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. The first of course is the prospect of increasing sales and revenue. There are many rapidly growing economies in the world who are ready to buy your goods and services, and who can help you expand your market.
The second benefit is that exporting can increase your ability to compete domestically. The experience you will gain from working in different markets, such as an increased awareness of other products and services and exposure to new ways to market, will enhance your business.
It will also allow you to diversify your markets so you are no longer dependent on any one market for your success. By using your domestic sales to cover the fixed costs of exporting you can also increase your profitability. For example, if you have excess capacity domestically, international markets can use that capacity to lower your per unit costs; therefore helping your bottom line.
Whether you realize it or not, you are already competing internationally. Foreign firms are likely to have already entered your domestic market causing fragmentation. Trading in these countries’ own home markets will help you understand their business, and in turn become more competitive at home.
The benefits of exporting can far outweigh the costs. However, being successful requires a commitment of resources: finances, people, solid market research, and clearheaded thinking.