How to start exporting successfully and safely?
Your business is doing well locally and you would like to secure your position by expanding your market abroad. It’s always a good idea to look for new customers, but you need to know how to do it. Otherwise, you risk deploying resources and energy without getting the expected return. Here are our 10 tips to help you start exporting with confidence.
1 —Develop one market after another
Before you start exporting, make sure you are well established locally. When you’re sure you can export, take it slow, one market at a time. Only develop a market when the previous one is well established. Otherwise, you risk spreading your resources too thinly, and eventually finding it difficult to establish a strong position in all your markets.
2 — Diagnose your capacities
Before exporting abroad, make an internal diagnosis of your capacity to meet future demand. Will your production capacity be sufficient? Will your suppliers be able to keep up with you? Will you be able to handle after-sales service for foreign customers?
Taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses is essential to ensure you have a good future abroad.
3 — Target the right country
Of course, you cannot target a country randomly. You will need to consider the potential for opportunities in the country based on the geopolitics, the political climate, but also the country’s trend in your business sector. Local regulations should also be taken into consideration before choosing to launch your product in a new country.
4 — Adapt your offer
To launch your business in a new country, it is important to start by studying the target customers. This will allow you to know their specific needs and expectations so that you can adapt your offer accordingly. You will also need to take into account :
- Local restrictions and requirements for certain certifications;
- Current regulations;
- But also local technical constraints (electricity, dimensions, etc.).
You should also study your competitors in the target country, so that you can adapt your offer and stay one step ahead of them.
5 — Respect the local culture
From one country to another, the culture differs and it is important to pay attention to this. Shocking potential customers with an unsuitable advertising campaign is the last thing you need to launch yourself in a new country. Also, certain traditions are important to the local population, so try to be aware of them if you have to visit customers.
6 — Select your distribution methods
Whatever the market you decide to target, there are many distribution methods available to you:
- Direct sales to individuals;
- The use of commercial intermediaries such as commercial agents or business providers;
- Distribution via a network of exclusive importers;
- The conclusion of commercial partnerships.
The right solution depends mainly on the type of products or services you offer, but also on the target market and whether or not customer support is required.
7 — Don’t hesitate to use digital tools
Numerous digital tools can help you in your export process. Social networks can be useful for creating a community and getting to know your target customers. Marketplaces will help you find buyers. There are, of course, the markets for private buyers such as Cdiscount or Amazon, but also those for professionals such as EUROPAGES.
8 — Take the time to choose your partners
Once you have decided to enter a new market, it is only natural that you are eager to find your first partner there. However, be careful not to be too rushed. Take the time to make several contacts and study the different proposals.
9 — Make sure you are profitable
To be successful in setting up in a new country, you will need to be attractive while remaining profitable. The prices you charge for exports must take into account the purchasing power of the population and the competition, but also the intermediaries that make up the logistics chain and the distribution network. You should also think about covering the costs linked to exporting (prospecting, trade fairs, travel, market research, product adaptations, marketing, transport).
10 — Pay attention to payment
With distance, the risk of non-payment increases. Fortunately, there are ways of ensuring payment for goods shipped, such as Crédoc. Otherwise, you should know that it is possible to cover transactions with specific insurance.
Going into the export business is an opportunity that you should not hesitate to seize. However, it is essential that you take the time to set up properly so that everything runs smoothly. Many VSEs or SMEs do it, why not you?
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