Over The Pond: A Basic Guide to International Exporting for Small Businesses

A Basic Guide to International Trade for Import and Export Businesses

Kompass International

By Kompass International

If you’re considering opening up to new markets overseas, you’re going to need to read this. Here’s a guide to int’l trade for import and export businesses.

Large as it is, even China contains less than 20% of the world’s population.

If your small business is exclusive to only one country, you may be missing out on a lot of opportunities to sell your goods to consumers around the globe.

However, expanding your small business can be difficult as there are already a number of import and export businesses operating internationally. For that reason, starting off right may determine your success in crossing the pond.

Keep reading to learn more about how to export your small business products to reach a global consumer base.

Why Export

Before we jump into the process, let’s look at a few reasons why you would want to start exporting your company’s goods and services. These are all ways exporting can increase your bottom line.

Take Advantage of Other Seasons

In addition to the international holidays where you can do well in any market, there are other holidays and seasons you can use to your advantage as an international business.

For example, summer comes in July and August across most of North America, but in the sub-tropics, it’s always hot. So, if you sell anything for hot months, you’ll have a year-round market closer to the equator.

Maximize Your Production Potential

If you’re manufacturing products, you already know that the more you make at one time, the better deal you can get on raw materials and from the factory costs.

However, you can only store so many products at once. Unless, of course, you’re exporting a large quantity of them. Then you can start ordering in larger quantities and lower your manufacturing costs.

Increase Value of Intellectual Property

As you license your intellectual property in various countries, it’s value increases. If you ever decide to sell your company, this will help you fetch a significantly higher sale price.

How to Start Exporting

Now, let’s go through the specific steps you’ll need to follow to start exporting goods or services to businesses around the world.

Step 1: Market Research

This is the most important step, and skipping it could spell out disaster later down the road. You need to know which markets are going to be most receptive to your products and how to target those markets.

If your products or services aren’t going to be culturally-acceptable in a certain region, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and money by avoiding them completely.

Something else to consider when doing market research is the culture you’ll be communicating with. For example, most of the successful businessmen in Japan are older.

In Japan, titles are extremely important, and you use different ones based on the age and position of the person you’re speaking to. If you use the wrong title, it’s considered rude and you’ll likely lose respect and business.

Step 2: License Products

Once you’ve started to identify your ideal market, you can decide which countries you want to begin with. From there, you’ll want to license your products for those countries.

Always work with a legal team to ensure you’re doing everything by the books. Skipping something could cause some serious issues, so you need to make sure your products and business name are all protected.

Step 3: Prepare Your Website

Your website is an essential aspect of your business. It’s how other businesses find you and determine if they want to buy your product or service. To reach an international market, you need to grow your web presence globally.

If your website is already ranking high in search engines for phrases in English, that’s great but not particularly helpful in a foreign market. For that reason, you have to completely translate your website to target new keywords.

Before you jump into hiring a translation service, make sure your website is fully ready to be translated. Mistakes in formatting or broken links will end up on your translated pages, so everything should be perfect first.

Step 4: Translate Your Website

Something important to keep in mind when having your website translated is that you don’t want to go with the cheapest available service. Many of the low-cost translation services use computer-generated text rather than real humans.

There are so many reasons to use real people for translation that it’s hard to list them all. However, the most important reason is that you’re guaranteed an accurate translation of the concepts rather than words.

Idioms and other phrases that make perfect sense in English do not always translate well to another language. A language expert will understand the meaning behind your words and translate according to that so it makes sense for a new audience.

You may also want to work with a company or individual that deals specifically with businesses and who understands SEO. This will allow you to immediately have your website ready to start being found in new languages.

Step 5: Begin Marketing

Using your market research as a guide, start marketing your products or services to your new potential customers. How exactly you do this will vary greatly depending on your type of business.

Producers of products may need to go directly to existing stores or through distribution centers to get your physical products into the hands of your customers.

If you have digital goods or services, on the other hand, you’ll likely continue to market directly to other business owners. Use your existing marketing strategy with adjustments made for cultural differences to get the most out of marketing.

Don’t forget while marketing to frequently check your data to see what’s working and what’s not working. The sooner you identify issues with marketing campaigns, the sooner you can resolve them.

Get a Jump on Other Import and Export Businesses

Now you know how to start exporting goods or services from your small business so you can take the world by storm. As you can see, there’s a lot of work that goes into making the leap across the pond, but it’s worth it.

If you want to get ahead of other import and export businesses, be sure to check out our Easy Business Sale Accelerator. It’s a great tool that will help put you on the fast track to international business success.

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