Unleashing Your Export Potential

Have you ever received inquiries from or shipped products to other countries? If this has happened to you, it might be time to start thinking more seriously about investing time to explore export opportunities.

As the leader within your business, it is your responsibility to determine if you have what it takes to become an export ready business.

Success is dependent on having a realistic understanding of what is involved in exporting, being open to new ways of doing business and having the ability to adapt to changing situations.

Making a long-term commitment to exporting and having clear and achievable export objectives are essential to compete on a global scale.

The world of exporting is full of surprises and unforeseen challenges. Allowing time for preparation and planning will better prepare you to meet them. Developing a written export-strategy should be one of your first steps as it will ensure you are better able to manage your export risk. Here are some other things you will need to consider.

  • Pay close attention to your product positioning and pricing. Be aware of who your current customers are and develop a customer profile. Who already uses your product or service? Does it have broad general use? Is it limited to a specific group? Knowing your customer demographics and their purchasing patterns locally will help you determine who you are targeting on a global basis. They may or may not be the same; you may have to look at modifications to make it work/appeal to a foreign market. Producing the right product or service at the right price in the right market is key.
  • Analyze your current capacity to do business locally. Will you still be able to deliver the same level of service if you expand to foreign markets? Give some thought to other ways your domestic market may be affected in both positive and negative ways. Identify the most cost-effective methods of transportation that are available to move your product or service to your new market. In determining the method you choose, one of your considerations may be the shelf life of your product.
  • Assess your financial resources. Make sure you have enough capital or access to capital. You may have to be prepared to do business in new ways, including offering credit terms to your new customers and dealing effectively with different monetary systems. You will need to be able to make changes to your strategy quickly to deal with changes in market conditions.
  • Get out and meet your customers. Be prepared to attend and/or exhibit at trade fairs or international conferences. Take full advantage of government/industry association supported events in your target market. Learning the local customs and business culture of your new market is essential. Nurture your relationships with potential partners; get to know them before you select and commit to any deals. Seek out the professionals and partners who can help you unleash your export potential.
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