Global Direct Investment Solutions

Corporate Development for a Networked World

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What is free, or not? Why?

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Bruce Donnelly   bruce@gdi-solutions.com    (Biography)

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Scope of free services : for corporate executives

The focus of GDI Solutions is to make it easy, and free, for corporate executives to quickly meet well-qualified project support professionals or find the information they need for investment projects anywhere.  Aside from obvious introductions such as appropriately qualified site selection consultants or economic development professionals in locations of interest, there are many other potential contacts, as illustrated in the section about Participants and other contacts.

The scope of such introductions will be driven over time by the demand of executives for such assistance, but a few illustrative examples of potential introductions or information sources include :

  • specialists in business location strategy and the site selection process
  • specialists in investment incentive negotiations and compliance
  • project management firms (getting the project planned and done - within time, budget, and quality constraints)
  • corporate tax planning specialists (project-related issues, business structure, global optimization, etc.)
  • corporate development specialists (strategy, M&A, post-merger integration, joint ventures, alliances, etc.)
  • investment promotion or economic development representatives, Chambers of Commerce, etc.
  • professional associations and publications related to direct investment projects
  • senior executives at other companies who may be willing to share their own relevant experiences
  • non-confidential market knowledge developed directly by GDI Solutions executives through their support of similar projects
  • utilities which offer support for direct investment projects in their service areas
  • government-related services (commercial officers, trade representatives, diplomatic / consular officer, etc.)
  • specialists in market research, political risk management, regulatory environment, etc.
  • specialists in administrative or legal aspects of project planning and implementation
  • specialists in human resources issues, recruitment and training, compensation, etc.
  • supply chain or logistics specialists, import/export specialists, airport or port authorities, etc.
  • architectural and engineering firms, or corporate interior design and factory design specialists
  • specialists in environment risk assessments, "brownfield" remediation issues, etc.
  • construction firms
  • developers or owners of corporate real estate (offices, industrial parks, ports, REIT's, etc.)
  • corporate real estate professionals (within corporations, as well leading service providers in major markets)
  • project finance specialists, investment banks, investment risk specialists, venture capitalists, etc.

Once again, this is just an illustrative list of relevant contacts or information sources which can be identified through this networking process according to the needs of executives.  For more specific examples, refer to the section on Participants which highlights both active participants as well as a selective list of other relevant contacts.  The Referrals section also explains the process further.

Keep in mind, however, that the contacts listed in this website reflect only a small sample of the thousands of contacts and information resources identified by GDI Solutions to support corporate executives.  Depending on the specific needs for a particular project, other contacts which are already familiar to GDI Solutions, or which can be identified through the various networks of contacts or rapid research work, may be introduced.  The capabilities are therefore not limited to what is identifiable directly to anyone through use of the lists published on this website, and GDI Solutions will typically have additional knowledge about many such contacts which should not be published openly through such a website.

It is obviously impossible to know all such services, everywhere, and maintain current knowledge about all details of their capabilities.  The key is to know many leaders, and how to find the others as appropriate through that growing network or other research work.  GDI Solutions is basically a "knowledge" organization, progressively learning through each relationship and project how to make better connections between more investors, services, and investment alternatives to find good solutions to a wide range of direct investment needs worldwide.

Scope of free services : for area representatives

See how to request a relevant directory listing

The services of GDI Solutions to corporate executives are mainly funded by two sources : participating area representatives and participating professional service organizations.

There is, however, no obligation to participate.  It is voluntary, and reflects the expected benefit of more active participation in such services.  (see also : how to participate)

On the other hand, there are literally thousands of economic development organizations worldwide.  How much work does it take to maintain timely information about them?  Or to meet with them personally?  Or to do familiarization visits to get to know their areas better?  Or to do independent research work to develop good, comparable information about the local experiences of investors?

Do the math.  Even if one concentrates on just a few hundred such organizations, it can obviously take thousands of hours of work each year by very experienced professionals to maintain the level of knowledge required to respond rapidly and effectively to the needs of corporate executives for projects anywhere.

It is hard to think of any corporation which could justify sucn an investment.  Indeed, even the professional service providers in tihs niche can't readily afford to invest hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars worth of their professional time to maintain such knowledge.  Instead, they know a limited number of places well from direct exposure through recent projects or contacts, and have to scramble to research the others as circumstances require. 

Of course, that means they are being paid by a specific client to do custom research for a specific project, and must therefore limit the scope of such research, since the clients would rarely have the time or inclination to hire a consultant to research many places.  Instead, they just want to find someplace that is viable, quickly, at minimal cost.  It may not be the optimal solution, but it works. 

