Are your export concerns realistic?
If you’re an established B2B company looking to go international, or you’re just embarking on your global start-up journey, you’re bound to have spent some time weighing up the pros and cons of exporting. According to the OECD, the facts are that 40% of European SMEs agree that there is a whole world of customers waiting to be reached, and that almost 60% are excited about the potential of their business to go global. So what’s holding SMEs back?
Breaking into wider overseas markets isn’t easy but the good news is that support does exist and it is designed to enable both SMEs and start-ups to develop into international businesses.
Concern 1: It’s too risky
A small business or start-up looking for opportunities within the international market may sound like a risky endeavor, but what many business owners don’t realise is that by operating in only one market, they are already taking a huge risk. If you consider the value of exports has grown by almost a third in the last twelve years, there are numerous revenue streams your business is already missing out on by choosing the not export.
Thanks to advancements in technology, growing your presence in foreign markets has also become far less risky. Today B2B online marketing is much easier, and small businesses can compete with large corporations if they adopt the right approach to digital marketing such as implementing effective techniques for the management of SEO, social media and digital advertising.
Exporting also provides you with growth opportunities you may not have thought of. Whereas you may not be able to take advantage of certain markets domestically, there are plenty of emerging markets abroad. Those new markets have led to increased demand for infrastructure, large residential constructions, building materials and even forklifts. In fact, the global forklift industry is set to be worth just shy of $56 billion by 2021, a rise of 7% in just 7 years. Those type of rises can be seen across emerging markets, meaning if you have a product or a service that can help facilitate market expansion, exporting could see you take advantage of growing demand.
Growth in demand is being replicated across countless industries and sectors – so if you’ve been holding back thinking it’s too risky, perhaps it’s too risky not to export.
Concern 2: It’s too expensive
It’s no secret that start-ups and SMEs operate on limited budgets. As such, they tend to think that the costs of exporting are too high for their structures to afford. There are, however, a number of possible solutions that can help reduce the initial outlay.
A B2B company should consider its go-global strategy a long-term investment. A report by FedEx found that the European SMEs which export are much more positive about the future of their business, proving that their long-term approach can prove dividends as long as patience is exercised.
There are plenty of cost effective ways to launch your business in a new market. First off, start by reaching out to agents and representatives. Using agents with a good list of contacts will drastically speed up the process of getting your products in front of key buyers, and with most agents and representatives paid on commission, you’ll only be paying out a percentage of what you sell.
Another way to reduce the cost of exporting is by partnering up with another firm. Having a partner business gives you access to technology and new customers, which means you can pool resources and drastically cut down on your setup costs.
Concern 3: Cultural and language barriers
One of the biggest export barriers business owners face is language and culture, but with good support, especially in the form of local contacts, this obstacle can be overcome.
Using good local contacts who are familiar with the market will ensure you have a team ready to translate, conduct any negotiations on your behalf and even ensuring your offering is in line with market standards and regulations.
Research will also help. Simply getting to know your audience and the way they do business will go a long way to ensuring your product or service is adapted for export success.
Preparing your web presence for new markets will also combat language and cultural barriers. Effective SEO research into what keywords rank high in your target markets will ensure your website attracts the right kind of traffic.
Concern 4: You have no contacts
The lack of contacts is quite often among the major export concerns business owners have and can seem like a particularly big obstacle especially if you’re a start-up going abroad.
To help you find these contacts is one of the key reasons why the Kompass B2B Online Directory exists. With 11 million businesses from all over the world listed, including 2.5 million executive emails and more than 12 million phone numbers, this extensive directory connects you with contacts that can take your business to the next level in key markets. From there, all you have to do is to create your own database of potential customers filled with qualified contacts and start building your organized network to turn your export efforts into a success.
Concern 5: Nobody knows your company
Most marketplaces are crowded, making it hard for your voice to be heard. If you have ambitions of becoming an exporting B2B company, you need to do something in order to stand out from the crowd. Thanks to online tools, even the smallest businesses can grow their presence abroad for relatively little outlay.
Digital advertising allows you to target potential buyers, suppliers or partners in the right markets. Within the B2B context, online promotion is often overlooked, but if you advertise in the right place, you can put your products or services directly in front of key buyers within your sector.
Depends on your business objectives, Kompass offers a range of digital advertising solutions that can help you reach plenty of B2B professionals in more than 60 countries across the globe. With millions of professionals using the Kompass site every month (+7,3 million unique visitors monthly), your business can take advantage of active target audiences and speak directly to them in their language. You can choose from setting up a boosted company profile with showcasing all your products translated into 25 languages (Booster) and/or opting for Display advertising (local or international) to specific country-targeted campaigns with guaranteed minimum results (Booster Click). Click here to get more information!
Ultimately digital advertising, used in combination with your SEO research, will ensure you deliver the right message and get qualified click-throughs to your landing page or website, helping you build up your leads and enhance your brand image.
Almost 40% of European SMEs are internationally inactive, meaning they are saying goodbye to €647,000 annually which exporting can bring to the business – and with greater positivity surrounding the SMEs that do export.
The fact is that no matter how small your business is, it can hugely benefit from accessing international markets. Exporting not only means diversifying your revenue streams and creating higher demand, but it also means future-proofing your business.
Another often overlooked benefit is that exporting can be a source of real business expansion for your company. When you enter new markets, you learn new ways of doing business. Adapting to new markets and embracing different business methods will boost creativity and innovation within your company and thus further drive success.
Despite the advantages, almost 40% of European SMEs are internationally inactive, meaning they are saying goodbye to €647,000 annually which exporting can bring to the business – and with greater positivity surrounding the SMEs that do export, the risks associated with exporting are greatly outweighed by the benefits.
To get started on preparing your business for the international market, be sure to read our e-book ‘How to promote your company abroad without breaking the bank’. Packed full of useful information and tips, it will help you create a plan for ensuring your export efforts are successful.
International trade statistics: Trends in first quarter 2017 – OECD for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organisation with 35 member- countries.
European SME Exporting Insights – UPS
Top 20 export countries worldwide in 2017 – Statista
Global construction machinery market size by region – Statista ￼
Global forklit market- MMH
Key industry sectors for global growth – UHY