For small businesses, international markets can present some exciting and very lucrative opportunities. Looking at worldwide trade is like peeping through a kaleidoscope. Every time it’s given a little shake whole new patterns emerge.
However, some observers have likened exporting in this new and changing world, like working in a headwind. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the perceived obstacles.
- New documentation
- Customs declarations
- Shipping costs
- Trade tensions
- Logistics problems
So, is it worth even considering exporting in 2021?
Unequivocally, yes! The advantages to be gained from overseas trade are still significant. The critical factors to success include having a clear strategy.
The strategic benefits to exporting include
- MORE CUSTOMERS
- LESS COMPETITION
- MORE RECEPTIVE MARKETS
- SEASONAL OFFSET
- BETTER CASHFLOW
- IMPROVED PROFITS
- LESS RISK
- IMPROVE RESIDUAL VALUE OF BUSINESS / SUCCESSION STRATEGY OPTIONS.
- STAYING AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION
- COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES
One of your key decisions must be which strategic benefit is your business pursuing – which objective? Most of the obstacles discussed earlier are operational or tactical issues. You can then focus upon these and see if they are critical to impeding your strategy, and look for solutions or ways to circumvent them.
Often a key decision may be the choice of market. A useful approach has been to look at all your potential markets and then create a matrix. On one axis, rate the potential or attractiveness of each market, and on the other the ease of doing business there, or the fewer obstacles (maybe the easiest to deal with). Ideally we’re looking for the best return for the least effort.
Product or service industries.
Many of the issues that are seen in today’s export landscape are problems for logistics and businesses shipping physical product. They may look enviously at service industries. However solutions may lie in a bit of creative thinking about the business model. Perhaps the value of a business may lie in it’s IP, so it could pay to investigate licensing, franchising or local joint ventures.
Yes, there may seem like a wall of operational issues, but with a sound strategy and perhaps some re-pointing of the business model, there are exciting opportunities in global business for companies of all sizes.