- Make a Commitment
Businesses new to exporting can expect to face numerous challenges such as redesigning packaging or establishing a new distribution channel. The whole process usually takes time—often two to three years to establish a foothold. No matter how prepared businesses are to enter an overseas market, they initially will make mistakes. It’s important that top management understands this because, without that strong backing, there may be a tendency to pull back at the slightest sign of a setback.
- Do Your Research
Many companies spend more time and money researching how to expand their existing domestic market than on how to sell in another country. To be successful overseas, do some research on potential markets. Which countries are leading suppliers or leading importers of your products? Which countries have the lowest duties? Write an international marketing plan, but whatever strategy you choose, address a range of potential issues from unique labeling requirements to new competitors.
- Focus Your Efforts
In creating any new process, it’s best to focus on one area first. Likewise, many successful exporters began by selling in just one overseas market, learning from that experience, and then applying that knowledge to new international markets.
- Set Aside Resources
Entering new markets requires resources—primarily time and money. Companies in the best position to export already have an established track record of domestic growth and a steady revenue stream. When you enter an overseas market, you’ll have a steep learning curve. Often, new requirements and in-house procedures can range from how goods are packaged to how sales orders are processed. For many companies, gearing up a business to export means having to reallocate resources from domestic business opportunities.
- Increase Your Company’s Export Knowledge
Look for opportunities to develop and expand the export knowledge of your staff. Work toward credentials to ensure you develop a baseline of skills. For exporting companies, encourage staff to attain the Certified Global Business Professional credential.