Starting an Export Business: Factors to Consider
What do I need to know to start exporting
Before you get involved, it is important to think through whether or not you truly want to get involved in the export business. Is the company ready? Are they invested in the process? Will your products or services do well on the market?
Once you answer those questions satisfactorily, you must next turn to your resources. Do you have the money to get involved in the export process? Do you have enough people working for you that you can assign some of them to handle exports? In addition, you need to consider whether you can get a website up and running, business cards printed out, sales literature prepared and your Intellectual Property registration filed. It is also a good idea to get involved with MATRADE; they let you know about export events, workshops, seminars and any opportunities that may be of interest to you. Finally, do not neglect to use the business tools that are out there. They can help you get a jump on your competitors; consider Porters Five Forces, PEST Analysis, and SWOT Analysis.
The market for your product
Know how the market functions; in particular, understand the type of paperwork you need to complete and what responsibilities you will be taking on. Meet with anyone that you are considering using for distribution or as a representative. This helps you understand the market and get a clear picture of what the export process will look like for your company.
Decide what you are going to sell. Figure out who you want to sell it to. Then do the necessary research so that you are ready to begin the process. The more research you do, the more confidence you should have that you are targeting the right market. You can learn about your competitors, and the information you gather should give you an edge going forward. In addition, learn about your potential customers, how to distribute your product and how to get the word out about what you have to offer. One of the best resources for this type of information is MATRADE’s Business Information Centre.
Planning for export
Your business plan is an important piece of this puzzle. Do not begin marketing until you have a plan for how you want to handle your export business. This one document can be used for the loan process, help your company stay focused on your future goals, and give value to your company. Research indicates that companies that do not form a business plan often do not do well in the export business. In addition, they lose a lot of money.
Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing is the way that you get the word out about your business. It helps potential customers know that your product or service is available for them to purchase. It is important to maintain a marketing presence all year. You can keep people interested in what you are doing by offering new products or services and setting up sales and special deals. If you do it right, good marketing can truly give you a jump on the competition. Create confidence by showing people yours is a legit business with a presence in a reputable location. A virtual office can provide that quickly and easily.
You can’t run an export business without distribution channels. It is through these channels that the goods are able to get to the customers, regardless of whether you are talking about indirect exporting or direct exporting. While you and another company might get into the export business for similar reasons, you may be different in the way you enter the market and set up your business.
It is important to determine how you are going to price your exports. This is obviously how you will earn money, so you must find a price that allows you to make the most amount of money while still attracting buyers. This is often easier said than done.
Create a Distribution Contract
You need to have an agreement between the distributor from the country involved and the exporter. This helps eliminate the possibility of issues between the two, as it talks about what each is responsible for.
Securing International Orders
If you want customers to continue buying from you, you must secure the export orders. This happens at the end of an order, and it often leads to another purchase. Obviously, this is what you want since the only way your business will survive is through sales. Therefore, communicate with your customers at the end of a deal to move forward with this process. Having someone who is strong at communication here is a big bonus.
Be familiar with any documentation that is necessary for the export process. This documentation may vary depending on what you are exporting and who you are exporting to. If you complete the documentation correctly, your orders can go through the process much faster, which keeps your customers happy.
Understand the various ways that your customers can pay you. Exchange rates may complicate things, so it is important that you have a grasp on things.