IMBA graduate Richard deVries helps companies grow global with his start-up consulting firm
After falling in love with Taiwan and building upon his business knowledge through NCCU’s IMBA Program, Richard deVries set out to start his own consulting firm to help local companies enter into western markets. Geber Brand Consulting is a company that helps businesses expand their sales channels, build a strong brand, train their people, and better communicate their value to customers. Having had past experiences in sales and marketing in Canada, Richard wanted to explore markets in Asia so he came to Taiwan and soon discovered the fast growing nature and unseen potential of many local businesses.
Over the years Geber Brand Consulting (www.geberconsulting.com) has worked with hundreds of companies in both the B2C and B2B segments and in industries including semiconductors, bicycles, motorcycles & scooters, computers, housewares, scientific equipment, functional fabrics, and many, many others. The common thread in these projects were great companies who needed to strengthen their market-access through the right strategy, marketing, design and promotions.
Initially the firm faced headwinds due to the fact that consulting services were not seen as a necessity among Taiwanese companies. However, as they communicated the benefits, local companies came to see the upside potential of such services.
Another key area for Geber is helping Western companies enter and thrive in Taiwan and China. Geber has worked with Citibank Taiwan to improve the communication, negotiation and presentation skills of their employees bringing greater confidence and better communication in customer services. Geber has also worked with Microsoft to align communication between the head office in the United States of America with top executives in Taiwan. As a result, employees gained practical and tangible skills that made communication easier and clearer between their global branches.
NCCU’s IMBA program definitely gave Richard a good network of people and he continues to apply lessons learnt in classes, such as the Human Resources course taught by Professor S.H Lee and the Marketing Management course taught by Professor Charles Trappey, in the day-to-day operations of his business. Professor Trappey utilized many case studies and discussions to challenge students and build stronger negotiation and communication skills, both of which are key to being a successful consultant. The fact that the diversity within the firm is so widespread, with co-workers from all over the world, has really allowed the company to better conduct market research in many different countries. A direct result is that Geber is able to provide better services to their clients across various industries.
When asked about advice he would give to others who also want to start up their own company, Richard highlights the importance of reaching out to alumni and not getting too caught up in the planning because people often pivot after starting the process and end up going in different directions. In other words, do not be too stressed because starting up a company should be an enjoyable experience.
In terms of future plans, Geber Brand Consulting will add an office in the United States of America and Germany this year, in addition to the offices in Taipei and Shanghai. The future is bright for Geber: Richard sees Geber Brand Consulting becoming the foremost business consultancy for bridging the West and the East, allowing Asian companies to expand overseas as well as Western companies looking to do business in Asia. It can all be summed up in one phrase: “Expand Your Markets – Build Your Brand!”