of examples of those kinds of nuances for me, because I think that’s fascinating.

Levent Yildizgoren  23:46 

I love I love that question. Yes. Well, I mean, like, interruptions, you know, interruptions, frequent interruptions can come across liberal unfriendly in, in the UK, in the States, I’m sure same in New Zealand, you know, if I keep interrupting you, you may think that maybe he’s not interested in speaking, but in other culture, clicking interruptions, shows engagement. And nobody gets mind about it, you know, and silence is one that I love because, like, silence, I mean, even five seconds of be anything between five and 10. In in a formal meeting can feel like a lifetime. I heard this from, from somebody who experienced it. And he was in Middle East. You know, somebody walked in the meeting before the meeting took place. There was a silence of like, maybe 10 seconds. I mean, he felt like two minutes. And he said, What have I done? Have I done something wrong? They know don’t pay the one to speak with me anymore, you know, so he was saving all this while towards And then all they were doing that they live, they were settling through, they were setting the scene. And then after that, then he realized that it was just the customer thing. And in forest, when somebody stops speaking, before other person speaks, they wait to show that actually, I heard what you said, and I am processing what you said, then they start replying or speaking. So it’s very much like us in different ways by different cultures. I mean, you might say, look, how we learn business, business executives know all these things, you know, well, it is not that difficult once, once we have an open mind, I think the biggest thing that makes the difference is recognizing that there are different cultures and be with only need to look for signs, signs of what is taking place around us. forgetting our home environment, and something like hierarchy is very important in certain cultures for certain countries. So, understanding who is the leader of the group, if they’re like, multiple people entering the room, is one of designing in hierarchical countries is that the person that enters the room first, is more likely to be the head of the delegation. And, and, and the same way when, when the meeting ends, they are more than likely to leave the room first. You know, somebody Junior, they wouldn’t leave the room before that head of the meeting, head of the group will leave the room. And, and also, in that respect, when person addresses the person, the other person who is Junior could come across there are friendly. So business executives in this environment, all they have to do just watch for the signs. Having an open mind that say, who is the head of this delegation, who’s this head of the room, you know, finding this out, can save them a lot of a lot of hassle. One simple mistake that I’m sure we all must do that, you know, in a meeting the whole day, take off your jacket, roll up your sleeves, come on, let’s do business. That’s perfect. They sound perfectly normal, you know, kind of American environment or in the UK, but in forest that can come across very hostile as well. Taking a jacket rolling up your sleeves, ready for fight? Ready for fight? Yeah. So just I think it’s just a matter of recognizing that there could be different interpretations and just look for the signs to understand what’s going on. And there’s

Debra Chantry-Taylor  28:09 

Absolutely no just thinking in New Zealand. There’s no hierarchy about who comes into the meeting room first, everyone just bowls in when they’re ready. And it is it is actually fascinating. Um, tell me a little bit very quickly about handshakes because I saw that in your in your brochure. So what’s the thing about handshakes?

Levent Yildizgoren  28:26 

Well, I mean, normally a firm handshake is a sign of sincerity at this meeting, so in the Western Hemisphere, but in Paris, handshake is not part of the culture, its the bowing you know. So, because it’s not part of the culture. A firm handshake can come across wrong. So if the handshake is soft, the important thing is not interpreted as insincerity. It is because it is you know, handshakes are not part of the culture and, you know, for a business executive soft handshake doesn’t mean they shouldn’t, they shouldn’t try to interpret that. Okay, you are this disguising not into Oh, this formula is not interested. You know, it is I think it’s just matter of keeping an open mind. And, and some another thing, there are interesting is that, taking calls in a meeting, which is normally, you know, if I was to take a call while I’m speaking with the Okay, they said, different environments.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  29:35 

But even a meeting Yeah,

Levent Yildizgoren  29:36 

Even in a meeting can come across really sort of strange. But in some countries, there’s nothing wrong that they just deal to like, they believe in doing multiple multitasking. And if that’s the case, I shouldn’t take it. I shouldn’t take any offense in that, because it’s not. I think processing is just one Once they do so, at or sometimes in a meeting environment, they are likely to speak to multiple people at same time. Okay, it’s not ideal because it’s I don’t, I wouldn’t want to say anything confidential in a in this sort of environment. But then waiting for the right moment could solve the problem. It is just matter of understanding what’s going on and not taking any offense unnecessarily. And then just looking for the signs of trying to understand what are the norms in that environment?

