Joanne Alexander-Sefre – Working with global suppliers for multilingual distribution and sales.
Covering currently all Europe, UK, Uzbekistan. Iran, Latin America, Translator/proof reader from Spanish, French, German, Italian, Persian
While I do work as a Consultant and have for years also worked on numerous government projects, what I actually enjoy most is working as part of the team with either food suppliers and/or local importers and distributors, depending on the products etc.
A summary of what my company does lifted from my “in progress” website
Our key role is as agents for suppliers to the foodservice, retail and food ingredient sectors internationally. We also source for importers plus ourselves import, export and offer consultancy and translation service. So what we do in summary is open international doors, manage logistics and as needed other administration, implement multilingual communications and handle account management.
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
My interest has always been to use my skills in languages, communication and business and this led to being asked to do consultancy projects and most importantly for over 15 years for the UK government on a programme called the Export Communications Review, which suited me very well indeed. So the answer to the question is really no I did not always want to be and I did fall into it and I like indeed a mix of projects only some of which are fee based and the rest commission.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
Somebody who is able to quickly assess the culture of a business in terms of the personalities, aims and challenges for the leadership team and from this adapt an approach that is always supportive and positive to help the business achieve both the goals they already have in place but also others they may very well have not yet even considered!
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
Sometimes it is a case of fire-fighting if that is what you mean and I am also a strong believer in offering constructive straightforward solutions to issues and targets and not getting lost in often pointless and waffly reports..
Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
Yes because we can only do what is physically possible and as somebody with a full time business for over 25 years plus a lot of horses, volunteering positions including in the local community now as well as 4 children and husband, I have had to learn to not worry too much nor indeed about finance or lack of it!
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
Think they can have a national sales strategy which they fund as regards sales and marketing but then forget that exactly the same criteria need to be taken on board for success in every other market.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
Actually the best is when I have a real opportunity and this enables from the outset me to have a hook to start off the conversation with new potential suppliers/clients. Linked in brings some good contacts actually too and also word of mouth, attending trade shows etc
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
Ride my horses and enjoy the forest behind my house. Spend time with my children, husband, eat nice food, watch Turkish soap operas!
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
It depends in what field but as regards sales, communication and marketing, empathy is very important and perseverance and oh yes not being too greedy either..
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I cant think actually of anything I feel guilty about doing… (maybe sneaking a large pack of paprika crisps and eating the whole bag before I get home from the shop – well I cant leave just a ¼ of the bag can I?)
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
Continue the path to diversify and be able to take on a number of new team members ! And only work with people I really like and trust.