Japan is the second-biggest market for technology products in the world, but most U.S. companies find it impossible to crack. The primary reason isn't trade barriers, says William L. Gould, former held of IBM Japan Ltd.'s personal computer and office automation division. Rather, large manufacturers forget that their sales often depend on complementary products of small companies that don't have the resources to go abroad.
"If you take an empty PC to Japan, there isn't any Japanese company that's going to write WordStar [word-processing software] for your product," says Gould. "They're going to write it for Japanese products. So you've got to get [the makers of] WordStar to go to Japan."
To do that, his new company, American Technology Group, based in Palo Alto, Calif., matches large high-tech clients with small companies that make complementary products. If, for example, Hewlett-Packard Co. wanted to sell computers to Japanese hospitals, ATG might locate a small X-ray company whose machines can hook up to HP's computers. The small company would send one person to work out of ATG's Tokyo office. HP would distribute the machine, and ATG would provide advertising and technical support.
Many private schools and colleges like to generate funds by renting their facilities over the summer.But schools don't always know how to find or organize summer programs. Elite Sports Programs, of Stratham, N.H., matches schools with specialized camps, including its own sports programs and camps that specialize in computers and music for adults.
Picasso. Monet. Degas. As a conservator of paintings at The Art Institute of Chicago, Barry Bauman used to spend off-hours repairing the works of great painters for private collectors and companies. They own much of the nation's art, but depend on freelance conservators. So Bauman started the Chicago Conservation Center, which last year worked on about 400 paintings -- plus other artwork -- for such collectors as Sara Lee Corp.