Exporting Tips for Small Businesses

There is no question about it, business is a truly global phenomenon, and new areas and avenues are springing up all the time. It is a common misconception that small businesses are often not involved in exporting products, however, this is not necessarily the case. Exporting, through whatever channels, whether traditional means or via the Internet, can add diversity-and protection-especially at times when domestic business is slower than normal. Diversity can pay-in more ways
than one, and there is no doubt that the global marketplace offers tremendous opportunities for small businesses. In order to succeed, however, you need to ensure that you are well prepared.

The first thing to do is to prepare and make plans-both for distribution and for the product itself. Remember that you are leaping into a totally different market and you should not simply assume that you can transpose your current operating methods into a foreign market. You should also, before you get into anything more involved, ask yourself whether or not your product is meeting a need in the market you are looking to get into. Such considerations might include, if your product is electrical, are you looking to supply to a country or area where electricity supplies are at a premium? If so, your product is liable to fail. Remember also that, even if your product is not immediately exportable, you can look at ways in which the product can be modified.

You should also ensure that you thoroughly research the regulations that will govern the sale and distribution of your product abroad. Don’t leave this until later down the line, as it could scupper any hopes you had of breaking into a foreign market. It would be a monumental waste to spend time in research and development on a product, making it ready for a foreign market only to find out that you can’t legally sell or distribute it in its target market after all.

Learn also about how products are commonly package in the market you are selling to, as norms may well be different.

Your company should also give consideration to after-sales consideration. What will your provisions be with regards to product service and warranty options? If you plan to make similar provisions as you make for customers in your home country, how will you deliver these services. Be sure that you will be able to deliver on any promises made.

Ensure that you also look beyond superficial factors when considering redesign and modification, as this is an area that causes many first-timers to fall flat. It may be that you will need to make drastic changes before you are able to sell your product overseas. As an example, if you are selling electrical items, remember that foreign standards are likely to be very different to your domestic standards, and if you fail to account for this, your product will be, at best, unusable, and, at worst, downright dangerous.

Finally, pay attention to the labeling and packaging of your product, as this can have an effect on the viability of your product. Be sure that the product is labeled in its target language, and includes relevant information that distributors and customers want to see, such as weights and instructions. Look carefully at any cultural references on your labels, such as your country’s flag, and ask yourself whether or not such a nuance is likely to go down well in your target market.

Written by Alexander Grimes

Written by Alexander