The knowledge gained through such projects gradually accumulates, but since the number of projects supported each year by any one service provider is fairly limited, and the locations of interest may vary widely, the knowledge often isn't very timely.  Thus, custom research is essential for every such client.

GDI Solutions therefore offers a new approach through services such as GUIDE, as elaborated separately.  Area representatives pay for highly standardized, independent services to make better information about their areas readily available to everyone, quickly  All service providers and investors can have easy access to such reports, so that custom research work undertaken on behalf of investors can focus on the critical aspects of their projects rather than the tasks of basic information gathering and analysis.

In effect, the area representatives pay the cost for much of the basic research about their areas, and the corporate executives pay for the more custom research to meet their special needs, whether by hiring a specialist or by doing the work on their own.  This is analogous to a company doing the work to prepare an annual report and then have it audited independently, or paying to have their processes and products tested independently for quality.

 

What isn't free for corporate executives, and why

As a shared service funded by participating organizations which benefit from their support of direct investment projects, whether through profitable services or the job creation and many other benefits of investment projects in a particular location, it simply isn't possible or appropriate to try to do everything which every executive might ever request for free.

Instead, the focus as a shared service is on doing things which are valuable to many executives, mainly by introducing existing support capabilities more effectively, rather than trying to create new ones.

Similarly, the idea isn't to create one massive reference database or knowledgebase, whether on an open website or a proprietary basis, but rather to consolidate enough practical knowledge to make it easy to find good information and support quickly, especially but not exclusively among the participating areas and service providers.

Sometimes, the needs of a company will be so unique that custom research work is required.  If so, we'll do the best we can to be helpful with the available knowledge and contacts, but may need to either decline a request which we simply cannot satisfy, or refer the investor to a contact who can perform such research. 

In some cases, when more than one company has a particular need, it may be possible to develop a shared research solution to that the cost to each is minimized. 

For example, if several participating companies wanted to obtain much better independent research about business conditions in a particular region of China for strategic planning purposes, GDI Solutions might be able to arrange a shared project to do such work so that much better research work could be performed than any of the companies could justify as an investment alone.  In such a situation, GDI Solutions wouldn't be engaged in the actual research work, but might help to find a qualified researcher (or researchers - to compare their analysis) through the network of contacts, and arrange for the project costs and research work to be shared.

In summary, the goal of GDI Solutions isn't to create a free service which will do anything which any executive requests in this niche.  The goal is to find efficient ways to add high value for executives who are facing major investment project decisions.  Sometimes it will be quite appropriate for such executives to share the costs of the work involved, but most of the services of GDI Solutions are expected to be free to executives because they are funded by the area representatives and professional service providers who want to support their projects.

Scope of free services for professional services

Professional service providers, unlike area representatives, profit directly from the work which they are engaged to perform on behalf of investors.  As such, it's quite reasonable for them to share the cost of services which bring business opportunities to them.

The SICR services are therefore designed to provide a consistent process for professionals to pay an acceptable retainer or "success fee" for the work of GDI Solutions, which effectively leverages their own marketing efforts and investments by creating a process through which GDI Solutions can remain alert for any opportunities to apply their capabilities to the needs of investors.

As explained separately in the section about how to participate, there is no obligation to participate.  Indeed, participation is selective, and some service providers will not be invited to participate, which is not necessarily a reflection on their capabilities. 

For example, a specialist in tax planning in Brazil might be an extremely useful contact to introduce for a particular investor, and may be very well qualified to provide such services, but may still be inappropriate as a "participant" in GDI Solutions simply because the need for such introductions may be very infrequent.  Frankly, it may not be worth the trouble to try to arrange for any compensation from such a contact for the introduction. 

In short, the contact "gets lucky" because the contact has the right qualifications to meet a specific investor's need.  Once again, the driving factor behind referrals is not whether there is or isn't a contact between GDI Solutions and the service provider to receive any compensation for the referral, but rather whether or not the contact seems well qualified to meet the needs of the investor.

In order to increase the resources available to support the services to corporate executives, and share costs as fairly as possible among all participants, GDI Solutions will encourage non-participants to contribute a success fee for referrals which bring actual sales to them, or will encourage corporate investors to give some consideration for the benefit of such introductions. 

This is, in effect, analogous to a broker's commission.  Although there is no contractual obligation for either the corporate executive or the service provider to make such a payment, it should be a customary practice to ask for such consideration as a matter of fairness to all other participants in the process. 

As a routine matter of ethical disclosure, GDI Solutions will indicate to corporate participants whether or not a particular service provider or area representative is a "participant" which helps to fund the services of GDI Solutions, or whether any consideration is expected to be received from a non-participating service,  For example, this is indicated in the Participants section.

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Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  Global Direct Investment Solutions, Inc.      Last modified: 01/27/09