- Tekes grants: 5,000 euros for Finnish firms looking to increase sales and go international

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Transcript - Tekes grants: 5,000 euros for Finnish firms looking to increase sales and go international Feedbacklys Jaakko Mnnist, customer experience guru and vice-chairman of Suomen Yrittjt, reported recently that Tekesthe Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovationis distributing subsidies of 5,000 euros for free to Finnish Small and Medium Enterprises to develop innovation and increase sales. I asked Jaakko what it was all about. After all, who wouldnt want 5,000 euros to improve their operations and increase sales? --Christian Dillstrom IS THIS 5,000-EURO SUBSIDY? Tekes helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop their businesses. Practically any SME in Finland that needs support can obtain the financing. According to the Tekes site, Research, development and innovation funding is targeted to projects that create in the long-term the greatest benefits for the economy and society. The goal is to help companies increase their sales and number of employees. WHAT CAN THE 5,000 EUROS BE USED FOR? It can be used for external services from Tekes-approved service providers. With the knowhow and services of these providers, you can develop products, processes and services that expand your business. The goal is simply to develop your business in such a way that you increase your sales. In my view, one of the best uses for the subsidy would be applying it to the task of getting to know your client and his needs better. That way were taking the client along with us in the development process. WELL, ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS ON HOW YOU CAN USE THE INNOVATION SUBSIDY? Not many, but a few. The funds cant be used directly for sales or marketing. But using them to learn from the client is accepted. In other words, you cant invest in sales or marketing services with the subsidy, but you can invest in business development and knowhow. If the company hasnt used Tekes financing before, you can get it. The help is readily available; if you ask, you get help. This is easy practical support for SMEs; you dont have to learn everything through expensive trial-and-error. YOU SAY THAT LEARNING FROM THE CUSTOMER IS IMPORTANT FOR GROWTH AND SALES. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? Many people think that new innovations are born only after lengthy research and large investments, somehow hidden inside the company. In fact, innovations that produce growth originate with the customer and with knowing the customer. why its important to learn what the client thinks and what kind of experience he has had as a customer. Doing this can be as simple as collecting information from him and automating the additional sales process that would be triggered by his answers. HOW CAN THESE 5,000 EUROS BE USED ON YOUR SERVICES? It is important for every company to know their customers so that they can offer new features, products and services that will sell well. This is where we help both big and small companies. We help you learn about your customers more quickly and more deeply you can with other methods. We start at square one and look at what kind of path your customer has through the service. We choose the best measuring points so that we can collect information that is both comprehensive and profound. We analyze the information that we have collected to learn what developments are needed to improve the customer experience, and what innovations are possible. In the second step, we compare the companys success to other companies in the same field, in the market of interest and in other markets. The company will learn where it stands, how the company compares to competitors, and on what level their goals should be. Finally, we measure the extent to which our collaboration has succeeded and plan how the company can win even more business in the future. HOW WOULD MY CLIENT COMPANIES BENEFIT FROM YOUR SERVICE? WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE? The goal is to create new competitive advantages for your firm and expand your business by collecting and analyzing information about customer experiences. By doing this we can discover how to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduce the loss of customers, and create more sales. We also work with you to create innovative ways for your company to sell more directly to its customers. Your customers buy moreand are more likely to buy again. Which means more money in the bank for you. After we finish the project, the company has a better idea of what their customers need and what kind of services are worth offering. Creating innovations and developing products is a hundred times easier when you have an excellent understanding of your customer. No more wasting company resources on measures that do only half the job or that miss the target completely. THIS ISNT ONE OF THOSE INFAMOUS LIFELONG PROJECTS, IS IT? We want to help you solve your customer service problems right now, in real time. As Ive mentioned, with our system, your employees get alerts on their mobile phones every time problems that require immediate attention are flagged in the customer data collectionand they get those alerts immediately. So, you can analyze the data at the end of the project, but you also get extra help in solving your customers problems starting on Day One of the project. We are the only customer experience data collection and analytic company in the world that offers this kind of real-time mobile service. HOW CAN MY CLIENT COMPANIES OBTAIN A TEKES INNOVATION SUBSIDY? Acquiring the subsidy is rather simple. First, your client company would discuss its plans with the company that it chooses to be the innovation note deliverer. After this a simple project plan is delivered to Tekes with an application. The deliverer can help with the application, but the applicant company must submit the application to Tekes by itself. Filling out the application doesnt take long, and Tekes makes its decisions quickly. CAN YOU HELP MY FINISH CLIENTS GET STARTED WITH SUBMITTING THEIR APPLICATION TO TEKES? Of course, just call me at +358 44 3488016 or e-mail me at, and Ill advise you on who to contact. Stay tuned for more interviews with Jaakko about his insights into customer service and increasing your profits. BACKGROUND Christian Dillstrom is a global growth hacker who has growth-hacked more than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies over the last seven years. Mr. Dillstrom is responsible for over 100 marketing and sales innovations. Over 350 million of his marketing solutions are currently active on the Internet. Every month, 18 million business people read his Growth Hacking articles at SlideShare. Click here to read them. Mr. Dillstrom has founded and managed three global startups and has evaluated and consulted with over 300 startups around the globe since 1999. To get in touch with Christian Dillstrom, book a free teleconference with him, please click here.