Understanding the Export Continuum

Exporting often looks like a daunting undertaking. How do you know you are ready? Where is the market for your product or service? How do you make connections within a region? What do you need in place to sell in a new market?

The questions can go on and on. Some questions you may not even know enough to ask.

NLOWE can help. We’ve developed resources and systems to assist you through all stages of exporting. We even have a dedicated Export Consultant available.

Our goal is to make it easier for you to grow your business outside of your domestic market. By breaking exporting into various stages, we simplify and clarify the entire process. As a result, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are and what you need, and we’ll have a better understanding of how to help you most effectively.

The export continuum

There are several stages on the export continuum. These include export curious, export diagnostic, export preparation, export ready, export development, and export activity.

Export Continuum

Export curious: At this point, you may not know much about exporting. You would like to know more, though. You have the will to take your business to a new market, but are unsure where to start. Having a conversation with your Growth Advisor and our Export Consultant is a great first step.

Export diagnostic: You are seriously considering exporting. While you have the capacity to sell outside your current market, you need help identifying opportunities and obstacles. You need a plan. We can help you by completing an export diagnostic through our partnership with the provincial government Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development (IBRD).

Export preparation: Together, you and NLOWE have now identified opportunities for exporting and potential challenges. You have a list of priorities. We’re here to help you through this. We want you to be as prepared as possible before entering a new market. There will be a lot more questions, but we can help you find the answers.

Andrea Sharpe, owner of Karlande Designs Ltd., says she owes a great deal to the advanced support she received from NLOWE, IBRD, and ACOA. “These organizations have helped me grow my business from selling at fairs to developing clients internationally. This would not have been possible without the training, support, and resources provided by these agencies,” Sharpe says.

Export ready: You’re ready to enter a new market! As with any new undertaking, the work doesn’t stop here. You need contacts, meetings and other potential opportunities to expand into your new market. Before stepping on an airplane, we make sure that you have contacts on the ground ready to help you break into this new market.

This was an added benefit for Bonnie Cook, Abbyshot Clothiers Ltd., who says “NLOWE certainly made a great choice in matchmakers for my company. Each meeting was positive with potential for future business opportunities.”

Export development: Your passport has a few stamps in it. You’ve made some great connections. Now you need to develop these relationships and turn all this work into revenue. NLOWE staff travel regularly to specific regions, so that you can return with the support of others.

“Every minute of our time was completely productive, and we returned with a game plan on how to do business in this market. We will most certainly be pursuing this further in the coming months, and without the encouragement of the trade mission and the staff, I can safely say that this would not be on our radar,” says Anne Whelan, CareGivers Inc., of her experience with NLOWE.

Export activity: You’ve done it. You’re an exporter. You may have had your doubts, but you’re finally here. That’s it, right? Wrong. We’re still here with you, though. We want you to grow in this market. There is a lot of work required to maintain a presence in a market outside of your local one. We will provide you with the assistance and resources to do just that.

Phyllis Reardon, owner of Coach Phyllis, found her second experience at the WEConnect Canada annual conference a richer one. Says Reardon:  “I’ve come to understand that marketing is all about relationships and this mission strengthens connections and grows these relationships, with the end result creating increased opportunities for B2B (business-to-business).”

Theresa James, RV Designs Inc., reports the matchmaking services resulted in targeted and more effective meetings. “I came home with a solid sales lead that fits my business perfectly, along with a great opportunity to collaborate on a secondary product line with another company based in Miami,” says James. “I also collected valuable information on how to streamline my production process and gained access to the contact who will guide me through implementing these efficiencies. This will help free up my time to focus on elements of my business that deserve more attention. It was a huge success and definitely worth the follow-up visit.”

NLOWE can help you in your exporting activities no matter where you find yourself on the continuum. We’re here to work with you to grow your business to a place (or places) you never thought possible. For example, Samantha Martin, Smart in Print, learned about the many opportunities supplier diversity can bring to a business: “I was also able to think outside the box with my own services and products and where I can take them.”

Sharon Dominey, Smart Learning and Development Solutions Inc., found participating in the WEConnect Canada annual conference was a great experience on many levels. “Energy, enthusiasm, information and inspiration – this conference had it all,” Dominey says. “The opportunity to hear from and talk with other women business owners, as well as sponsor organizations, provided valuable insight into the certification process and benefits for my company.”

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