Five Tips for SMEs Looking To Export Overseas:
Since 2008, governments, think tanks and business leaders have stressed the importance of manufacturing in the UK in aiding economic recovery and kick starting steady, sustainable growth. As SMEs make up over 98% of the country's businesses and the financial industry is going through a challenging transitional period, people are increasingly pinning their hopes on small manufacturing companies.
Whilst manufacturing for domestic trade is certainly an ingredient to the success of such SMEs, it is exporting overseas that can often make the difference between a small business’s fortunes. Moreover, with a global population able to access the internet and tools such as a business trading directory, foreign markets have never been so reachable.
There is no escaping the fact, however, that starting up an overseas exporting operation is a daunting task. Here are five tips for SMEs looking to export overseas.
1. Understand the culture of the country to which you are exporting:
Arguably one of the most important parts of exporting overseas, understanding the culture of your customers is essential if you are to build a successful exporting operation.
Exporting champagne truffles to a highly Muslim country is a trivial but useful example to demonstrate how a product could be doomed to failure before it even leaves your warehouse. The same stands for marketing and advertising, as well as the timing you launch your product and go to market.
2. Monitor transport costs closely:
Transport costs can be the difference between a lucrative contract and a failed business idea, particularly if you are shipping goods around the world. Distribution centres need to be optimally located with consideration paid to transport costs as well as tax and tariffs.
Regular reviews of transport costs should be conducted to ensure expenditure is kept to a minimum.
3. Investigate import and export tariffs carefully:
Exporting to countries outside of the EU can mean they are subject to import tariffs that make your product completely uneconomical. Before targeting a new market ensure you understand the tax and tariff laws or risk crippling charges on your exports.
4. Know your own products strengths and weaknesses as well as your competitor’s:
By completely understanding your own product your company can ensure it will function and meet customer requirements in the country to which you are exporting. Pay particularly attention to the environment and temperature of the new market.
Moreover, it is important to understand local competition to your product. Often, local businesses can produce products far cheaper and so it is imperative to compete on quality as well as price.
5. Utilise the Internet:
The internet is a powerful, powerful tool and any exporting business should be utilising it to its full potential. From a business trading directory to marketing and search engine optimisation, there are countless tools and methods companies can exploit.
In addition, take the time to carefully construct and optimise your website in English but also the language of the countries to which you are exporting. Not only does this give the impression of quality professionalism, it lets potential customers know that you are a company that values their culture and country.
Exporting overseas can be a daunting task for any small company. Here are five useful tips for helping SMEs set up their exporting operations.