United States


Claire Pillsbury
May 8, 2017

Alex Deyhim, Founder and CEO of Advanced Design Consulting (ADC), and his team have been building custom complex scientific components and instruments for clients worldwide for over 20 years.

Nestled in the Finger Lakes region in Lansing, New York, Deyhim and his team of engineers cover everything from design and manufacturing to the installation of complex systems for large government laboratories and corporations. The company offers a range of capabilities from manufacturing, testing and installing high-resolution extreme-ultraviolet-light (EUV) microscopes to writing, designing and building software, hardware, and control panels to guide robots in industrial applications.

ADC began at Cornell University’s Business and Technology Park and has established itself as a world leader in scientific and research markets. Today, while all the work is performed at their facility near Ithaca, they engage with clients and partners from nearly every continent.

According to Deyhim, global markets are essential for his small business. Foreign sales account for roughly 50 percent of ADC’s overall revenue.

Access to other markets “allows small businesses to ride the wave of an economy more easily,” he said, which is especially important when you don’t have the same luxuries of larger companies. “If one market goes down, let’s say Germany is experiencing issues or going through an election, you have business in Brazil or in South Korea or in Japan.”

His business relies on the global internet to maintain an international presence. “Without it, we would sink,” observed Deyhim, adding that “with the internet, the world is at your fingertips.”

He advised that attending conferences is valuable and provides critical face-to-face experience, but that the internet provides a more cost-effective way to connect with clients all over the world.

Deyhim noted that the benefit is magnified for small businesses like ADC, which have less disposable incomes to spend on cultivating face-to-face relationships at international conferences.

While advertisements in international journals helped ADC gain international exposure early on, Deyhim says his website, comprehensive online product catalog, a slick YouTube video introduction to the company and online search are really all his company needs to get discovered globally.

Deyhim notes that foreign markets bring their share of cultural and regulatory challenges for his business. He shared some of the lessons he learned along the way, like how in Spain certain projects require more than a dozen signatures or how in Japan his company could not do business directly with a client but rather through a local representative.

For Deyhim, online search and resources from some of the large shipping and logistics companies helped him and his colleagues navigate these country-specific requirements.

One of Deyhim’s favorite experiences when traveling to foreign countries is seeing how customers and partners abroad really look up to American businesses, even the small ones like ADC. For that reason, Deyhim urges fellow entrepreneurs to “not even question whether or not to go global.”

Outside of the United States, businesses can find “unlimited markets that are easily connected thanks to the internet,” he said. “While you might be struggling in the U.S. market, you could go overseas and grow tremendously.”

“It is overwhelming in the beginning, but don’t be discouraged,” advises Mr. Deyhim. “Some of our competitors closed down in the United States because they were so focused on the domestic market. International markets allowed us to survive.”

Alex Deyhim