Pretty much all retail-based businesses should, at some point, look at exporting as way to grow their business, even if itâ€™s just setting up an online store. If you have has customers who are doing well domestically with good sales, it could be time to sit down and have a chat with them about the possibilities of selling their products in the international marketplace.
In-depth research will help them understand the specific challenges and risks of exporting. And a thorough planning process will identify their businessâ€™s weaknesses and threats â€“ and to devise strategies to minimize their effects. For example, testing their products, along with various marketing and distribution strategies in their domestic market, could help their exporting efforts.
Once a business has done their research and developed a plan, itâ€™s time to ask themselves:
Remember that they donâ€™t have to go it alone â€“ most exporters will be willing to share their market insights. If you’ve got other small business customers who are successfully navigating the international marketplace, put them in touch. This could save them from potential pitfalls, and help them find suitable agents and distributors.
Understanding their target export market is crucial. You can help them to identify it, and then guide them in conducting comprehensive research about that market. Visiting the country is always a good idea, since itâ€™ll give them a much clearer idea of cultural differences, regulations and restrictions, and market dynamics. And itâ€™s always better to talk to people face-to-face, so that they can develop a network of contacts whoâ€™ll help make the process smoother.
If things go well, a business needs to be able to meet the increase in demand, so review with your small business customer their capacity and pinpoint where it needs to be increased.
Here at TSBC, we can offer you great content around the benefits of exporting, including checklists, guides and health checks. Contact us on www.tsbc.com/contact to find out how we can help you.
Glen is the founder and CEO of The Small Business Company, a New Zealand based agency that specialises in helping banks communicate with small businesses through content marketing. He has written a number of books on small business principles and is a sought after consultant and conference presenter.