Interview with Michael Schmidt, Founder of INEAST Consulting

Why did you launch INEAST Consulting in 2013?

I wanted to support companies and entrepreneurs working in the markets of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This is because they are, in my view, the main driving forces of change and economic development in that region. Over the last 20 years my various jobs in Eastern Europe have given me the opportunity to work in this field. INEAST Consulting builds on my experience and reflects my intention to work more directly with companies and entrepreneurs and to develop innovative consultancy projects between Germany and Eastern Europe.

« … registered INEAST Partners are pre-selected experts with a proven track-record on numerous projects. »

Why did you launch the INEAST Business Portal in 2016?

To be successful in entering and operating in a new market, you need the right people on the ground from the start. This is because hiring and then changing the wrong associates and local staff can, particularly in our target markets, have negative consequences for any business. Companies need to rely on professional, committed and loyal people to commence a project in a new market environment. The Platform provides exactly for this kind of expertise: registered INEAST Partners are pre-selected experts with a proven track-record on numerous projects.  Thanks to the Platform, we can respond quickly, flexibly and in a comprehensive way to our clients’ needs.

What is new and innovative about the INEAST Platform?

The Platform unites a community of like-minded professionals who are interested in implementing high-quality projects across countries and business segments. The focus on sales, sourcing and also investment projects, and the wide range of profiles we are looking for to support these initiatives in our target markets, might seem ambitious. However, the Platform allows us to structure our services in a dynamic way and to offer these “service packages” accordingly.

The big advantage for clients is that they can hire pre-selected experts from our broad range of Partners using just one point of contact, that is INEAST Consulting in Germany. Unlike other similar matching platforms for consultants that operate in more structured and homogeneous environments, our Platform is especially geared towards helping companies during the process of expanding their business abroad.

« … our initial focus is on South-Eastern Europe, Germany and the former Soviet Union … »

What are your target markets and how do you select them?

Because of my personal background, our initial focus is on South-Eastern Europe, Germany and the former Soviet Union (CIS). This is because the INEAST Platform operates best in markets where we understand the business environment, language and the broader political and cultural context. Communication is the essence of our business. Thanks to my Business Partners, we are also exploring possibilities in markets such as Turkey, Iran and China. We approach new markets very pragmatically, by implementing pilot projects first. The unifying feature of these markets is their inherent interest in, and compatibility with, the European economy, the need for hands-on support “on the ground” and the huge, untapped, potential resulting from this.

Who are your target clients?

We are based in Bonn/Germany and German small and mid-sized companies are our main clients. They offer excellent products and services that are needed in our target markets. They are already experienced in international business, but do not always have the capacities to enter and develop new markets on their own. Generally, we work with export departments and assist them to conquer new markets. We also work with procurement departments and assist them to source in our target markets. The broader support we offer to managers who are searching for a location for their manufacturing investments is particularly useful, because we increase the completion speed and reduce the risks and complexities of these projects. In all situations, our experts and the selection of the right people are the secret of our success. This is why we place special emphasis on our HR recruitment processes.

« … complementary and highly specialised profiles … »

What kind of Partners are you looking for?

We are looking for a wide range of complementary and highly specialised profiles. We do this because the diversity, high degree of specialisation and complementarity of the profiles of our Partners are the basis for our very competent and effective teams. After all, we established and will develop the INEAST Platform because we prefer to work in teams. Our Partners are highly qualified industry experts who have excellent references and experience in working with international clients. In addition, they are experts in their markets, industries or functional areas such as sales, HR, finance or legal advice.

What are the benefits for Partners?

Partners can use the Platform to collaborate in great projects with like-minded peers. When proposing projects to the Platform, they participate in the fees and commissions of these projects. These benefits are on top of advantages such as competitive fees, timely payment and access to our international client base. Another hidden benefit that is equally interesting for Partners and Clients alike stems from the fact that we do not cling to our Partners: The ultimate proof of the quality of our job is if our Partners become directly and permanently employed by our Clients. Clients benefit from an excellent way to recruit new staff. Our Partners can use the Platform as a way to find new opportunities with interested international companies.

« We are always looking for new projects in Germany and in our target markets, so that we can channel these into the INEAST Platform … »

How do you generate projects for Partners?

By involving and incentivizing Partners to generate new projects, the INEAST Platform and corresponding network develops fast and from within. This community-based approach motivates us to share information, to be closer to our clients and markets. It is also more enjoyable and satisfying to work this way. More details on the exact processes will be communicated to everyone in our Newsletter soon. I can only encourage everyone interested to sign up, so that we can keep them updated on these and other developments.

We are always looking for new projects in Germany and in our target markets, so that we can channel these into the INEAST Platform. Our existing contacts, as well as activities at various events including trade shows, are a good source for new projects.

Most of our Partners use the INEAST Platform to generate follow-up projects for themselves and other Partners.  Experience has shown that the follow-up work with existing clients is an important source of new projects. The Platform allows us to share these follow-up opportunities and to establish an even closer link with our Clients.