By Jerry Mooney
One of the wonders of the Internet is that it has opened up foreign markets to almost every business. You can start a small company in your home town and end up shipping goods to India or Australia. The world is your oyster - but are you taking advantage? We’re going to take a look at some of the things you should be thinking about if you want to sell abroad. Let’s get started with finding the right opportunity.
How to spot potential
When you are checking your website analytics, do you notice a lot of interest from particular countries? Or, maybe, you have even sold something and exported it already? If so, you should be turning this into an opportunity. Drill down and find out more about who and where these visitors are coming from. Which products are they interested in? What keywords did they use to find your site?
The next step is to find out a little more about the local competition. People might be visiting your site from abroad for several reasons. You might be offering something that they can’t access - but you need to make sure. Make thorough checks on the product and services you offer and see if that location offers anything similar. If you find nothing, you might be on for a win.
Start pitching your business
Next, try marketing directly to local businesses or people that might be interested in your product. You can do this with email blasts, or even just adapt your website a little to meet their needs. If there is genuine interest, you should start making sales fairly quickly.
Learn the basics of exporting goods abroad
Exporting products can be a complicated business - if you let it. However, you should be able to navigate through the enormous levels of export taxes, regulations, and customs with the right help. You don't have to learn everything yourself. There are plenty of export consultants out there that can help. And if you are exporting B2B, the other party should be able to give you some good advice.
Learn how to strike the best deals
The key to success in selling abroad is to offer your foreign customers a great deal. It's likely this will involve sending over in bulk, as it will cut your shipping costs by a significant amount. The problem is that you will then need to think about finding a distributor, which, in turn, will involve issues like offering credit. It's simple when you are trading in the same country - you just exchange contracts and away you go. But abroad? It's a different story. Look around for a guide to trade finance for exporters and take some time out to reach out to your network. Some of them might be exporting as you read this and could furnish you with some first class advice.
Set up a foreign office?
If sales are booming, you could consider moving office to the country where you are enjoying success. Obviously, this is a big step - and many pitfalls could block your passage. But it makes sense to follow the money, right? Best of luck!