Keep an open mind. When you start to consider international trade there is not a perfect strategy so keep your options open when researching markets. Start by identifying between 3 and 5 markets to start with do not overstretch yourself.
Compare and create. Research what your competitors do, where they sell and what price they sell at. Export research may be a little more complicated, but it will enable you to identify price strategies and help you plan how you differentiate yourself from the pack.
Choose your routes to market. Decide do you want to sell directly to customers, do you wish to work through distributors or agents and do you want something more formal like a joint venture. There is no one size fits all and you may decide this on a market by market basis.
Plan, plan and plan. Create an export plan including your capabilities, capacities, people and knowledge. Update it as you progress it will be a living document but will keep you focused on what you aim to achieve.
Look after yourself. Make sure you familiarise yourself with local laws, regulations and standards, do you need to change your design, your packaging, languages. Make sure you do due diligence on potential partners and customers. Protect your I.P.
Look for support. There is plenty out there from a wide variety of options from DIT; Trade bodies; Chambers of Commerce; Banks and independent trade advisers.
Get yourself out there. The ideal way to understand an overseas market is to go, trade shows are the ideal way to do this, maybe first time as a visitor before deciding to exhibit. Talk to people, listen to what they have to say and learn.
Watch the pennies. Exporting will help the bottom line but be prepared to spend money in the early days so ensure you have the finance in place to start with. Once you start to sell then make sure you get paid, consider your terms of sale and make sure you have insurance.
Understand the culture. Acquaint yourself with the local market, their customs, social interactions, business culture. Learn a few words in the language – it works wonders.
Look at the logistics. Understand the process of not only getting your goods and service into the marketplace but also yourself.
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