The first question most small businesses ask is why should we export? This is particularly true for those whose domestic sales are strong. It is a valid question given the costs, time and commitment required to be successful internationally. But the benefits of exporting can be substantial.
Determining whether you are ready to enter the international business arena requires both an examination of your commitment in terms of resources as well as your ability to compete with international competition. There are a few relatively simple exercises you can do to determine if your firm is export ready. These do not require a large commitment of time or resources, but are worthwhile exercises.
Much of the world’s trade and business relationships are determined by agreements that have been negotiated between two, three or more countries. These agreements range from simple agreements to reduce the level of tariffs on certain products, to detailed foreign investment rules that are negotiated between many countries, to full-fledged international trade treaties.
There are many factors you need to consider before entering the international business market. These include: the quality of your market research used for determining and defining your market, the local partnerships you make in the country, how much your product needs to adapt to the market, and your attitude towards the customers in that market.
Doing business internationally is not the same as doing business at home. There are new skills to learn and new knowledge to acquire about the country you will be going into. You will need to learn about the different laws and regulations, the different customer buying habits, and change your marketing strategies and materials to appeal to the new country you are entering.
After completing a competitor analysis and determining a correct market to enter, the next step is to understand who to talk to, especially in terms of human and financial resources.
Summary of the key points that you have learned in the ‘Thinking About Exporting’ section.