As soon as the seed of a business idea is planted, there are a thousand questions that come to mind about what can be done to make a business a success. One thing however remains common for every new or progressing business, the dream of taking it international. All product-centric businesses approach the world of international trade differently, with the end goal of finding success. While there are 365 different ways of approaching exports, some basic tenets remain unchanged regardless of the country or culture that a business originates from. Listed here are some of the key elements that an entrepreneur must focus on before getting on the bandwagon of export-import business.
1. RESEARCH– Any great idea should be backed by extensive research and initiating your journey into the world of export-import is no different. From comparing potential markets to understanding buyer trends, there are a few studies that can be conducted online while others that need a more personal approach.
It is imperative that you speak with seasoned exporters dealing in same/similar products to get an idea about how things work. Their insight about intricacies of specific markets and products would remain unparalleled.
This is the primary phase where you not only need to decide upon your product to market but also register your domain, start with paper-work to register your company and layout a blueprint of the most viable markets favorable for your products.
Some find business visits to buyers’ market an effective way to observe, identify and implement strategies.
2. DOCUMENTS– Here, we should know about the different documents and trading licenses required in order to start your operations. A trading license as mandated by Govt. of your home country is of paramount importance. Similarly, sort out your company registration/Incorporation certificate, utility bills to establish yourself as a genuine exporter. For example, if you are dealing in plants or edible product, a certificate of origin is required to process your paper-work in different countries especially in the EU markets.
Remember, since you are just starting off and you have no sales or proof or records, it is imperative to have a solid set of documentations, from registrations to certifications to make sure you make a great first impression. All this will cement your company’s identity as a genuine and trust-worthy business-entity.
3. TEAM – Many entrepreneurs feel that an expanded team size complicates business matters and isn’t safe, owing to the confidential/critical nature of information. While this may be true in some cases, please know that no business can run without the proper aid of experienced professionals.
Right from logistics, to legal paper-work, vendors, communication, you’d be required to make small teams to smoothly run your enterprise. Remember, team-work translates to dream-work and each of the operations while exporting might sound mutually exclusive, they are very well interdependent to reap you benefits in the long run.
4. TARGET-There are two types of targets in business, a sales target which is the metric against which all our endeavors are measured and a target market where you can achieve your initial goal. A reasonable initial target provides a direction to every new business and forms the back bone of your initial investigation and research. A thorough study about different markets where your product could well-thrive informs the basis of where you see your product being sold to maximum profits. These will help to further scale your sales astronomically.
Identify global markets that need your products, what are the costs involved, is there a break-even point, supplying there? Analyzing all these crucial aspects will further help to estimate the costs, and profit margins eventually. Pro- tip- Also be alert of the geo-political economic changes before getting yourself in a deal where the economy seems non-stable.
5. MARKET – In today’s age of instant communication and information dissemination, nothing is more important that finding the right tools to market your product. Marketing your products go in tandem with any business operations in today’s age. While B2C arena focuses on a more direct approach to lure customers, B2B entrepreneurs need to find the right platform to showcase their product and fulfillment abilities in export market. Creating a good profile on a popular and trust-worthy B2B website is the first significant step in this direction. Add as many product images and detailed description as possible, add factory images to the mix to make sure that both your product’s quality and your business’s identity are on a dazzling display.
This triggers responses from many potential buyers and sharing the same content on social platforms –Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Whatsapp adds more brand value to your business. The social channels immensely help in giving the much needed traction that earlier used to come with expensive T V spots.
6. VERIFY– It goes without saying that while interacting with offshore clients, one needs to adhere to caution as Import and exports are replete with con artists that are just on the lookout to make quick money by duping you with compelling orders and seemingly good credentials. Make sure you are able to verify them by following their digital trail through websites, arrange as many video calls as possible.
Hiring a third party agency to look into their whereabouts is always advisable if the consignment involves big money and huge stakes. Remember one can never be too careful and it will surely help you make informed decisions when striking deals in foreign lands. Selecting a safe, secure mode of payment and viable shipping terms are just as important as finding a genuine buyer.
While the above steps form a basis for a successful export-import business, they also give you an opportunity to forge lasting business relationships. In the end, you understand that it is the small things that matter and every decision, based on calculated risks and backed by extensive research not only mitigates possible losses but also paves way to great success.