The export domain is full of action right now. The industry is not confined to large enterprises anymore, with small business owners making a beeline for the bandwagon. Taking the leap of faith can be scary for a beginner running on shoestring budgets. But the growth potential on the other side is enough to drive the courageous decision. Moreover, you can cruise through easily with strategic planning and preparation. The best part is that there are plenty of success stories to seek inspiration from. More than inspiring you as a beginner, these successful exporters can share some valuable advice to embark on the journey without qualms. Here are some proven growth recommendations new exporters can rely on.
Do Your Homework
Business expansion requires extensive research, even more, when you aspire to break into a global market. You cannot expect customer expectations to be the same because the language, customs, and culture differ in other countries. Likewise, market factors like local demand, competition, and export regulations can make a difference. Remember to do your homework thoroughly while prospecting a market in another country. Write a business plan, decide on your strategy, and foresee potential challenges and their solutions. The hard work at this stage pays huge dividends by streamlining your entry into the export landscape.
Set Aside Adequate Resources
You cannot undermine the significance of resources like time and money while entering new markets as an exporter. Ensure setting aside enough for a steady revenue stream in your local market. Planning expansion with exports makes sense only if you have a stable foundation. You will need funds to improve products, realign packaging, and hire experts down the line. Being prepared is crucial because you may end up losing even on the domestic front if you try going too big too soon. Also, be prepared to face a steep learning curve when you enter a foreign market. You must have enough time to invest in research and planning.
Line Up Experts
Although exporting looks simple on the surface, it is far more complex than you imagine. Regulations, documentation, customs and tariffs, and logistical challenges can get overwhelming. Seasoned exporters recommend lining up experts from the outset to ensure nothing stands in the way of your consignments. Collaborating with a reputed customs brokerage firm is the best bet as they can cover you on several fronts. You can rely on them to help with export documentation, international contracts, duty drawbacks, and more. Outsourcing is far better than developing expertise in-house as it can save you a fortune while bringing the best talent on board.
Leverage Government Resources
Besides having a customs specialist to show you the way, you can leverage government resources to ramp up your basic knowledge and understanding of exports. For example, the U.S. Commercial Service has Export Assistance Centers across the country and in many consulates overseas. It works as a network of trade professionals supporting American exporters looking to explore overseas markets. You can use the network to research opportunities in new markets, find partners overseas, address market access issues, and exhibit at international trade shows.
Focus Your Efforts
Another export recommendation worth following is to pick a focus area and concentrate on it first instead of going too broad. Selling in multiple markets sounds tempting for a beginner, but it may not be the best approach. You may get stuck doing too many things at the same time, and succeed at nothing. Winners start with one market, learn from the experience, and apply the skill to new international markets down the line. It is even better to choose a nearby destination with simple regulations and similar market culture to ease into the learning phase.
Commit to Staying for the Long Haul
As a new exporter, you cannot expect the road to be smooth. You can encounter several challenges, from establishing a new distribution channel to overcoming the local competition and redesigning packaging. Settling down will take time, so you should commit to staying for the long haul despite a shaky start. Also, be prepared for initial mistakes, no matter how well you do your homework. Learning from them gives you the courage and motivation to continue on the road.
Successful exporters make it big sooner than the others, but they also have to face a fair share of challenges. The best piece of advice is to go slow and learn the ropes. Also, do not hesitate to seek help because you will need experts at the outset and even down the line.