Starting your own business is an undertaking that requires more than just the idea, capital and loss mitigation plan. The entire process from choosing the product/service to finding the buyers’ market for it is just the beginning of a long and tedious research that is both inevitable and rewarding.
However, your business’s transition from an MSME to an export business is a completely different ball game altogether. While it can be a daunting task to expand your business internationally, smart strategies and planning can ensure both success and longevity of your export business.
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In this blog, we will talk about a few problems small businesses face in entering and excelling in the EXIM world and how those problems can be overcome.
Identifying the export market – This step is both a pivotal and determining factor in the expansion of your business. Whether you choose a niche product or mainstream product, as a small business, you need to follow the SIS – Screen-Identify-Select process to find out which market will ensure maximum profits and minimum risks for you. When screening the markets with a process of elimination, you can measure the viability of the market from how these markets fare on the Democracy and Corruption perception index. These parameters help you understand the political climate as well as the governmental risks involved before making an informed decision. Similarly, the prevalence of corruption in a particular country/region is a clear red flag and aids businesses in taking the right steps towards risk mitigation.
Learn more about how to screen, identify and select foreign export markets in this webinar featuring renowned Professor, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Kolkata.
Finding Buyers and diversifying the client base – It is a known fact that a small business cannot afford to rely on just one or two clients to generate income. Depending on a single client means putting all your eggs in the same basket, it is a risk that is one of the leading causes of businesses shutting down. So how can you diversify your customer base in this economy, where marketing costs for new customer acquisition have increased by 60%?
There are different approaches based on your product and business type. In a B2C scenario, festive campaigns, loyalty discounts work wonders, however, in case of B2B, finding a genuine and trustworthy wholesale buyer is the key to long term success. B2B websites are a great way to find and connect with suitable buyers. Here too, there’s a catch. Not all buyers you interact with are prospective clients, and so choosing the right portal and doing a thorough background check while you engage a buyer are crucial to the success of the deal.
At go4WorldBusiness, all buy leads posted are vetted by professionals and this saves you a lot of time. There’s a whole lot more you can do if you choose a trustworthy platform to connect with potential buyers.
Creating brand awareness – With the ever- changing landscape of brand marketing strategies, up to 70% marketers believe that increased brand awareness is a lot more valuable to businesses than conversions and direct sales. After all, why would someone buy from you if they haven’t heard of you? Here too, first impressions count the most. A buyer approaching a business will first look for its web presence. So maintaining an up-to-date website is the core of any business’ identity. And then, there’s social media. It does not matter if you sell a pretzel or wholesale agro products, talking about your product in a visual format shows the popularity of the product and transparency of your business. If you have an existing base of satisfied clients, have them create a video testimonial for your business and share it on social media. If video content is not possible, create a blog format case study of your buyer’s favorable business experience with you. This is an impactful way of highlighting your reliable business resume. Anyone serious in doing business with you will go through all these channels before even considering the payment and shipping terms. And finally, do not forget to register your business on Google. The whole world is on it and if you aren’t, you’re missing out big.
Supply chain issues – The 2021 global supply chain disruptions and subsequent container shortage and high shipping costs left many industries severely affected. While there’s little a small business can do to turn things around on a grand scale, there’s a lot you can do to nip these predictable issues in the bud by being better prepared. Supply chain issues arise from labor and political unrest and so are fairly unpredictable, the best you can do is be ready with a back-up plan.
The most significant step in this regard is keeping track of your stock. You can invest in one of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) software that allows you to oversee the entire journey of your product from factory to buyer’s hands.
Besides these cautionary steps, you can be vigilant in ensuring the safety of your product before it even reaches the port. Instructing your factory owners to package breakables in extra bubble wrap is one way, ensuring the correct bar code on shipment is another important aspect that can only be done right with your proactive approach.
Ever changing Foreign Policies – Foreign policies around international trade and exports update on regular basis, and failing to comply with these could end up in your shipment being stranded or worse, seized. To avoid such a situation, you should not just rely on your research during the export market selection, you must revisit every source you used to collect information to see if those laws have changed or not. A little diligence can help you avoid major troubles down the road. Relevant product certifications also make a small part of these trade policies. Additionally, customs clearance responsibilities from both exporters and importers side need to be fulfilled for a smooth shipment. Read more about these requirements in this blog titled – Why Custom Clearance needs all your attention?
Communication gap – If your dream is international, there are bound to be problems related to the difference in language and culture. Many small businesses are wary of finding and connecting with buyers who come from non-English speaking nations. While language is one problem, communicating the right sentiment/thought requires you to be very careful about what you say and how you represent your business. Globalization may have brought nations and people closer but the disconnect arising from cultural differences needs to be tackled properly. People overseas conduct business differently. You may expect a prompt response and better connectivity but the buyer operates in his/her own time. A little impatience can jeopardize the entire deal and so it is advisable to hire a mediator, if possible.
At go4WorldBusiness, a department called DealMakr was created to handle this very problem. An elite team of Trade Specialists help suppliers connect with relevant buyers. Any communication gap is overcome with the help of these trained specialists who are better equipped to understand both parties and eventually play a decisive role in the success of the deal.
Click here to know more about the DealMakr service
Taking one’s business international is a big aspiration, one that needs major commitment and the ability to take calculated risks. However, in-depth research and planning help you overcome all initial barriers to realize your export business dreams.