Exports for Start Up
- Gain an understanding of the export business.
In order to get started in exporting, you will need a thorough understanding of the industry and how the actual exportation process works. Research the export business by visiting Manager’s Office website.
If you already have an idea of which countries you want to export to, you can start learning by figuring out those countries’ regulations, tariffs, and duties. It helps to have an understanding of a foreign country or language to start with.
- Figure out what you will sell.
Outline the products you plan to sell including whether you will manufacture them yourself or purchase the goods wholesale. There is no set guide for determining exactly to sell, except for that you will need to beat out both other exporters of that good and domestic producers in the country you are selling to. Your product must be unique, lower-priced, or of a higher quality than competing products to do well in a foreign market.
- Identify your target market.
First, you’ll need to identify who exactly you will be selling to. Think about who would be interested in buying your product. This can be consumers, retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, governments, or another foreign entity. If you’re already in business domestically, you should pursue customers in the same industry first. Work with your domestic colleagues to see if they have any contacts overseas and use any connections you can make to your advantage. Try to locate a market in which your business would have a price or efficiency advantage over local alternatives. You can study your chosen market or markets by visiting trade shows, conferences, and missions. These events will allow you to meet prospective agents or partners and also to check in on your competition. Don’t bother with hosting a booth, instead just walk around and get a feel for the market.
Part of your market identification process should also be to assess the inter-country payment processes and currency differences. In other words, make sure you can safely receive payment from the target country and look out for favorable exchange rates.
- Understand your target consumer.
Research their needs and gauge their desire for your product. Your market should be relatively easy to identify after you decide what type of products you will sell; however, in some cases, you may need to alter your product offerings to meet their needs. This will take some trial and error, along with a bit of foreign customer interaction either online or on the ground. Try using research to get a clearer view of the following: Your product’s applications and marketability in the target country.
Your target end-user (who will actually use your products) and their needs.
The status of the target country’s economy and its citizens’ purchasing habits.
How exactly you can enter the market (through distributors, wholesalers, retailers, etc.)
You should also study the culture and ethics of your target market. This will help you in negotiations and meetings with prospective buyers. Try locating websites or books that will help you with your specific market’s culture.
There are a number of trade and industry publications that deal with international trade. Study market reports, financial news, and foreign newspapers as well. Anywhere you think you can get a lead or business idea is worth reading.
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