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Exporting Made Simple

Businesses considering exporting their products often talk themselves out of it because they think it’s all too difficult. But exporting is a lot easier than most businesses at first imagine, providing that a few simple ‘rules’ are observed. First, let’s remove some common myths about exporting.

Myth number 1 – You have to be big to succeed

The majority of companies exporting have fewer than 100 employees and are classified as ‘small businesses’. There are many factors more important than a company’s size that will determine whether or not it will succeed as an exporter.

Myth number 2 – It takes a lot of specialized staff

It’s easy to get into exporting through a third party that specializes in exporting products on behalf of manufacturers. This is a good way to ‘test the waters’ and gain an idea of the product’s export potential.

Myth number 3 – It has to be a high-volume product

The product’s volume is irrelevant as long as it’s sufficient to meet the needs of the marketplace to which it’s exported. Quality, pricing and dependability of supply are much more important. By exporting to a country where the level of competition is significantly lower than in the ‘home’ market a rapid growth in volume can be achieved within relatively short time.

Myth number 4 – Business is transacted in foreign languages

A surprising number of people in most other countries are competent in English. More important, however, is that document translations are readily available and language is no barrier to exporting. Using correct language is usually an essential only for packaging and instructions for use.

Myth number 5 – It takes a special kind of product

If a product is successful in its home market it has a good chance of succeeding elsewhere without modifications. Even products past their market ‘peak’ at home can sell well in countries where the market’s at a less mature stage, making it possible to greatly extend a good product’s life cycle.

Having put these myths to rest, let’s now take a brief look at what it takes to do to become a successful exporter. The first thing it takes is a commitment in terms of both management time and money. A business that exports is not just expanding its current market; it’s entering a new one.

A company that wants to export its products must first clearly define its goals and develop a comprehensive marketing plan that covers every detail of the proposed operations, including selection of overseas sales representatives and distributors. Especially important is to be sure to allocate an adequate part of existing resources to support the overseas sales efforts.

Next it has to undertake a study of the markets into which it intends to export. It shouldn’t try to take on the world all at once; it’s more important to concentrate on getting established in just one or two overseas markets before trying to expand further.

It should consider using an export management company that can help with all the issues concerning research, promotion and distribution of products overseas. They can make an entry into foreign markets a lot easier and more than offset their expenses with sales success as a result.

Governments at state and federal levels are also glad to help exporters enter overseas markets, so they should be contacted when making export planning decisions. Any business wanting to export products to other countries will discover there are many sources of assistance for every step of the way.

There is one especially critical area that causes many export ventures to fail and that’s currency transactions. Exchange rates can fluctuate and make the actual value of a contract significantly different from when it was signed. Businesses should seek expert advice in how to cover themselves against these fluctuations before concluding any financial agreements.

Article courtesy of RAN ONE: http://www.ranone.com/Press_Room/news.asp?ID=4013

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