Some guiding steps before you export – or improving your performance:
Step One: Prepare
Think global. To compete on a larger scale, companies often need to redefine and narrow their value proposition to focus on the single strongest feature of their business – whether that’s a tangible product or an intangible quality.
Be informed: Decision makers should evaluate their beliefs and assumptions through research and conversations with other exporters and local experts. Seek the best advice and remember that free advice is often worth what you paid for it.
Be qualified. Often buyers need ISO or other accreditations, or require you to fit into their ERP systems.
Step Two: Build your market through the right relationships and sustained presence
Most markets place a high value on relationships, which can only be developed over time. Companies should build trust and credibility by consistently attending trade shows and by using the power of their networks. They may like you and your product or services, but they also want to measure your commitment to the market. Too often companies engage in ‘butterfly’ marketing.
Understand the local business culture. Working to understand and adapt to the culture and business practices of a chosen market is a very valuable investment. The best exporters use what they learn to transform themselves into “local players” – tailoring their offerings to suit local requirements or tastes and establishing local representation that can operate in the language and culture of the customer.
Manage the risks. Starting small, conducting due diligence and carefully vetting business partners can cut the risk of unpleasant surprises down the road.
Be nimble. Export winners continually transform their business, investing in new technologies and ensuring the entire team has an international mindset.
Sustained growth means sustained effort in working with global partners to innovate, pilot new technologies and create new opportunities.