Breaking into the export arena – Tips to time this well.

A very distinct aspect in the prosperity of the human race over centuries can be attributed to the concept of trade. The system of barter which gave way to the birth of a standard currency has only accelerated buying and selling various goods over the years- within communities first and then slowly across geographic boundaries.

Crossing boundaries is ingrained in an average businessman today; it is simply second nature – an organic progression into the exploration of newer markets once there is an inkling of having exhausted the immediate segment is not new. Indian exporters have nearly caught up with this trend as well. To substantiate this- trading economics states that- “Exports from India increased 11.02 percent from a year earlier to USD 32.55 billion in March 2019”. This goes to hearten the small businesses, manufacturers and domestic traders to venture into the international trade market. Let us look at how this system works first.

The trade weather and small businesses-

Today the modern system of international trade is a web of import/export businesses which handle sales, distribution, and delivery of goods from one nation to another. To start with there are multiple entities that operate in the modern trade scenario –say a manufacturer’s representative who specializes in a certain industry, an import/export merchant or agent who is more of a freelance broker. Further for business owners in pursuit of global opportunities, research into key principles, consumption trends and legislative clauses of exporting is imperative for getting a firm grasp of the current marketplace and thereby the scope for expansion.

A small word of caution- It is to be borne in mind that exporting is not a quick fix for growth or poor local sales. Exporting products abroad also presents financial, product and operational risks. Some basic simple research into standard practices of the countries being targeted for export as well as ensuring necessary precautions are in place will set the ball rolling in the right direction. Further-

Tips to succeed as a first time exporter-

1. Choose the right market for your products-
The key to choosing the right market for your product is based on acceptability and if more exports or imports occur for the same in the country. Understanding of factors such as the size of the market, presence of competition and alternatives etc., are to be carefully considered. For markets closer home the costs incurred for freight and logistics is definitely lesser. A look at the necessary numbers, trends, and analytics can add value to decision making.

2. Strike the right balance between cost and quality-
It is but indeed true that almost all manufacturers today are competing with Chinese imports, so pricing your product right remains to be an issue. Looking for means to manufacture and sell quality products overseas without steep pricing can be through joint ventures with bigger manufacturers or by choosing the outsourcing model. On the other hand, there is a lot of funding available to give assistance to initial start-up costs.

3. Utilize assistance services-
A growth and development plan, with business objectives coupled with a marketing plan, needs to be first steps before approaching an investor. Clarity with respect to the moves ahead along with the justification of funds requested for is the next. With government funding and assistance comes paperwork and bureaucracy. A look into the document shared by the ministry of commerce– will help understand the outline of schemes and benefits that favor our country to expand into foreign markets and promote export oriented activities. There are similar assistance services made available by governments all over the world to facilitate healthy exchange goods and services, shrinking boundaries to a large extent. (For instance for Peru- https://www.prochile.gob.cl/)

With all of the above in mind, the ability to demonstrate what is to be achieved, targets and long term vision must be a mandate. Documenting the same, approaching relevant organizations and learning the grind from there through workshops and training sessions helps manufacturers’ preparedness for the steps that follow.

4. Have a solid marketing plan-
The right strategy for exporting goods abroad should include adapting your local marketing strategy to make it more robust and effective internationally as well. If you’ve gone the distributor route a lot of this will rest on them, but today you can also easily get involved through social media channels.

  • Revamp the relevant packaging, product literature, advertising and point-of-sale material.
  • Translate product literature into different languages as per the targeted countries.
  • Advertise, analyze and promote to potential buyers before leaving the country and make use of local tradeshows to establish a presence.

5. Pay attention to shipping, logistics and, other paperwork
Setting up an efficient and cost-effective process for moving your goods is absolutely essential for successful international growth.

  • Deciding between air, rail, road or sea is depends on various factors such as weight of the product, the infrastructure available both between both countries that will affect the cost, distribution lead times, the value and life of the product.
  • Consider using the services of a freight forwarder with experience in transporting the chosen product to the destination country to ensure hassle-free logistics and the additional formalities.
  • Remember that there are varied monetary regulations in different countries, including tax considerations.
  • There is also a significant amount of paperwork for payment receipt from foreign countries.

The role of research – be it a potential buyer or the overall trade environment.

The constant need for updated information pertaining to all aspects of foreign trade can never diminish; awareness and the ability to tap into the available data and analytics continues to be a key player in various aspects of strategic decision making in exporting. The one form of reassurance for a domestic trader or a manufacturer will stem from his ability to understand the trade market dynamics and certain future for the product due to be launched in the near future onto the behemoth international market. Consider the following-

  • Will regular desktop research suffice to understand different countries and how the markets work? Insights can definitely be obtained by reading industry news and papers, trade data and other material online- is that all?
  • How can questions such as the ability to strengthen the market, reaching out to newer domains be answered each time?
  • How is the overall market for the chosen product at this given time? How about the demand and pricing criteria?
  • Does it need a distributor? How about venturing into complementary products.

Today there exists ease of access and ability to connect with global buyers through digital and electronic means, video-conferencing and other tools such as B2B portals are readily available to connect and communicate with prospective buyers before even setting foot on a plane. What remains to be answered is how to substantiate and make the best use of the ancillary favorable developments for those ready to export.

Enter EXIMAPS- a comprehensive trade intelligence tool.

EXIMAPS was conceptualized exactly for this prevalent need among first- time and experienced exporters – of what use is data and analytics when it is cumbersome to process and break it down to useful bits of information while it creates a drain on resources too? Aren’t these resources justified better when channelized in areas of strategy and execution? Where would you obtain exact information on your closest competition? Looking for a broad picture on foreign trade dynamics or segment/ country wise is preferable?

There are innumerable such questions that remain to be answered by conventional systems of research mechanisms.EXIMAPS is an all-round feature-rich trade intelligence application that can actively aid traders and manufacturers looking to spread their wings and explore beyond