Debra Chantry-Taylor  30:37 

Perfect. I’m sure there’s a way to shortcut it as well, those by working with someone like you who actually understands it. Hey, tell me a little bit about your book. So what is your book designed to do? A good business in any language? What? Tell me a little bit about

Levent Yildizgoren  30:50 

it? Thank you. Thank you, for us, either. I appreciate that. Well, what I say is that a business should never rely on a single customer, that will be crazy, you know? So, so yeah, we always look for multiple customers as many as possible. So why do you live on a single market? You know, so when it comes to trading, trading internationally in multiple markets, makes pure sense as far as, as far as I can see. And as far as I can see from the success of the global brands, so the books about very much about this five steps methodology that I commingle explaining how they can implement, how a business executive can implement, to take their business to mark new export markets. And I give a few case studies, success stories, and certain statistics, just to help business executives to say, right, okay, this can work, this can work for my, for my business, I can do this, I can do this, and I can get the rewards.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  31:59 

Perfect. So we’ll come back to where they can get hold of that in a moment. Just before we finish up, because time has passed. So quickly, do you have three top tips or tools that the listeners could, you know, take on board and perhaps go and action something?

Levent Yildizgoren  32:12 

Well, the three that comes to mind is that I think the most important thing for business executive is developing a mindset that, that global trade is beneficial. So nurturing that mindset is so important, this is my first tip, and the second one is thinking global. Everything around us is a global angle, the product we use, we visually use a smartphone of known brands is likely to be marketed in one country, producing another the components of this will come from this country, you know, it is a combination of international effort. So everything we have, has got international flavor. So think global, develop your mindset and thought, if I may say, read my book,

Debra Chantry-Taylor  33:16 

Of course, now without a doubt, I’m going to tell us where they are, you can see this case that is

Levent Yildizgoren  33:25 

Obviously just my book is just reading a book. I will, I learned a lot from Traction, you know, general weakness, Traction, I learned so much from that. And, and I always recommend to others, you know, it’s an operating system for entrepreneurs. So trying to find out, you know, what global trade does, how it works. It’s not just my book, there are other books as well. So having this curiosity that leads them to the books that they will, it will, they will find it very helpful. Now, I’d love to offer my book to your listeners, right? Free of charge. Yep, they need to visit And they can the three options, they can either get an ebook version  of the book, they can buy it from Amazon if they wanted it, or they can get the paperback version. And we send it free of charge to UK based visitors. So So there are three options and it’s totally free. And I’ll be and also I’ll be very happy to answer anyone who has a question about international trade cultures and languages.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  34:39 

So how so how did they get in contact with you again, just remind us of the best way to get contact with you.

Levent Yildizgoren  34:44 

Visit, visit or find me in LinkedIn by surname is quite unique. I don’t think there are many. Will this go run in LinkedIn and they can search within the name of the book it comes up in searches. But the best one is like visiting to get to book also there are a couple of goodies. Also we have a Facebook group that take listeners can join, to ask questions and see what other people are doing in relation to international trade.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  35:21 

That’s fantastic. Hey, look, I mean, you mentioned the book traction and obviously I’m an EOS implementer. We talked about the EOS Live, which is doing what you love with people you love making a huge difference, being compensated appropriately and time to pursue other passions. It sounds very much to me listening to you that you’re leading that life. And I thank you for all the work that you do for helping others. So thank you for coming on board this morning. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your wisdom and especially late in the evening. I shall look forward to actually looking at the book myself.

Levent Yildizgoren  35:51 

Thank you Debra, been a total pleasure being on your show. Thank you.

Debra Chantry-Taylor  35:55 

That’s awesome. Thank you. Thanks again for joining us on better business better life with me your host Debra Chantry-Taylor. If you enjoy what you heard, then please subscribe to this podcast. And let us help you to get what you want out of business in life. Each week we release a new short episode which will give a success story and three takeouts to put into action immediately. These will help you take your business from good to great. The podcast is also supported by free resources, templates and useful tools, which you can find at Debra Chantry-Taylor dot com. I am a trained entrepreneur leadership and business coach, a professional EOS implementer and an established business owner myself. I work with established businesses to help them get what they want. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to have a chat about how I might be to help you. Or if you’d like to join me as a guest on this podcast. Thanks again to NZ audio editors for producing this podcast. See you on the next episode.

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