Unspoken Rules Every New Exporter Must Follow
Export is a lucrative domain as it opens immense opportunities for revenue growth and expansion. But newbies often find the prospect daunting because they believe exporting is only for the established players. However, the truth is that the export market has enough space to accommodate new businesses. A small or mid-sized organization has as much chance as a big brand. You only need to opt for a country with high demand and low competition in your niche to get a good start.
The good thing is that the export process is far more streamlined than ever due to the advent of the internet and improved logistics services. Moreover, there are plenty of success stories to inspire you as a beginner in the export domain. You only need to follow some basics to get a head start and stay on track. A few more tips can take you the extra mile. Let us share the unspoken rules every new exporter must follow.
Rule #1- Make a commitment
As a beginner, you may encounter numerous challenges, from establishing a new distribution channel to beating the existing competition and redesigning packaging. The process often takes a couple of years, so overnight success is the last thing you should expect. Moreover, you will probably make some mistakes in the initial phase, no matter how well-prepared you are to enter a foreign market. It is easy to feel intimidated by these mistakes, but learning from them is the better way to handle things. Make a commitment to stay until you gain footing, regardless of the challenges and setbacks you face along the way.
Rule #2- Dig deep with extensive research
Successful exporters invest time and money in extensive research instead of diving head first. You must understand the nitty-gritty of expanding your markets by selling in other countries. Besides digging deep into the export process, you must do in-depth research on potential markets every time you plan to pick a new one. Pay attention to factors like demand, local culture and regulations, tariffs and duties, domestic and international competition, and customer expectations. Create an international marketing plan that addresses all potential issues you may face, from new competitors to unique labeling requirements.
Rule #3- Line up experts
As a rule, you must avoid going alone when starting your journey. Lining up experts to handle the complicated aspects of exports is an excellent idea. In fact, you can collaborate with a trusted team of experts to rely on throughout your business lifespan. Look for experts to help with issues such as international contracts, export documentation, and letters of credit. A customs broker can help you handle tariffs and taxes and even claim a duty drawback on exports down the line. You will also need an attorney and a freight forwarder on your team. Develop a mix of expertise in-house and outsourced specialists.
Rule #4- Set aside resources
Foraying into a new market requires resources like time and money, so you must set aside enough to get a good start. Having a steady revenue stream and a viable track record of domestic growth makes you a great candidate for export. But you will still have to handle a steep learning curve once you enter an overseas market. New requirements can emerge, and you may have to rework in-house procedures to address them. Most business owners have to reallocate resources from local opportunities to international ones to succeed with the export division.
Rule #5- Focus your efforts
Another unspoken rule to make it big as an exporter is to focus your effort on one area first before going too big. Although the prospect of picking multiple overseas markets is alluring for a newbie, it is the last thing you should do. Start with a single market, learn from the experience, and apply the knowledge to new markets. Opting for one that is closer to home is a good option. For example, American exporters can begin by exploring Canada as their first international market and gradually move to the EU. Since consumer expectations and customs tend to be similar in neighboring countries, you can expect a smooth start.
Although entering the export industry has a fair share of challenges, the opportunity makes it worthwhile. Moreover, following this simple checklist is enough to begin confidently and navigate the road without stressing about the hindrances. Commitment is crucial to stay afloat in the competitive domain. Likewise, you must choose your first market wisely because it is your learning ground. Talk to experts and get insights to make the journey a smooth one.