For certain small and medium enterprises (SME), international markets are part of everyday life right from the start: they are said to be born global. For others, achieving a strong share of the local market eventually leads them to grow beyond their borders.
No matter the reasons why they export their goods and services, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of success in international markets with a few well-thought-out strategies.
Below, GoExport offers you its top tips to make your business successful abroad.
Are you really ready?
Before going down the international road, it is crucial to carefully analyze your situation. As a leader, you not only have to think about your company’s target markets, but you also have to consider the actual state of your business.
“What matters most before launching into international markets is the financial and human resources available in your company,” explains Louis-Philippe Bourgeois, Co-Founder and Vice-President of GoExport.
– Do you have the budget to complete the project?
– Do you have enough personnel and stable internal processes?
– Do you know how this new market will affect your products and services?
– Are you sure that you have the production capacity to satisfy increased demand from international markets?
– Is your company ready to deal with issues related to distance and time difference?
– Do you have the necessary expertise to undertake such an important move?
According to Louis-Philippe, on top of doing market research, entrepreneurs also have to understand what impact exporting would have on how their business works. In other words, they must go beyond understanding just their target market.
Subtleties to consider
Once the move is judged to be realistic for the SME, its managers must learn as much as they can about their new market. You cannot improvise when it comes to exporting.
In particular, it is essential to learn about the regulations governing the target market. “It is one of the first steps in putting together an export plan,” confirms the specialist in implantation strategy and market development.
In international markets, company leaders must understand the legal context of their activities, which includes regulations regarding taxation, quotas, required certifications, labelling and any trade agreements, etc.
Even though it is impossible to plan everything, acquiring as much information as possible helps to minimize any potential problems related to your international activities.
A SME must also be aware of the realities of the market it wishes to penetrate. Among other things, you should be familiar with its culture, religion, language and the value attached to interpersonal relationships.
Evolving with the market
Understanding a new market doesn’t mean memorizing regulations, but rather being open to what sets it apart. By changing your company’s approach somewhat, it will be easier to build lasting business relationships.
“When exporting, a SME must accept and integrate certain ways of doing things that are different than the local norm, and remain open to this on an ongoing basis,” insists Louis-Philippe.
To illustrate his point, Louis-Philippe uses the example of the company Ver-Mac, a GoExport client. Its ability to adapt to international markets, specifically through revising its purchasing processes and creating innovative work tools, has resulted in its revenues exploding over the last ten years.
In reality, this can manifest itself in a variety of ways. For example, in certain regions of the work, you can develop close relationships with your new collaborators who value this type of partnership.
Choosing the right players
Even if your SME sells exceptional technology or products, achieving success in international markets remains complex. Surrounding yourself with the best people to support this move is all the more important.
Internally, you have several questions to ask yourself well before the first sales are concluded:
– Who is the appropriate manager to head up the project?
– Which team members can support them in their quest for a return on investment?
– Is additional staff required?
Once your internal structure is defined, choose experienced external partners. Export specialists like those at GoExport provide you with essential resources to reduce your financial risks and your time to market.
For example, partnering with experts speeds up the creation of your international distribution network by helping you find the best local distributor for you. Meanwhile, you can remain focused on your goods and services, team and overall goals.
One thing is sure, starting with a clear plan and timetable saves a lot of time and money for SMEs wishing to export.
“To begin your export project, explore an unknown market or simply better organize yourself to succeed abroad, structuring your actions strategically is key,” says Louis-Philippe.
Contact the GoExport team for individual support in your export efforts.
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GoExport contributes in SMEs’ growth by commercialising their goods and services on international markets.