Start to export: what precautions should companies take?
Is your company ready to start to export? What shouldn’t you overlook? Read the following advices before taking the first steps.
To succeed in international markets, you don’t have to be a large firm. Tens of thousands of small and medium-sized companies — with foreign sales of between $30,000 and $5 million — are currently exporting and doing very well.
According to this article http://www.inc.com/jeremy-quittner/small-exporters-say-they-need-more-assistance.html , you will probably need specialized assistance to start to export, but we hope and believe this post can help you in your new objective: starting to export.
- First, it is necessary to have resources before starting to export so that the company is able to face up any unforeseen events that might happen during the exportation process. The firm needs to have enough financial resources. Without this, there is a high risk of becoming undercapitalised (e.g. due to delays on payments from foreign customers).
- Study carefully other similar, successful companies already exporting. Do some benchmarking and get acquainted with best practices.
- Find the right target countries to export, take the maximum of information (custom duties, quotas, specific laws…) about each country you want to export to and weigh the pros and the cons.
Don’t forget to decide if you want to adapt to the target market or using a global strategy. If you are an exporter, you need to ensure that the standards you use in your export product or service comply with those of your intended target market.
Also, to know and be aware of the risks of foreign markets: COFACE http://www.cofaceuk.com
Marketing and Export Plan
Your marketing plan is a work in progress that you will have to modify continuously. As you develop it, consider the following questions:
- What is the nature of your industry?
- Who are your target customers?
- Where are they located?
- What is your company’s marketing strategy?
- What products or services do you plan to market?
- How will you price your products and services?
- Which segment of the market will you focus on?
- Does your marketing material accurately convey the quality and value of your products or services and the professionalism of your company?
Also, your export plan should contain the following:
- Business history
- Vision and mission statements
- Purpose of the export plan
- Organizational goals and objectives
- International market goals
- Short and medium-term objectives for exporting
- Location and facilities
Other issues and additional information
You will need insurance for non payment if your customer has financial problems. Talk to your bank about this. There are also specialized companies working with letters of credit and trade credit insurance. A list of notable credit insurance providers can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_credit_insurance
This might help you as well if you are looking for more information about how to start an export business: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/41846
You can transmit documents to your potential customers electronically via the internet, which is much faster than moving the information around on paper and can be just as secure.
Internet tools and systems can also give you better control of your shipping logistics, when you managed to sell them your products.
During the negotiation be patient — pushing negotiations onto someone who is not ready will be seen as rudeness, and that can greatly diminish the possibility of a sale.
The following link is a very interesting article about exportation and how to start to export, that you can read as well for more details about this subject: http://tradecommissioner.gc.ca/exporters-exportateurs/assets/pdfs/guide-exporting.pdf
Export Partners Consulting is a portuguese firm dedicated to help foreign companies in two different ways:
- Finding customers and sales representatives in Portugal and other European countries (http://exptpartners.com/sell-in-europe-export-to-eu/)
- Strategic sourcing and procurement in Portugal (http://exptpartners.com/sourcing-in-portugal/)