4 essential export tactics to help you conquer new markets

You’re new to export, and you’re determined to identify lucrative markets for your wares. But where do you start? Exporting can be a daunting task, with countless rules, regulations and laws to take into account as well as cultural differences and language barriers. You don’t want to miss out on the potentially massive opportunities export delivers to growing businesses. But you need good advice. Here are some essential tips to send you in the right direction.

1. Build a solid business case founded on research
You could stick your finger in the air and guess. But that’s a great way to court disaster. While you may think you have a keen instinct, great gut feelings, you don’t. None of us do. Humans are fatally flawed that way. And that’s why research matters. It’s factual, it’s based on numbers, and you can’t argue with it. The results of research are true, whether you believe them or not. Research removes the considerable risk of guesswork.

You need to spend time learning about your export market, and you do that in three steps: identify, assess, sell. You pin down the market potential, learn how to export legally, then identify the best sales channels and verticals to operate in.

How do you get that essential insight? It’s all about big data these days, and big data analysis provides some remarkable eye-openers, wisdom you could never have predicted. You could, for example, examine and analyse a trusted, comprehensive Hong Kong company database to see which competing players operate in the market you want to export to, or actually create a database of contacts to gently warm into actual prospects.

You also need to understand the unique export requirements and regulations that apply to the market, and do it well before you begin selling there. It’s much better to be prepared in advance than be sued!

2. Pick the exporting experts’ brains
Thank goodness for the internet, through which you can contact all sorts of useful people, those who have already blazed an export trail, know the country and market intimately, have the right contacts, and understand the complexities and tax ramifications of the whole thing. Building cordial relationships with experts in your sector and the wider exporting community should prove invaluable. After all, why reinvent the wheel?

3. Experience the export destination for yourself
It makes a lot of sense to get familiar with the country or countries you want to export to on a personal basis. When you’ve actually been there, smelled it, tasted it, travelled through it and talked to some of the people there, it becomes a lot more real. It’s surprising how much you can find out by being there, on the ground, absorbing the feel of the business scene and the potential impact of your marketing messages. Try to actually see how your goods will be used there, and by whom. Sense-check the customer benefits of your product or service – does it really meet their needs, aspirations and expectations? This is the kind of insight it’s often impossible to get remotely, and it’ll stand you in very good stead.

4. The money bit – Get your prices and costings right
The price you charge in your home market might not be the ideal price point for your new export market. You need to confirm prices are right, finding out whether they’re competitive or not, and identifying the actual, final cost to your customers. Is the profit margin big enough for you, will you make a decent ROI? If you’re selling wholesale into an export market, bear in mind you’ll need different price points than selling direct to consumers or B2B contacts. And, importantly, will exporting affect your overall capacity Will the extra demand mean you need more, new or better infrastructure at your end? And what kind of financing will you need, if any?

Evaluate, evaluate, then evaluate again
The more aspects of the export process and procedure that you evaluate at the start, the fewer risks you’ll face and the greater your chances of success. Never cut corners. Every minute spent researching matters.

Fully understanding every aspect of exporting means you’ll be able to tackle it with the right level of confidence, knowing that as long as you tick all the right boxes, export success can be yours.

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