Testing the water is key to the success of any company expansion, according to Lord Willie Haughey. Responding to Scott Dickson, founder of Phox Water, on the Go Radio Business Show, who had asked about the best way to expand his multi-award winning water filtration brand from Glasgow to the US, Lord Haughey said: “I would say either start off by getting a small distribution or dealing directly with someone there and gaining a brand awareness.

“The quick route to market is obviously dealing with some of the big guys. If you can go and convince Walmart, you’re in thousands of stores overnight. But, of course, that in itself brings a lot of challenges. I had the chance of looking after a large estate but I convinced them to give me a small bite-sized chunk to prove myself and allow me to learn about the States, about them, before I went for big bucks.”

In terms of finding distributors, Lord Haughey suggested attending a US convention and looking at the trade magazines for what’s happening right now.

“You might also pick one state like Florida and, if you get in touch with their own Chamber of Commerce; they are very helpful – especially when you want to import. So pick one state, get in touch with the business community through the Chamber there.

“See, too, if you can get research into data for countries where they think water filtering is a good idea: somewhere they don’t think their water quality is actually that good.”

Sir Tom Hunter added: “I love your ambition, Scott, but I would just say don’t bet the ranch on America. I like Willie’s advice about taking a small chunk, then learn, listen, see what’s happening, make your mistakes, cheap mistakes, then you can really go for it!”