If you want to export your products to the international marketplace, keep in mind you need to implement 12 steps.
1. Begin on a small scale in an English-speaking country.
Unless you speak other languages fluently, begin in a nation where English is spoken. Identify the country where your product will be in demand.
2. Do your research.
An excellent Web site to start your research is the Department of Commerce. First impressions are an important genesis for reputation management.
Study the demographics of the culture and learn it.
Understand the region’s customs in dress, hospitality and salutation. Learn the business practices, and legal issues.
You’ll want to check for a good transportation system and a reliable banking system.
Learn which companies are winning and losing. Study the competition. Strategize how you will market your brand.
3. Do an analysis of your brand.
Determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each potential market. Identify what will work to effectively implement your company’s story.
4. Contemplate e-commerce.
Internet sales are the quickest way to start. Your Web site should be welcoming to the countries to which you’ll ship.
5. Take a trip.
6. Employ a guide.
The U.S. Embassy can likely help you find someone who knows your industry to help you knock on the right doors.
7. Look for strategic partners.
Do your due diligence in determining what you need in agents, bankers, brokers and distributors.
8. Cultivate and maintain solid relationships.
Stay in communication with your stakeholders. Phone and e-mail will not suffice. Use online video conferencing. At this writing, affordable and convenient tools are Cisco WebEx and Skype. For the best-possible pictures, consider LifeSize‘s high definition service.
9. Money matters.
Be sure to bank with a financial institution that has an international trade department. You should be able to get help on details such as reference-checking and payment methods.
10. Be amenable to ideas.
Your foreign partners will probably make suggestions on your marketing, products, sales and service. Listen carefully and act.
11. Going global shouldn’t just be a plan B.
You must be committed to devoting enough effort, resources and time for a strong commitment. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.
12. If you expand to a non English-speaking country, speak the language.
That means all your materials should be accurately translated in accordance with the country’s customs and culture.
From the Coach’s Corner, see these related articles:
Optional Strategies for International Trade – Companies engaged in international trade should carefully review their strategies when doing business abroad. Author and consultant, Seena Sharp, provides her competitive-intelligence analysis on maximizing revenue from trade in the European Union.
Are You up-to-date on Opportunities in Emerging Markets? Why Many Managers Aren’t – Seventy-six percent of business managers at global companies don’t have information for their needs – even though it’s necessary for productive decisions in expanding into emerging markets. Some 86 percent agree that data – market sizing and growth estimates – is vital. However, only 24 percent say the information isn’t available at their companies.
Best Practices for Many Companies Failing to Capitalize on Business Intelligence – A large number of business intelligence (BI) users admit they don’t effectively use it to identify and create opportunities for sustainable growth, according to a study. Their honesty isn’t surprising, but the high level of misused BI is.
11 Travel Tips – Save Money, Prevent against Cyber Theft, Fraud – The most vulnerable travelers are businesspeople. That’s because they have to use Internet and e-mail. They’re in danger expressly from vulnerabilities, such as from wirelessly accessible passports to using WIFI. To save you from aggravation and money losses, here are 11 quick tips.
“For the only way in which a durable peace can be created is by world-wide restoration of economic activity and international trade.”