Whether you make exciting doodads or run a top-notch service company, chances are you are always in the market for more sales. Global exporting is the next frontier for many companies and a solid international expansion plan could potentially have tremendous impact on your bottom line. The fact is most people do not take advantage of this opportunity because of the mythological fears surrounding international export. The following are 3 tips to put you at ease and get you well on your way to becoming a world-wide mogul.
Related: 9 Tips For Doing Business Globally
Research, then research...and do some more research
There are a couple of approaches to international sales and both require varying degrees of research. On one hand you can decide to hire an EMC (Export Management Company) who will handle all the export details for you and likely charge a commission on the final sale price. This commission, in general, is not paid by you but the buyer. If you decide to go this route, a wise choice would be to interview several candidates and find a match for you. This is the most hands off approach and, as a result, will eat a bit more into your profit margin. However, the peace of mind of knowing that your doo-dads will be the next biggest thing in Oman might just make it worth your while.
On the other hand, you may decide to do it yourself. This would require a larger amount of research on your part. You will need to decide which country is a best match for your product, find a freight forwarder to ship your product, a good international bank to handle the financing and find buyers for your product overseas. Wait, I thought you said my fears were 'mythological'? Trust me, they are. There is A LOT of help to aid you on making all these decisions. The best thing to remember is this: The US Government WANTS you to export. Exporting is good for the trade deficit, the GDP and therefore the country. As a result, there are a myriad of government resources to help you on your way. A quick internet search and you'll find them but you can start with the US Commerce Department.
Related: Entering Global Markets
Assemble Your Team
Once you've decided whether or not to go it alone or hire an EMC, you will need to develop your team. An EMC will likely do this for you and, if they are good, fill you in on the details as you go along. If you do it alone, you will need to find a good banker, freight forwarder and eventually buyers. As I said before, the US Government is more than willing to help you with this. They can recommend banks that deal with international financing and freight forwarders to ship your product. They can also help you qualify buyers overseas. You will need to conduct interviews and find the best matches for you. It may be a bit tedious at first, but once you do it once it's done forever. If you decide to export to a new country in the future you may not have to do this again (if you do, it'll be A LOT easier). You also might consider taking on a distributor or even a partner in the country or region to make things go smoother. Trade shows in the region are a good place to start what ever route you take.
Construct Your Plan and Execute
Before you ship your first doo-dad you NEED to have a plan. Knowing your sales goals beforehand will keep you on track and help eliminate mistakes. You may just be looking to supplement domestic sales with a new international market or you might be trying to become the newest worldwide sensation. Either way a plan is required. Once you've drafted your plan, execute. Don't over think it. There are a lot of moving parts that can paralyze you and cause you to over think things. Don't. Go with your gut and remember mistakes are a part of life. In the end you will be better off by doing something rather than nothing. Your best bet is to start small, learn the nuances and grow from there. Once you've gotten your feet wet and learn the game there will be nothing stopping you from substantial profits.
International sales are a great way to increase profits and expand your brand. Many fears and apprehensions regarding the process are unfounded. There are many resources to help you on your way to international success.
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