Starting to Export – Top Tips


What should I consider when looking to sell abroad?

Selling internationally is a complex task, but, as with most new situations in life, it is easier with the right help and preparation in advance.

In fact, before seeking the appropriate help with your foreign trade promoter or a consultant, it is recommended that you carry out a preliminary investigation, which allows you to map these five important aspects. Start yourself, doing basic searches on the Internet and inquiring with close people who know those market cultures. This will allow you to map the necessary route first-hand and prepare you to interact with potential consultants or the foreign trade promotion agencies themselves.

The first recommendation, although it seems obvious, is better to remember. Identify a target market where you want to export and focus only on that. That is, do not try to learn or venture to export to several regions at the same time. Now, having this defined, do your homework.

  • Information about the target market: To understand the new target market, you must research not only the figures and statistics of the Gross Domestic Product of that country or region, but also define who you are going to sell to. What is the company culture, from business cards to appropriate clothing? How do they do business and what will you need to change or adapt to operate in this market? What motivates them to buy your products or services? Are there similar solutions in that market?
  • Price variables: Seek to understand all the factors that can affect the pricing scheme of your product or service in that target market. Which tax factors are in that market? What is the local Value Added Tax? How many days does it take to pay? Which payment method do they use? and, how much does it cost? Which currency do they use? and, how can you plan to mitigate the risks involved in selling in this currency?
  • Product design / presentation variables: You must clearly understand what you are required to adapt in your product or supply or how many modifications you may need to be accepted in that market. Does the color offend anyone? or does it mean something? Red is lucky in China, but what does it mean in other markets? Translations are important: is it legal for me to operate in my language? Does your product use electrical voltage? Will the cost of these modifications make selling in this market prohibitive? Remember, it is much easier to satisfy a demand than to try to create one.
  • Regarding assertive and empathetic communication: Find out what language they speak in that market and delve into the terminology and jargon of the sector. Prepare yourself to be able to communicate in that market. Ideally, you should hire a professional translator / interpreter to help you through the process. Even if you speak the language of the appropriate region, remember that if it is not your native language, you should seek advice from a language service professional.
  • About your trade name, slogans and advertising material: Can you use it in its current format? What does it mean locally? Check its meaning in the language of that market. Also, and most importantly, are there the same or similar trade names or brands locally? Is someone else already using it? Review the market attitude towards copyrights, design rights and trademarks. Find ways to mitigate the risk. Or, maybe it would better not to start selling in this market, and; choose a different one.
  • Logistical aspects: How are you going to deliver your product? Does the packaging protect and attract attention at the point of sale. What is the infrastructure like away from major cities, not just the highway system for the delivery of physical products but also broadband? Would the lack of broadband jeopardize the delivery of your offering or the support for your customers or business partners? Which other areas would this affect?
Identify the correlations of your research results

There are many more issues and concerns related to international selling that are overlooked, jeopardizing sustainability and, more importantly, making a profit from the sale.

Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes when exporting.

The time and money you spend on this preliminary research will help you reduce the risk in your drive to enter that market and increase your chance of success, effectiveness, efficiency, and possible profitability. And most importantly, you can considerably reduce your time to market and avoid mistakes that can cause you to lose time, money and reputation.