Cracking new international markets can seem complicated but if you approach the task logically, research and take the following things into account getting it right should be much easier and is more likely to reap benefits:
1. International from the beginning
If your business ambitions are international, then it is worth thinking about it from the very beginning, at the stage when you are planning or designing your product or service together with your name, brand and logo. Many products or services are not fit for international markets, so if it is possible design them so that they appeal to international audiences and that you don’t need to resort to costly modifications at a later time.
2. Research is the king of it all
Researching your market is yet another crucial element. Doing your international market homework can save you a lot of time, money and effort later. Make sure you look into the market structure, saturation, competition, customer preferences, business customs, import obligations, local regulations and infrastructure. All of these factors and many more which are typically market-specific may have a substantial impact on your business and your success overseas.
3. Patience is a virtue in international trade.
You are looking to build presence in what essentially is a new, unknown place for you so allowing more time for making things happen is key. There are markets and cultures where selling your product/service is only secondary and business is done after trust and loyalty have been built and the relationship has been tested.
4. Reach out in the local language.
Although you may not know the local language of the country you are targeting you are targeting, make sure your marketing merchandise and packaging are using the local language and have been translated by a professional. It is proven that companies achieve better results if they sell in the target-country language.
5. Make sure you get paid.
International finance transactions come with higher risk level which is why it is so important to understand how and when you are going to get paid and what you can do to minimise the risk. Advice in this field is plentiful so don’t be afraid to reach out to your bank, local Chambers, financial advisers and the Department for international Trade (DIT) who will all offer invaluable advice. Forewarned is forearmed.
6. Don’t spread yourself too thinly.
Prioritise markets for your products or services and look at one market at a time.
7. Get your export documentation right.
Getting it wrong could generate unnecessary costs and jeopardise your transactions. Most local Chambers of Commerce should be able to help you with your export documentation.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are so many organisations that have the international knowledge and the expertise that you need and utilising their experience could be game-changing for you.
9. Speak to your peers!
DIT have recently launched a new local peer-to-peer initiative called the Export Exchange. The network unites exporters from the Leeds City region who ‘have been there and done it’ and who are willing to share their know-how and international trade insight with you. Tap into the network now.
10. Just go for it!
Overcome your fears, reach out for help in areas where you’ve got doubts and need support, research diligently and then make the first international step albeit a small one . The export world is really your oyster!
If you’re looking for free, impartial and confidential help with your exports, please contact Department for International Trade. Our experts will offer the advice and help you need to start selling overseas.
This blog was provided by Anna Parker, Export Coordinator for the Department for International Trade
In her role, Anna looks after export partner and intermediary relations in the Leeds City Region.
Prior to this role, Anna completed MSc in International Business Management and MA in English studies specialising in Intercultural Communication. She then worked in a number of international sales and marketing roles facilitating companies’ growth in target markets across the world.